A pretty amazing lunch for just over $8.
I've been away for far too long, I know. I've missed innumerable chances to blog about food and travel during the last year-and-a-half I spent living in Vietnam. Last month, however, I moved with my Japanese girlfriend and two Vietnamese cats to Kanazawa, Japan, which a close friend from Nagoya swears has the best seafood in the entire country, and until I get insanely busy again I feel I ought to do the town's food and culture scenes justice by blogging as regularly as possible about both.
Having said this, it's rather ironic that I'm starting up again with a post about a Nepalese restaurant in Kanazawa. But that's fine. I just need some momentum, and the mood really struck me with force this afternoon. To be honest, I'm not sure why I'm restarting this now, as I take off in only one more week to do a two-month reading tour in the US and Canada for my recently published novel, Lotusland.
And it was so sunny and mild yesterday...
Just a two-minute walk from our apartment is Seseragidori, a narrow, meandering street known for its small boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and izakaya. In the mood for a lighter curry than most Japanese versions, we headed for Aashirwad, a Nepalese restaurant we've been to before.
I have no idea why more people weren't here for lunch. This is one of the city's better options for non-Japanese food, and the menu is as reasonably priced as anywhere. Colorful interior, too. I love the embroidered wall hangings.
They offer several vegetarian options for lunch and dinner, and I settled quickly on a ¥1000 set lunch that included a huge slice of naan, three small bowls of curry – lentil, vegetable, and chicken – a small salad, a dollop of pickled onions, and two or three spoonfuls of yoghurt for dessert. My girlfriend opted for the vegetarian curry with naan and yoghurt, which was only ¥800.
The curries here, in addition to being inexpensive, are uniformly good. But they also have a rather uniform taste. In other words, there's not much difference in the curry bases used, or at least I didn't detect much difference. I didn't mind, however, as the curries were excellent, and thankfully not too spicy. (As in most curry restaurants, customers can request whatever level of spiciness they're comfortable with.) The naan was soft but not greasy, and the salad was a nice contrast in color as well as texture to the three curries, but the dressing was salty. There was nothing special about the yoghurt, though it was a nice way to polish off our lunch. I left the pickled onions untouched.
Aashirwad is easy to spot from the street with its colorful prayer flags strung over the canal from the shopfront to the sidewalk. It's very low-key, and the staff, who are Nepalese, are easygoing and friendly.
Aashirwad is open for lunch from 11:30 - 3:00 and for dinner from 18:00 - 22:00. They close on Mondays and on the first Tuesday of every month. Note that like many businesses in Japan they only accept cash.