My heart is happiest when my stomach’s full of naan. It’s that buttery hot clay-oven bread served at Indian restaurants or found in the bread aisle of most grocery stores. Because Hawaii’s a blend of many ethnicities, naan can be easy to get your hands on – if you know where to look, that is. There is a nice variety of Indian eateries scattered throughout the islands. Off the top of my head, I can think of two nestled in the Kaimuki district. Himalyan Kitchen and Cafe Taj Mahal are right down the street from one another. On Kauai, there’s Shivalik Indian Cuisine. While most all specialize in Tandoori (clay oven), it’s the naan that really makes all the difference. For me, naan is that make-or-break deal determining whether I’ll be back or not. The three previously-mentioned eateries have some of the best naan in the islands. What quantifies good naan? First off, it must be served hot from the oven – puffed up like a crisp, tender pastry quilt. I prefer it to be buttery but not overly-buttery that it’ll slip right through your fingers. There should be just a subtle essence of flavor coated throughout the soft piece of bread. In addition to the plain naan, some restaurants serve garlic naan, whole wheat naan and cheese naan. I could go on and on about naan, but it’s best that you try it yourself. Mix it with a creamy saag curry or dip it in the yogurt sauce often provided. There are many ways to enjoy this ethnic treat; just be sure to get it while it’s hot!
Posted by: Bruce Fisher