I was skeptical about Baba’s Kitchen. Having spent some time in India, I usually avoid Indian restaurants in other countries as they’re mostly disappointing. Let’s admit it, Indian cuisine adapted to Western palates is often really bland. But the Dosas on the menu displayed outside the restaurant near Old Town finally lured me into Baba’s Kitchen.
From the start the waiters were welcoming, serving me water and a small complementary appetizer with a selection of five chutneys that offered a tantalizing explosion of contrasting flavours. From sweet mango with cumin to kickstart your digestion – love the Ayurvedic influence in Indian dishes! – to mint, a spicy mango-chili chutney, tamarind sauce and tiny pickled onions. It was a great start!
Dosas look like giant crepes made from black lentils and rice batter. They are fluffy and crunchy at the same time and served with two thick chutneys and Sambar, a spicy, thin lentil based soup…and they’re oh-so satisfying. Indian people eat with their hands, and indeed, the real flavorful experience is best enjoyed by digging in without implements. Don’t feel akward, the Indian waiters will love you for it.
Dosa is a South Indian Dish, especially popular with vegetarians that can’t easily be found outside of India. Everyone I know who heard that Baba’s Kitchen is serving Dosas vowed to head there soon.
The Masala Dosa at Baba’s Kitchen – this is what lured me as I said – is filled with potatoes and other vegetables, lots of black dot mustard seeds, masala and a host of other spices making it well-rounded and heart-warming. The flavours brought me straight back to Kerala, and left me with a smirk from ear to ear.
The owner of Baba’s Kitchen is from South India and his menu offers numerous South Indian classics: South Indian Fish Curries, Uttapam and various types of Paratha bread, filled with potatoes or backed-in nuts. Also included is a huge selection of vegetarian dishes that are more exciting than the usual Vegetable Korma, liek Gobi Tandoori or Cashew Nut-based curries with fruit and vegetables.
Meat lovers can also chose from a long list of mutton, chicken and fish dishes from South and North India. My boyfriend ordered Hariyali Kebab (mutton) every time: five times in a row. The meat is marinated in a mix of cilantro, mint and green chilies, skewered and baked in the Tandoori oven. While it needs to be eaten right away before it gets dry, it has a unique and delicious taste.
Complementary rice pudding, one of my favourite Indian desserts, with just the right amount of cardamom and cashews, was served as a finale. It sealed my love affair with Baba’s Kitchen.
While rival Indian restaurant, Ganesh, pulls lots of tourists in Hoi An due to its great location and is better known among the expat community, Baba’s Kitchen seems to grow in popularity week by week.
The restaurant in Hoi An is their third branch in Vietnam, with the other two in Saigon.
Baba’s Kitchen is also definitely one of the best places in town for vegetarians. But meat eaters can choose too from long lists of delicious dishes, none more expensive than 140,000 VND (6 USD) for Mutton Kebab (besides the whole chicken for larger groups).
If you don’t want to leave the house on a rainy day, fear not – Baba’s Kitchen’s got you covered. Check out their Delivery Menu: Baba’s Kitchen Delivery Menu