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By RigaNOW!. 01.12.2015


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Can you imagine – India is a country of billion people, its territory is enormous, and it has ancient and rich culture traditions, two major religions, as well as regional dialects and customs… 

Due to these facts, as well as a long and varied history, Indian cuisine is very peculiar, different from others, but in the same time one of the best and interesting in the whole world. Indian cuisine fully reflects the civilization which created it. It is like a separate field of art that develops from a generation to generation. One of the main secrets of Indian cuisine’s charm is regional differences. In order to feel completely diverse nuances of taste, smells, colours and forms, it is enough to go to another state.

However, in India there also exists one common and unchangeable feature – pious and even sacral attitude towards a meal. A guest will never have to wait to be fed in Indian home. Food plays a significant role during different celebrations, as well as in everyday life. It is prepared and consumed with big attention and passion. In other words, Indian cuisine is a real adventure! Because India is located far from Europe, not all people will have an opportunity in their lives to visit this country.. Nevertheless, it is not a serious problem, since Indian cuisine has already arrived to Europe. It can be ascertained in many cities around Europe, especially in London, where Indian restaurants can be found almost at every turn. It is a little paradoxically that there are only few Indian restaurants in Riga...

Fortunately, the situation has been slightly improved this summer. ‘Singh’s’ is an Indian restaurant and bar opened almost in the heart of Riga on Ģertrūdes Street 32, within few minutes’ walk from Old Riga. Nic Singh, the boss of the restaurant, is a real sikh, who is familiar with Latvia nearly 15 years. He says that the absence of Indian cuisine in Riga encouraged him to start his business. The main business of Mr. Singha is situated in Great Britain; therefore, it is not a problem for him to deliver specific spices that are so necessary for Indian cuisine directly from London. It is possible that one of the Indian cuisine’s bases is spices and herbs. Even though some people consider that spices conceal the true taste of a meal, in reality spices are used to enhance the nuances of taste. The balanced and correct use of spices is a special skill which are perfectly mastered by Indians. It is also the reason why Hoera Singh, the chef of the new Indian restaurant, has arrived to Riga from India. Even though Latvian cooks may work perfectly, it is possible that they only would be able to imitate Indian cuisine. It would be Indian cuisine with Latvian accent, and that is not what Mr. Singh wanted.

In the new Indian restaurant guests are offered North Indian – Punjabi cuisine. The food is authentic because all specific ingredients come directly from the region. The owner of the restaurant emphasizes that seasonal ingredients like vegetables, fruit, fish and meat are purchased in Riga. The interior of the new restaurant on both floors is light. Although white tiles on the first floor are supplemented by the colours of Indian flag, and a TV located near the wall unobtrusively offers Indian music, the common atmosphere of the restaurant draws nearer to the perception of Western world. Several rooms on the second floor are more luxurious and have the finesse of Indian style, which certainly corresponds to undisturbed and indolent dining in discreet atmosphere.

The menu of the „Singh’s”, similarly to Indian cuisine, is diverse, aromatic and delicious. The cuisine is influenced by Punjabi, located in North India. If you want to taste authentic flavour of this region, choose from typical Panjabi dishes, for example, mutton with special masala sauce (9.50 €). Curry is the most popular Indian food in the world; it is a meat, fish or vegetable dish with special curry sauce, which is eaten with rice or Indian naan bread. The „Singh’s” offers different types of curry, including korma and masala. Different levels of spiciness are available as well, from mild till devilishly spicy. The „Singh’s” prepares herb sauces solely from fresh spices; therefore, they are aromatic and have explicit taste.  A separate chapter of the menu is dedicated to Indo-Chinese mix or fusion cuisine, that includes Shanghai chicken (8.50 €), sweet-and-sour pork (8.00 €) and many other dishes. It is known that Indian cuisine is a paradise for vegetarians. That is why the variety of vegetarian dishes with more than twenty different possibilities is not a surprise. As the owner of the restaurant says, the majority of visitors are vegetarians, who rather quickly concluded that this place is quite good!

 Restaurant also offers lunch for 6.95 euro. One offer is for vegetarians, the other for supporters of traditional dishes. We had the opportunity to try it during our visit. Plain Papadum – crunchy pea flour chips, Sheek Kebab – minced mutton pickled in ginger, green chilli and garlic, and grilled in Tandoor oven, Karahi Murgh – chicken pieces with paprika, onions and tomatoes prepared with savoury sauce; the taste is very balanced with Naan bread. The spiciness also was appropriate to European taste buds! Novices should start relationships with Indian cuisine gradually and in the beginning, the level of spiciness should be moderate. If you are not sure what to choose, you can always ask waiters. They are responsive, have a good knowledge on the cuisine and can suggest how and with which ingredients a meal would be more pleasant.

The trademark of Indian cuisine is like peculiar culture mosaic, which beckons to explore and offers novel impressions for each traveller. Luckily, this gastronomical trip to marvellous India now is possible in Riga! Besides, for very democratic prices!


MURGH TIKKA MASALA /One of the UK’s favourite comfort dishes. Pieces of chicken marinated in spices and yoghurt, grilled in Tandoor oven and then cooked in masala sauce and garnished with coriander/   8.00

PATIALA SHAHI HANDI /Panjabi style dish with carrots, potatoes, asparagus, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and mushrooms cooked in masala sauce/ € 6.50

RASMALAI /Bengali dessert of homemade dumplings served in rich and creamy sauce/ € 4.50

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