I’m always hungry. I’m not lying here, if it weren’t true that I would end up looking like an overweight T-rex, I would eat continuously for every waking hour.
However, I’m a student and therefore don’t have huge amounts of cash dollar to burn. So when I first encountered the ever so affordable, Eastern Food Bazaar, I knew I’d found Heaven on Earth.
We parked around the corner where a bergie decided to teach me how to parallel park. However, he was either a tad drunk or had a severe ear infection because he quite literally walked directly into the front of my car (I was reversing).
I quickly darted away and was immediately smacked in the face by the delicious aroma of Indian cuisine. I envisioned the chefs to be a group of Indian men and women wearing matching brightly coloured silken chefs jackets, who had the uncanny ability to sing and dance in unison whilst flipping buttery naan bread in the air.
The restaurant is set along a passage way directly through the building and has the air of cheap Bollywood film. Everything is gold and shiny. Huge intricate doors lead to nowhere and the mustardy sponged walls are plastered with ornate mirrors.
The place was overflowing with a mixture of characters who probably wouldn’t associate with one another if they had been paid to. It was like a highschool corridor scene for adults. There were all the stereotypes: the oddly pierced Goths, the suave business men, the jocks in their white square toes and matching white belts, the hipsters looking ever so individual in their matching skinny jeans, and the slightly scared-looking, boring white family who thought they would branch out for the night, huddled in the corner unsure of what to do.
There is as much variety of foods to choose from as there are people. Schwarmas, roti, Asian noodles, naan breads, salads, tendoori chicken, kebabs, chips and a variety of curries. I decided to go with a Tikka Chicken Masala curry, served with Basmati rice, pickled salad and lentil Dahl. My companion had a Lamb Schwarma with chopped salad, hummus and tehina which came with a huge portion of spiced chips.
The entire meal is enormous and you end up eating half your body weight in food for only R35. Although everything is spicy, nothing is HOT. However, if you are a bit of a chilli freak like me, there’s a counter offering about 10 chilli sauces, salads and sambals to choose from.
The flavours are rich, satisfying and make your mouth feel like it’s at a trance party. I’m from Durban and stereotyping aside, I know what Indian food is meant to taste like and this is it. My chicken was a bit on the tough side, but the flavour (and of course the price) was completely worth it.
Eastern Food Bazaar is a quick, delicious place to pop in for an affordable, hearty meal. If you can handle the annoyingly loud background music which sounds oddly like the Indian version of Justin Bieber, then you NEED to give it a try.
Note to self: Next time I will order my own pistachio-and-raisin condensed milk icecream as a take away. I ate my companions’ one on the ride home. She was not impressed.
Eastern Food Bazaar
96 Longmarket St, Cape Town, 8001
(021) 461 2458
Mon – Thus 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Fri – Sat 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm