Bakersfield City Guides: Restaurants, Punjabi Dhaba

One afternoon at the office while I should have been working, I scrolled through my Instagram feed and stopped at a post from Eater LA and admired a beautiful spread of Indian food.  To my absolute delight (and genuine amazement), the caption informed me that this place was not actually in Los Angeles, but here in Bakersfield.  I immediately shared the post with all of my food-loving friends here in town, and set aside some time for Chris and I to check it out this weekend.

The subject of this inspirational post is Punjabi Dhaba, a food truck that is permanently located on the south side of Union Ave.  Typically not an area of town I frequent (Union tends to be one of the rougher parts of Bakersfield), I still felt bad for never noticing this place, much less stopping to eat there, considering that I have driven by a number of times in the past.  It’s hard to see if you’re driving from the south, but after a couple of U-turns we found it easily coming in the direction from White Lane.

The menu that they offer is short, but each of the dishes are done incredibly well.  I personally am a fan of a short menu, the choices are less overwhelming that way.  They offer fun drinks, dessert items, and a few options for full meals.  We ordered the Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Samosa Chaat, and Paretha, and were well on our way to a delightful meal after paying in cash at the window (that’s all they take!).

The food was absolutely incredible.  Made to order based on your desired spice level (we went medium), both the Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken were made with free range chickens, and were nice and warm from all of the spices.  The Samosa Chaat is essentially samosas covered in a variety of sauces, yogurts, and chutneys, and it was possibly one of the best dishes I’ve ever had.  The cool dairy notes from the yogurt, the tangy fruity notes from the chutney, all along with the warm spices and fried dough from the samosas came together in perfect harmony.  The Paretha was a multi-layered whole wheat flatbread coated in butter (or possibly ghee), cooked fresh.  It was almost more like a croissant than a flatbread.  Also new to me, but so, so good.

We chatted with the owners of the restaurant who were not aware of their latest round of Instagram fame.  He told us that it’s just him and his wife that oversee the cooking and running their business, and he appreciated us coming out to try their food.  This is definitely one of the best spots in town for authentic Indian food, and I’m disappointed in myself for not knowing about it sooner.  Go visit Punjabi Dhaba if you are in town!  Photo of what we ordered is above, it won’t disappoint!

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