Monday, May 28, 2012


How incongruous is this? A north Indian restaurant, owned by a Japanese woman, in Mexico

Reiko was a cook in a Mexican restaurant in Tokyo. She came, a year ago, to Mexico to learn more about Mexican food. She lived in Mexico City and made a living selling Japanese pancakes on the street in a pretty rough neighborhood. After getting mugged and robbed twice, she moved to San Cristobal, where  there is no "good" Mexican food in her opinion. Her new friends urged her to open a restaurant because they are so impressed with her cooking, but all she ever cooked for them was Japanese and Indian food.

Reiko, almost rhymes with Rico
She pulled together enough money to open a tiny restaurant. It's the size of a medium bedroom in the US. About 4 x 6 meters with a small bathroom at the back. On the right side there is an island with her cooktop and a sink. On the back wall, a refrigerator. Shelves behind the island hold dishes. Along the other wall is a bar with six stools. She's been open seven days and business is a bit slow but picking up.

She serves six curries. The sauces are premade and she adds vegetables and meats, heats up a single serving and serves bowls of hot curry with rice, a chapati, and onion pickle. She's made lavender lemonade, tamarind tea, chai, some cold desserts like rasmalai and coconut burfi.

I'm hooked. Been there two days in a row and took my Mexican family the second day. I'll probably go there again, at least once this week with the spanish class. We like to eat out after class but we've been going to dive bars and caldo (soup) joints. Now it's time for some really great food.

The coconut burfi is absolutely to die for. I handed a small piece to Mateo (18 months) and he stuffed the whole thing in his mouth. The look on his face was complete shock. He spit it all out into his hand and then took the smallest bites and savored each one.

If she doesn't make a go of this restaurant, I'm going to lose all faith in the Universe.

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