Thursday, January 31, 2019

British-style curry in Taipei!

The rice is really something, isn't it?

I don't feel like writing about current affairs so close to the New Year (though you'll probably see something from me over the holiday) but I wanted to quickly add this spot to get Indian food in Taipei - or more accurately, to get British Indian curry in Taipei.

The two are not the same - while I'd have trouble explaining the exact difference, there is a distinctness to British curry house curry, and the cuisine of India, although ostensibly the items are the same. One clear difference is in Britain's carry-out culture. I've never tried to get a takeaway dinner in India - I'd always either just eat home-cooked food or go out (I assume it's possible, I've just never done it). But in the UK, aluminum containers with cardboard lids in paper bags, with the dishes written illegibly on each container are part of the experience. Extra points if the curry sloshes about a little and the paper bag gets a nice big oil stain.

So I'm happy to say that this style of curry is available in Taipei, at the Brass Monkey (just north of MRT Nanjing Fuxing). The curry menu is available here, and you'll notice that they have all of the British curry house staples. You can also eat in, and you can call ahead if you don't want to wait up to half an hour for them to prepare your order (or just show up, order takeaway and have a pint of Old Peculier while you wait). You can also eat in.

Not being a 'big, popular bar' person (I'd rather sip my whiskey in contemplation at a tiny bar if I go out at all) I don't go there much, although it is the best place I know to get British beer on tap in Taiwan. In fact, I found out that this was even a thing through Facebook, and had to try it for myself.

Having spent the past two summers in the UK for graduate school, I ate a fair amount of carry-out curry and I have to say...Brass Monkey's curry is British curry. Period. The gravies are the same, the rice has food coloring to give it a confetti look, and the bag even got oily. Look!

Delicious oil

It's really important to stress this: they'll get a place on my Indian Food in Taipei page, but it's not quite the same as other Indian restaurants, and is not trying to be, because it's specifically meant to be British curry. If you're missing Hyderabad and come here for your curry fix, you won't get quite what you want. But if you're missing, say, Exeter or Surrey or Swindon or Leeds, you absolutely will.

The only thing missing is that the writing on the takeaway boxes is legible, sadly.

Ugh, I know what that says! I'm not supposed to have any idea what's what! 

Just as an FYI, I keep that "Indian Food in Taipei" page updated regularly as a sort of community service, because otherwise reviews are scattershot across blogs and Facebook, and tend to go out-of-date as places close and open, and quality improves and declines.

I'm probably going to make it a page alongside the other links just under my title picture so people can see it there, as I do go to some effort to maintain it. And I do that because, having lived in both India (well, one semester) and Britain (two summers), and being someone who cooks Indian food herself and holds her ability to make it to a very high standard, I feel basically qualified to be the person who reviews Indian food reliably.

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