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|July 17-23, 2008
• Going for the gold, reaching for nutrition
In wake of China’s tainted food, Olympic planners strive for healthy meals
by Tim Johnson
• Food Bites
And the winner is…
Bali to Bombay serves up diverse Asian fare
by Clay Fong
Bali to Bombay” is an intriguing and mysterious phrase evoking exotic times and climes. Perhaps this phrase refers to a 1940s musical comedy title that features monkeys in palm trees and villains getting their come-uppance from falling coconuts. Or it could be the name of one of those in-flight musical programs flowing through the headsets on a trans-Pacific voyage. In point of fact, it’s the name of a new Boulder restaurant spotlighting the spicier Asian cuisines, notably Thai, Indonesian and Indian.
Taking a site formerly occupied by at least two other Asian restaurants in the parking lot of the 30th Street King Sooper’s, Bali to Bombay is operated by the family that started the popular Taj Indian restaurant near the intersection of Baseline and Broadway.
While the simple interior is relatively unchanged from that of the previous occupants, the menu offers up a wider variety of choices than ever before. There are five vegan entrées, including potato and green pea curry, and roasted eggplant accompanied by curried potatoes. Fans of Middle Eastern fare can sample Persian ground lamb kababs, while those hankering for a taste of Indonesia can tuck into Nasi Goreng, that island country’s interpretation of fried rice.
My friend Kuvy and I ordered off the dinner menu, which is available all day. A boxing match would be a suitable metaphor for our meal — of the two dishes we sampled for each course, there was a clear-cut winner and loser. The first bout on our culinary undercard involved two summery soft drinks. Kuvy ordered a $2.75 mango lassi, while I had a less complex $2.50 Thai ice tea. The ice tea was more sweet than spicy, and it lacked the creamy body of the best examples. On the other hand, the mango lassi, classic Indian yogurt-based cooler, had an excellent tangy flavor, and the fruit’s sweetness was pleasantly subtle.
For starters, we pitted a $3.50 Vietnamese spring roll against a $4.50 hot chili pakoda, the Indian vegetable fritter bound together by chick-pea batter. The spring roll was a meatless affair, with fresh herbs and perfectly cooked cold rice noodles taking center stage. The accompanying hoisin peanut sauce counterbalanced the lightness of these ingredients, but without shrimp or tofu to add body, this spring roll felt unfinished. On the other hand, the fried pakoda was crispy without being too greasy, and jalapeños and cilantro gave it a spicy kick, making for one of the better fritters in town.
The main event brought a $12.95 shrimp Pad Thai mano a mano with the $12.95 Indonesian White Curry. While the Pad Thai’s spiciness was a bit less than what we expected, the noodles possessed fine texture. This dish would have benefited from less greasy and more scrambled egg. While Kuvy and I were surprised that the Indonesian White Curry was actually pale yellow, the chicken was tender and flavorful, and the sauce itself was just the ticket for those who prefer their curry on the creamy rather than the hell-raisingly hot side.
Currently, Bali to Bombay’s strength lies more in its variety than the consistency of its menu, with some dishes being more expertly prepared than others. However, the prices are in line with competing restaurants, and if you’re going with a crowd with a love of spice and diverse dietary preferences, it’s a great pick.
Bali to Bombay
1630 30th St., Boulder,
Clay’s obscurity corner
The term “curry” is broadly applicable to numerous spicy dishes spanning the length of south Asia, although what makes for a curry differs from region to region. For example, Indian-style curries found in the West are dominated by the spice turmeric, which gives these dishes their characteristic yellow-orange color. Coconut milk is the common denominator in most Thai curries, and it’s the color of the chile that determines whether one is eating a red or green curry. However, the traditional jungle curry lacks coconut milk — this dish gets its name from the fact that coconuts are rare in Thai jungles.
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