Surati Farsan Mart, San Diego
|Petish with dipping sauces
I read about Surati Farsan Mart in the San Diego Reader. It was a good lead. We eat a lot of Indian food, but we were not familiar with Gujarati cuisine. Gujarat is a state in the northwest part of India. This restaurant specializes in Jain cooking. The Jains practice a religion that forbids the killing of any living thing. Jains are vegetarians and Surati Farsan Mart is all vegetarian.
Although it is called a mart, it is a restaurant. There is a large glass case in the front with snacks to go, both sweet and savory. The menus are to the left. You decide your order and then give it to the cashier, seat yourself and wait for your number.
We ordered two of the mini-thalis (a thali is a complete meal). It was a perfect lunch size. It came with roti or puri (types of bread); poppadum (similar to a thin, crisp cracker), a choice of main dishes (we got a tomato/potato curry and a dal-based curry), rice and a soup. There is also dessert, jalebis for us. (Jalebis are fried dough with a sweet coating). The meal also had condiments of two pickles. Indian pickles are made with ground chiles, salt, oil and spices. They are always spicy and don't have a vinegar taste. Each thali was $7.99 and was very filling.
The dish that was the most different was the petish, which we got as a appetizer. It is chiles, cilantro and coconut stuffed into a dough ball and fried. It was very good - both spicy and slightly sweet.
The food was excellent and shockingly cheap. The spice level is moderate for a typical American palate. The chile is cooked in, so it is not possible to ask for it milder. If you like very spicy, mix the pickles into the rice.
|The strange looking orange swirl is the jalebis
The restaurant is in an uninspiring strip mall. It is surrounded by other restaurants, an Indian grocery store and a Hindu mandir. It is well worth a trip! It is just off Miramar Road.
|The savory snack counter