Everyone, meet Babu……Babu, meet everyone. I love introducing one good friend to another and in this week’s blog post it is my pleasure to make sure you, reader of Samui Unmasked and good friend of mine, meets Babu….the purveyor of the best Indian food on the island.
Okay, so I’ve eaten the glorious curries that come from Babu’s cauldrons of joy at least a dozen times before. But tonight was the first time I ever actually went into the restaurant itself. Every single time I’d eaten this madness before it was delivered. And every single time it blew my mind and popped the taste-o-meter’s top right off.
I’ve been coming to Samui every year for 25 years, as detailed in this post here, and the best times were always the nights when my best friend Scott (a 15-year full-time Samui veteran) and I got our families together to enjoy a chill night at whatever villa I was staying at. Kids frolicking in the pool while the four us hung out and got caught up.
On those nights we felt like chilling at the villa so we ordered delivery, and Indian is one of those cuisines that travels real well. Introduced to me as ‘the best Indian food he’s had anywhere in the world’ Scott would often grab his phone and with the ease and familiarity of calling a life-long friend, he’d hang up and simply say ‘It’s on it’s way.’
Anywhere between 30 and 75 minutes later (defined on Samui as ’soon come’) a skinny moped driver would pull up and drop off what turned out to be not just the best Indian food I’ve ever had on Samui but some of the best I’ve ever had, period.
I loved the Lahore Tikka House in Toronto, and adored the Zafron Pot on Venice Blvd when living in LA. Babu’s rivals both and the ‘Babu Special Curry’ now sits alone as the best Indian curry dish I have ever had in my life. The only thing that was odd was that their Naan bread felt and tasted more like a Roti. But year after year Scott emplored me to go to Babu’s restaurant and I’d discover that when the Naan comes out fresh it’s just like the good ol’ Naan I was used to. And year after year I was too lazy and into too many Heinekens to make that journey.
But tonight would be different! I had a rental car, the afternoon had been spent napping, I hadn’t drank anything that day, and we were hungry. I pulled up Google Maps and followed directions and you can too, just click here. We ended up in Maenam and found Babu’s.
Funnily enough, it was literally around the corner from the Hippo Gym. This is a gym opened in Maenam by an old German friend of mine that I used to know back in the 90’s when I was living in Korea. I’ve stopped in here over the years but he was never on the island so if you’re reading this Udo….how’s it going eh?
We went in and grabbed a table for four. The place was busy and myself, Haelee, our daughter and her new boyfriend all settled in for some Babu’s.
Haelee immediately noticed the four jars of chutney and created some modern art on one of the plates, eagerly taste-testing one after the other. ‘Very fresh’ she declared and that was her stamp of approval on the whole place. She has great taste and fresh is what’s most important to her so rest assured that’s what you’ll get here at Babu’s. Fresh. And tasty.
We ordered up the dishes we normally order when judging a new Indian restaurant. The classics of Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken, and Aloo Gobi. Of course we got the Babu’s Special with chicken as well. Don’t ever order Babu’s and forget to get this dish. It would be a sin.
But what about the Naan you ask?? As usual, Scott spoke truth. And the look on Haelee’s face as she tore some of the magically crispy-yet-chewy dough apart says it all. It sent my personal rating of Babu’s from an 8.5 to a 9.8 out of 10. I grabbed piece after piece of that glorious Naan, broke it up and sopped up the quadrant of curries until I had eaten too much. Here’s a pro tip for you….after you’ve stuffed yourself here go for a stroll down to Maenam Beach and enjoy a walk under the stars. There’s even some beach bars you could pop into for some drinks but we were out for a family dinner and after the sandy stroll, headed back to the villa.
I’m sure in the future I’ll be eating Babu’s many times, delivered by that skinny dude on a moped…but also right in the heart of it all at his shop in Maenam. Go get some, then comment below and let me know what you think.
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