Pakistani food is known to be hot and spicy. Our waitress said that, in general, this food was easily hotter than Habeñeros – the hottest Mexican pepper.
Buena Park’s Bismillah, which translates to “Praise be to Allah” in Arabic, is a well-kept secret amongst the Pakistani community of Orange County.
She says they sometimes soften their dishes so that guests won’t be upset that the flavor is too strong.
This halal haven serves up more than simple curry and rice; they dish out pungent and piqant dishes designed to please.
The Chicken Mughlai Biryani showed this famous smelly-spicy combo kick. Fried in onions, tomatoes and an admixed blend of authentic spices, this rice dish is filling and for those who are hungry and in definite need of flavor.
Even spicier and tastier is the Chicken Tikka Masala: baked chicken basted in yogurt, tomato sauce and dozens of spices. It could almost be called a curry; the sauce it marinates in is not only potent but tasty.
My Pakistani friend and I agreed that the authentic Tikka Masala was the best on the menu. He also said that it is just like he ate at home.
An important note about Pakistani food is its almost complete lack of silverware usage. It is encouraged to eat with your hands. The Tikka Masala is traditionally slow-cooked and tastes best with naan, the traditional pita-like unleaven bread topped with garlic.
The Karahi Lamb mixes cinnamon, cardamom and apricots to another level. Lamb tends to be more tender than beef or chicken and is a slightly different and more zesty flavor. Also eaten with naan, this portion of lamb is smaller and more meaty and is a good addition to the others.
Finally, the mango and strawberry lassi drinks are a nice end to a spicy meal. The yogurt-mix drink serves as a bandage to an over-stimulated tongue and nose, and tastes like a more cultured version of the Orange Julius stand at the mall.
I was happily stuffed with meals costing approximately $15. The ambrosial aftertaste lingered. I had no desire to eat anything else for a whole day after.
That’s because the beauty of Bismillah definitely deserves praise from Allah.
Bismillah Halal Tandori
8901 Knott Ave # D
Buena Park, CA 90620(714) 827-7201