Introducing himself to me as Mr. GV, the founder and manager of Balle Balle Indian Restaurant in Taipei was incredibly hospitable when I visited his restaurant this past Saturday, October 20th. Before sitting down to talk with me he could be seen going from table to table to chat with the patrons to help them with their orders.
As our food was served he sat down and quickly went into a detailed story about the origin of his restaurant which is intimately tied to his own history. He was originally brought out to East Asia from India on an internship in 2006 located in Shenzhen China where he worked in merchandising. What was supposed to be a 2-month deal turned into 10 months and an offer to be moved to Taiwan. After 2 years in the company, and seeing that it was not doing so well, he made a change and started working at a grocery store in Taipei helping to supply the many restaurants of the city.
Eventually he came to his boss with the idea of starting an Indian restaurant in Taipei. Though his boss was cautious with ample and accurate warnings about the difficulties of such a task, he agreed. Mr. GV was able to open his Indian restaurant. He proudly stated how everything, except the tables and glasses, where from India. He even brought their chef from India. He did discuss how certain items on the menu were less Indian and more hype, such as the butter chicken and chicken marsala, but that having such items were necessary because of their popularity.
Our meal, which he enthusiastically recommended, started with potato cakes slaw and gravy. This was followed by chicken in a spinach sauce, lamb curry in a brown onion sauce, and plenty of lan and rice to aid with consumption. The flavors were various and delicious and not one of us made a minimal attempt at conversation as we ate.
I will be excited to return to Balle Balle Indian restaurant and will also make plans to try out their second branch which they just opened. If you ever find yourself in Taipei craving Indian food, or simply want something delicious, check out Balle Balle Indian restaurant. It’s just a short walk from exit 5 of S.Y.S Memorial Hall Station at No. 12, Guangfu North Road, Songshan District, Taipei City, 105.
By Tyler W. Golec