Two creative foodies out to discover enticing flavours and food ideas. When we aren't tucking into our latest delicious find, we're photographing and designing our hearts out.
Published April 27th 2015
Bangladeshi style curries that won't break the bank
Ruposhi Bangla is Kagoshima's first ever Bangladeshi restaurant. Tucked away in a back street close to Kagoshima-Chuo station, but away from the tourist drag at Arata 2-23-11 is where you will find this hidden gem. It's also very close to Kagoshima University if you happen to be studying there. Ruposhi means 'beautiful' in Bangladeshi and this restaurant lives up to its name by providing beautiful Bangladeshi cuisine from wonderful people. Ruposhi Bangla will soon be celebrating it's very first birthday in May 2015.
If you are a fan of Bangladeshi/Indian food, then this place will be right up your alley! Curries, tandoor meat and lassi all adorn their menu - not to mention their lunchtime special of all-you-can-eat naan and rice with your set meal for just $10AU. With over 100 food and drink items on the menu there's certainly a lot to choose from; so make sure you go with a large group of people so you can share in a variety of dishes.
The entrance to Ruposhi Bangla near Kagoshima University, Japan.
The cosy restaurant is bright and airy, seating up to 36 people. Traditional Bangladeshi instruments make for an eye catching feature on the back wall, including tabla drums, a tanpura guitar and a beautiful one string ektar. From the moment we entered the restaurant, we felt welcomed with service that went over and above. The owners speak English and Japanese very well, so ordering is not an issue.
The decor is bright and inviting inside.
Ruposhi Bangla's owners fell in love with Kagoshima when they arrived about 15 years ago to study at it's national university. They decided to stay and recently opened the restaurant to introduce Bangladeshi cuisine and culture to the people of Japan. They organise regular cultural exchange programs, including visits from and to Bangladesh, and involvement in the Kagoshima Youth Arts Festival. In fact, every Thursday between 7.30pm until 9.00pm they host fun English Conversation sessions including delicious Bangladeshi food, so why not drop in and have a chat?
Constant stirring of the curry base between dishes makes for a creamy, delicious curry when served.
The most popular dish on the menu is Butter Chicken, which is served deliciously fragrant and sweet. It was definitely a hit with our Japanese friends when we visited. This is a very mild tomato based curry dish, great for kids or those that can't handle the heat. It's super creamy and great with naan.
Another favourite is the mild Bangladeshi take on Butter Chicken.
Our favourite was the Bangladeshi style Mutton Keema, a yellow based mince meat curry bursting with spicy flavour. We asked for it to be ramped up to level 10 in spicy heat and were not disappointed. Scooped up with chunks of fresh hot naan it was quickly devoured. Our mouths were on fire, the perfect balance of heat and taste without succumbing to tears or a desperate grab for the lassi.
Now, the naan. We go ba-naan-as for a good naan, and the naan at Ruposhi Bangla is some of the best we have ever eaten. The naan is pressed and stretched out before being cooked in the tandoor and served piping hot at the table. All the classics are there: plain, cheese or garlic and the serving size is huge. But we also noticed a coconut honey naan that we wish we had room to try for dessert as it sounded delicious. We'll have to make a trip back soon because there's no way we're leaving Kagoshima without trying this one.
If you hear clapping in the kitchen, another naan is on its way.
Prices are very affordable for both lunch and dinner, which is somewhat unusual in Japan for similar cuisines such as Indian restaurants. The lunchtime student set is only ¥500 or around $5AU, a great price for a delicious chicken curry, rice, naan and salad.
While most restaurants in Japan have much higher prices at dinner time, you can pick up a delicious set meal including curry, rice, soup and salad for as little as ¥800. Other set meals range in price from ¥1200 to ¥1500 so you can eat your fill of chicken tandoori, chicken tikka, fish, prawn or vegetables with all the trimmings. This is incredible value, but it gets even better. Visit with the kids and you can set them up with a kids meal for ¥500 including chicken curry, naan, rice and a lassi drink.
Best set recommendation goes to the Tabehodai Lunch Set, an all-you-can-eat naan and rice set which includes three curries and salad. We shared this between two people, and only had enough room for one more naan. At $10AU this is a great option for travellers wanting to save a dollar or two on their adventure.
The Tandoori set is one of the most popular choices at Ruposhi.
All this for just $5AU is very affordable for families in the area.
A surprise offering was the Chanachur salad, something we had never tried before. A delicious mix of carrots, cucumber, onion, nuts and crackers mixed through with a delicious spicy dressing, this dish was a real crowd-pleaser and is one we highly recommend if you decide to visit.
Chanachur salad - a real highlight and our favourite meal of the evening.
Even if you're not much of a sweet tooth you should make an exception and try some of the desserts on offer at Ruposhi Bangla. Kulfi is a delicious blend of mango icecream and crushed nuts mixed through with hints of subtle spices. It's not too sweet and definitely makes for a refreshing dessert and palate cleanser. Another option is borfee, which is a sweet rice flour based cake with milk, herbs and spices. Be sure to order this one early to allow enough time for it to be freshly prepared.
Can't go past a kulfi for dessert, no matter how full you are.
After a truly delicious and filling meal in a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere, not much can make it even better apart from a small spoonful of sugar coated fennel seeds. These little morsels have a star-anise flavour and are used to aid in digestion; apart from a myriad of other health benefits they're also a symbol of longevity, courage and strength. Be sure to try a small scoop as you head out after your meal.
At the end of your meal, be sure to take a spoonful of this sugary snack.
Ruposhi Bangla is open daily for lunch between 11.00am and 3.00pm and for dinner between 5.00pm and 10.00pm. Take away is available but we recommend dining in to soak up the atmosphere.
We give Ruposhi Bangla 4/5 Wanders for spicing up our lives in Kagoshima and for their passion in sharing Bangladeshi cuisine and culture with the people of Japan, not to mention hungry expats.
Where 1 Wander isn't worth getting off the couch for and 5 Wanders should leave a trail of dust in your wake: it's that good.