If you’re looking for Iwakuni Indian food, you have several options – but which is best? We break it down here by sharing our experiences and data with you!
Indian food – amazing culinary adventures!
It was three years ago in Bethesda, Maryland that we first really experienced Indian food. Tandoori Nights is a fantastic Indian restaurant near Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that our family insisted we try, and we were hooked. There is so much to love: the diverse, intense spice mixes; rich ghee, butter and cream; oven roasted breads and meats; and a huge variety of curries, pastries, sweet dishes and more promise a lifetime of gastronomic discovery!
Now we are here in Japan and I feel like the Indian food is different than it is in the States, but it’s still pretty good! We are lucky to have a good selection here. With that being said, I always forget which place I like best. Which restaurant has the best naan, which has the best curry, and who has the best prices? To act as a quick reference and to help others, we underwent the arduous challenge of eating at every Indian restaurant in town.
Without further ado, let’s introduce the candidates that made it to our Iwakuni Indian food face off: Devi, Ganesh, Ganesh Deluxe, Srijana, and Taj.
Materials and Methods
We wanted to compare apples to apples from each restaurant. Therefore, we limited ourselves to ordering butter chicken masala and cheese naan. We weighed each dish or naan in its respective serving dish, and weighed them afterward to get the net weight; we utilized the same OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel food scale for the entire study. No restaurants were informed of our intent to perform this rigorous comparison.
Limitations: we have a small sample size to choose from!
JoinTheKellys.com has no conflicts of interest to report :).
Iwakuni Indian Food Restaurants
Ganesh was the first Indian restaurant we tried when we moved to Japan. Ganesh and Ganesh Deluxe were the only Indian restaurants we went to during our first year of living here! My favorite thing to order is the samosa.
We find that Ganesh has a more friendly staff than the one at Ganesh Deluxe; at one point I even said I was never going to go back to Deluxe because I thought they were so rude. I have since gone back and haven’t had as bad of a time. Ganesh/Ganesh Deluxe are the only Indian restaurants in town where you need to pay for parking (everywhere else has an adjacent free parking lot), but they will give you a ¥100 voucher for a nearby parking lot.
Since Srijana has opened we have been here so many times! When we say we are going to get Indian food, Royce will ask if we are going to the one we always go to, implying Srijana.
I love the atmosphere here. It’s cozy and quiet, despite being on busy Route 2. They offer a nice soup before the meal; it’s my favorite! They are the most conveniently located for us, which is the major reason we’ve gone there most, but they are always kid-friendly and have nice chairs for little ones.
I was very excited the first time we went to Devi. We finally had another place besides Ganesh to go for our Indian food! The interior of the restaurant is brick with art along the walls; there is an outdoor area to eat as well. They work really hard to please, but once tried to move our party outdoors in the summer heat when a larger group came in after us. Despite this, we still feel like they have a lot to offer. It’s a very different feel from Ganesh and Srijana.
We have only been to Taj once, solely for this comparison, so we only have one experience to draw from. The staff was very friendly. They had a couple of TVs playing Bollywood music videos, and the eye-opening gyrations and outfits portrayed were a bit more than we wanted our kids to be watching…that hurried our meal along! This is the only restaurant that allows smoking. With the TV and the smoking it definitely has a different atmosphere than the other restaurants.
Holy peppers! The butter chicken masala we ordered was one spice level above normal, as we ordered at all of the restaurants, and yet this was the only restaurant in town that had us sweating. We don’t mind spicy food, but for those that are sensitive – consider yourself warned!
The peppers didn’t just bring heat; the peppers dominated the flavor profile of our butter chicken. It was satisfactorily creamy, but it was hard to pick up on much more than that. The cheese naan is the cheapest price in town, but the portions are also the second smallest, being only 60% the size of the largest cheese naan in Iwakuni. The quantity of cheese was also disappointing.
Butter chicken: ¥950
Cheese naan: ¥350
Butter chicken: 260g
Cheese naan: 357g
The butter chicken masala here is very appealing. Numerous spices commingle nicely, with none dominating the others. The tandoori chicken adds a nice smokey flavor, and the sauce is smooth, rich and brings just the right touch of sweetness to complement the spices.
The cheese naan is good, but the dough is let down by cheese that tastes like bulk shredded mozzarella and has a slightly grainy mouthfeel. That said, they give a large amount of cheese, and the sweetness of the naan and fattiness of the cheese go great with the butter chicken masala. This is the second cheapest cheese naan in town.
Butter chicken: ¥950
Cheese naan: ¥400
Butter chicken (Ganesh/Ganesh Deluxe): 279g/289g
Cheese naan (Ganesh/Ganesh Deluxe): 413g/435g
Srijana’s butter chicken is predominantly sweet. It’s plenty buttery and rich, but there wasn’t a lot of complex flavor beyond that. Some may not see this as a bad thing – it is an indulgent meal that would appeal to an Indian food novice, or to someone that doesn’t like lots of spice.
The cheese naan is massive. It weighs in at more than twice the heft of the smallest naan in town, and is a full 1.5 standard deviations beyond the average cheese naan weight! Besides it’s mass, though, this naan is flavorful, it has a nice, chewy texture, and the cheese is luxuriously smooth and rich. It is the most expensive cheese naan, but it is neck-and-neck for the best price !
Butter chicken: ¥950
Cheese naan: ¥550
Butter chicken: 267g
Cheese Naan: 593g
Taj’s butter chicken was very different from all of the others in town. Tomato was the standout flavor, and the only butteriness came from the small amount dropped onto the top. There was a good amount of chicken, but it almost seemed like a different meal compared with what we have tried elsewhere here in Iwakuni or back in the States.
If the butter chicken raised our eyebrows, the cheese naan furrowed them – it was a real disappointment. It tasted and felt like cheap flour tortilla – thin, flavorless – and had a pitiful amount of cheese inside. It was less than half the size of Srijana’s whopper! To add insult to injury, this is the most expensive cheese naan in town.
Butter chicken: ¥980
Cheese naan: ¥590
Butter chicken: 272g
Cheese Naan: 269g
Iwakuni Indian Food Winners:
Butter chicken masala is supposed to combine tandoori chicken, butter and/or cream, various combinations of spices, and a tomato-based sauce into a delicious and decadent meal. Of the five restaurants in town, the butter chicken from Ganesh/Ganesh Deluxe checked all of the boxes: rich enough to feel like a treat, flavorful enough to leave our palates tickled and satisfied, and the best price to boot.
Srijana’s cheese naan is the most expensive, but it gives a proportionately large serving size. Most importantly, it also had great oven-baked flavor, wonderful doughy texture, and plenty of the best cheese in town! It was the hands-down winner.
Best Butter Chicken: Ganesh
Best cheese naan: Srijana
Best overall bang for the buck: Ganesh
Most kid-friendly: Srijana
Friendliest staff: Srijana
Butter chicken and cheese naan are popular, but there is much more to offer at all of these restaurants! Various sweet naans and desserts, numerous curries, sags, masalas and other meals – there is a great variety to explore right here in Iwakuni.
Many of these restaurants have customer loyalty cards so make sure you ask for one if you find yourself visiting them as often as we do!
We will continue to go to all of them because it’s nice to switch up the flavors and try new things. Now have fun on your own culinary adventure!