For as long as I have been eating my way through Queens, Tawa Foods has housed a small battalion of South Asian ladies rolling out scores of paratha and roti. As Jackson Heights has morphed to become Himalayan Heights the tiny Tawa has taken on a co-tenant, the wonderful Nepalese restaurant Dhaulagiri Kitchen.
Nepali in the front and Pakistani in the back Tawa tells the story of the neighborhood. As Nepalese and Tibetans diners seeking a taste of back home tuck into exquisite thalis—mounds of rice ringed with various pickles and curries—South Indians stroll in to stock up on some of the freshest Indian bread in Queens. The space is a fusion of two cuisines that have seldom, if ever, mingled. To my mind this is a great shame. Thus was born the sukati roll.
On the day that the universe’s culinary energy was channeled through me to create this tasty marvel, I walked into Tawa and wasn’t quite sure what to eat. I wasn’t super hungry, but as usual wanted something tasty. Then my eyes fell on the selection of breads. “Can you make me a kati roll using sukuti?” I asked my friend Rojina. The bread ladies actually made a fresh roti for my newly invented sandwich. Soon the roti was filled with toothsome chunks of sukuti, the air dried Nepalese beef jerky that can be seen hanging in the front window. I chose to pair it with a vibrant orange-hued spicy pickle that includes green peas and cucumbers.
The burrito-like sukati roll wasn’t quite as dainty as an Indian kati roll. “No crying it’s spicy,” Edi Thapa the matriarch and head chef of Dhaulagiri said as I bit into it. Spicy and meaty it was the very essence of Himalayan Heights. And not a bad deal at all for $7.
Dhaulagiri Kitchen, 37-38 72nd St., Jackson Heights, 718-877-7682