"Ilove to cook, so I decided I would try to make some money doing it," says Ashka Parikh of Ashka's East Meets West (1502 Durham, 281-216-9097), from her shiny restaurant trailer parked in the lot of her parents' Ace Hardware store on Durham between I-10 and Washington. "I was a psych major when I went to college, and I love to interact with people," she says. "I'm always asking for feedback and making adjustments as necessary." While the large trailer looks brand-new, she found it used on Craigslist.
Taco trucks are a dime a dozen in the city, but Ashka's is the first "tikka truck" we've seen. "I decided to put it here because, while there are lots of restaurants in the area, there is no Indian food around here," says Parikh. There's a story behind the truck's name. "I started out selling Mexican food like breakfast tacos as well as burgers and fries, Western food only, then I added Indian samosas, butter chicken, kebobs, curries, saag paneer (spinach with Indian cheese) and the like, and things really took off."
The butter chicken served with basmati rice and saag paneer was worthy of many of the Indian restaurants in the city, as was the lamb curry, which had the perfect balance of spiciness and taste. There are a few plastic tables and chairs under a couple of tents that fill up fast at East Meets West. There's also a brisk takeout business.
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