30 September, 2022, 19:37

The Curry Pot Food Truck Bringing Sri Lankan Food to Tucson

Mobile curry is returning to Tucson.

While the Twisted Tandoor is in the process of opening their own brick-and-mortar restaurant, a new food truck will keep curry available on the streets.

The Curry Pot Sri Lankan Fusion is opening noon – 4 p.m. December 9, 10, and 11 in front of Tap & Bottle, 403 N. 6th Ave. #135.

“I wasn’t sure if Sri Lankan food would work here,” said Amjaad Jhan, owner of Curry Pot and a native of Kandy, Sri Lanka. “Twisted Tandoor inspired me, as people are more open to different types of food now.”

Diners shouldn’t expect the same flavors, however. Sri Lankan cuisine has influence from the Dutch colonialists along with Portuguese, British, Indian, Arab, Malay, and Moor cultures.

“Lots of Indian foods use yogurt,” Jhan said. “Sri Lankan uses coconut milk. As a result, the curries are more often vegan.”

Sri Lankan spice blends and ratios also differ from Indian curry. Dating back as far as 2000 B.C., Sri Lanka Jhan’s curry blend features chiles, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, fennel seeds, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and curry leaves with coconut milk helps bring down the heat.

“At Trader Joe’s we’d have pot lucks,” said Jhan, who still works at Trader Joe’s. “I’d bring samosas and people would love it. I thought, maybe this could work. The closest Sri Lankan restaurant is in L.A. or Texas.”

Samosas from The Curry Pot Sri Lankan Fusion (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Samosas from The Curry Pot (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Although the opening has been nerve-racking for Jhan, he’s grateful for the reception he’s received so far.

“Without the support system, we wouldn’t have come to this level right now,” Jhan said. His wife, nine-year-old son, family, in-laws, and friends have all provided help and support. People within the industry have been crucial as well.

Food truck Holy Smokin Butts BBQ provided practical advice such as getting a quiet generator, while Tap & Bottle owners Rebecca Safford and Scott Safford have also been instrumental in getting Jhan started.

The Curry Pot Opening Menu

  • Beef Curry ($5)
  • Chicken Curry ($5)
  • Veggie Curry ($4)
  • Meat Quesadilla ($5)
  • Cheese Quesadilla ($3)
  • Coconut Sambol ($2)
  • Samosa ($2)
  • Basmati Rice ($2)
  • Farata ($1)
  • Papadum ($0.25)
  • Water or Soda ($1)
  • Iced Coffee ($3)

“I wanted to start it simple,” Jhan said. “There are a lot of complex dishes in Sri Lankan food, but I wanted to give people an introduction. I also want to keep it affordable.”

The curries can be upgraded into a meal (+$3), which adds rice or two farata, coconut sambol, veggie curry, and papadum. Upgrade one step further to a combo (+$2) to add a samosa and drink as well.

Samosas are a steal at just $2 each. The flaky fried shell is filled with your choice of slowly cooked beef or soy meat with potatoes, peas, and spices. It’s fantastic with beer.

The Iced Coffee features milk, sugar, and cardamom for a Sri Lankan touch. Dessert will be Kiri Aluwa, a Sri Lankan milk toffee made of condensed milk and cashews.

Curry leaves in Amjaad Jhad's backyard (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Curry leaves in Amjaad Jhad’s backyard (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Curry Pot will start off being open Thursdays through Saturday rotating between places such as Tap & Bottle, Tucson Hop Shop, and Arizona Beer House.

Keep up with The Curry Pot on Facebook.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.