Tradition meets innovation as capital gets a taste of South India

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If variety is the spice of life, then Masala Dosa Street Kitchen in Phnom Penh has enough variety to last at least a couple of lifetimes. The restaurant’s exhaustive menu keeps foodies coming back to try its ever expanding varieties of dosa – a crepe-like dish that is South India’s most iconic culinary offering.

On most days the restaurant’s owner, Dharma Gohil, can be found in front of the eatery mastering his dosa making technique on a griddle he has modified specifically for the purpose.

He spends hours fiddling with the griddle making sure it’s at the optimal temperature, checking how the humidity is affecting the mixture and whether it’s too thick or too thin.

It’s why his patrons keep coming back, and also why TripAdvisor and Happy Cow rank his establishment as the best vegetarian restaurant in Phnom Penh.

“I’ve reversed the whole process for how a dosa is made. It takes up to 15 hours for the dough to be ready because I naturally ferment it the way it was done hundreds of years ago to enhance the flavour and healthiness of the dish,” says Dharma.

The result is a beautifully crisp dosa around the edges and a soft sponge-like texture towards the centre, where the stuffing is usually hidden.

But that’s the straightforward bit, Dharma explains.

“Food is mood. Good food is not just about taste, but also about your body, mind and soul. I’m trying to burst out of all the little boxes that we’re put into.

“There’s the idea that healthy food can only be made a certain way or that being a vegan means that you’re missing out on something,” says Dharma.

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