Restaurant History | Restaurant Uniqueness | How the Restaurant Reflects Indian Food Culture | Future Goals
Tucked away in a corner down the street from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) lies a place of comfort, a place of nostalgia and a place to feel as if you have been transported to the many restaurants buried amongst the bustling streets of India.
Rajdoot is a family-run Indian and Nepalese fusion restaurant located right outside the HKU MTR station, providing HongKonger’s with the perfect opportunity to experience Indian food prepared by a family’s hands.
Rajdoot has a history unlike most Indian restaurants scattered around Hong Kong. The restaurant was first introduced in New Delhi, India, where the ethnically Nepalese family used to live before migrating to Hong Kong.
The owner and chef of Rajdoot, Puran Sapkota, 39, migrated to Hong Kong with a working visa in 2013 with the hopes of starting a new life for himself and his family.
When the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected his restaurant business back in India, he had already gained his permanent residency in Hong Kong by then. Sapkota decided to bring his whole family to Hong Kong and start a new branch of Rajdoot in the city in 2020. He had already gained his permanent residency in Hong Kong by then.
They named it after the original restaurant in New Delhi, Rajdoot, which means brotherhood in Nepalese.
“I realised that Hong Kong had an amazing food culture with a lot of variety. I wanted to do something with Indian food but with a unique twist which is why the restaurant is a fusion between Nepal and India,” said Puran Sapkota.
The whole restaurant is run by the family, from the chefs,waiters and cleaners. Meena Sapkota, 35, Puran Sapkota’s wife is the other main chef of the restaurant while Pratika Sapkota, 18, their son, is the waiter and deals with customers on a daily basis.
“You could say I am a family waiter. I help with everything, mostly with orders and carrying food to the waiters but I also like to help mom and dad in the kitchen whenever I can,” said Pratika Sapkota.
Rajdoot serves all kinds of Indian dishes, from chicken curry, samosas, tandoori chicken, mutton biryani to momos. There is a wide selection of food that is freshly made and prepared by the family.
The most popular dishes in the restaurant are tandoori chicken, chicken curry, chicken tikka, saag paneer, sweet soup and the essential for any Indian restaurant, chai.
“I come here every other week after my classes at HKU. The restaurant is very friendly and gives you a home-like atmosphere which I really like,” said Aatmiya Silwal, 20, a regular Nepalese customer at Rajdoot and student at HKU. “I mostly always get the butter chicken because that’s my comfort food and they make it in a way that it’s not too heavy but tastes delicious.”
Unlike a lot of Indian restaurants in Hong Kong, Rajdoot prides itself on being entirely family run and uses this aspect of their restaurant to attract the locals to experience authentic Indian food.
Apart from that, Rajdoot uses lighter ingredients to accommodate the demands of the Chinese Hongkongers. Instead of using hefty quantities of butter and oil to make their dishes, Rajdoot uses grass-fed butter and as little oil as possible to cook the food.
“We make the food the way the customers want it, because if we make it the way other restaurants make it, they might get sick or feel bad after eating. We want to make sure that they will remember this restaurant in a positive way,” said Pratika Sapkota, son and waiter at Rajdoot.
Around the globe, Indian food is known and appreciated by its spice and explosion of flavours. However, if you look beyond the flavour of the dishes, you will notice that Indian restaurants pride themselves on creating a family atmosphere. They do this by offering their customers more food than they ordered and giving their customers the choice of how they want their food to be prepared.
Rajdoot allows their visitors to order a refill of naan (a fluffy flatbread) and rice if they would like to eat more of their dishes. This is also representative of the Sikh and Hindu religion in India, in which serving people is of the highest priority.
“Indian food culture is all about serving people without hesitation, when the customers enter our restaurant, they are our guests and our highest priority” said Pratika Sapkota.
Rajdoot has high hopes for the further success of the restaurant. They are looking to expand their restaurant, introduce more branches around Hong Kong and eventually win the Michelin Award – an award given to restaurants considered the best in the city.
“We are happy with the way things are but our main goal is to expand the restaurant and serve more people and I hope we can win the Michelin award in the process.” said Meena Sapkota, the wife and co-chef at Rajdoot.
Address: G/F, 425Q, Queen’s Rd W, Shek Tong Tsui. For opening hours, check their website.
(Feature Image Credit: Rajdoot Indian and Nepalese Restaurant)