Sunday, August 07, 2005


Masala Wok

Update: My most recent visit there had me choosing the Malai Kofta. This may have surpassed the quality of the Spinach Masala w/ Paneer. Upon further reflection, it appears to use the same sauce as the Paneer Butter Masala. The kofta balls are supposedly a mixture of paneer, potato, and some other ingredients. Wow they were good. I'm not saying they're the healthiest things in the world... but... this ain't Casa De Luz. Anyway, I now declare my favorite dish here to be the: Malai Kofta!

Original Entry:

I remember the anguish-filled days after I found out it was opening here. Indian-Chinese food. In. Austin. (Chili chicken at Shalimar doesn't count). Finally.

I went to Masala Wok on its opening day, and it was totally packed. That was about 4 months ago, and the crowds are still huge.

The verdict? Hit or miss food, for me personally, but if you know what to order, you should be VERY happy. Service is what you would expect from kind-of-like-fast-food (it's a chain, albeit with only about 4 locations). The people behind the counter know very little about the cuisine. But don't worry about that for now. It's definitely worth AT LEAST a trip or two, *especially* if you eat chicken, as the Chicken Tikka Masala is universally fawned over by my non-veg friends.

Alas, avoid anything but the entrees. Everything else (appetizers, desserts, tea) seems like it's from a box. Tea/coffee will often be watered down or cold. (meat-eaters liked the Chicken Lollipops, though) (the name makes no sense... at least to me) (there's no lollipop anywhere)

The menu has two sections, "Wok" and "Masala". The Wok ones are the Indian-Chinese food. Now the the novelty has worn off, I have to say that the Masala (i.e. normal Indian food) entrees are king here. Here is a breakdown of most of the vegetarian items the menu: (Yes... Obsessively, I have tried all of these. Yes.. Masala Wok is far away from me. Don't know what to say)


Spinach Masala (w/ paneer): My favorite item here. In normal Indian cuisine parlance, it's palak paneer. Pretty darn good, the times I've had it. Not as good as the one Shalimar used to have... but still, get it!

Paneer Butter Masala: Second favorite Masala item. Nice creamy sauce... somewhat close to the sauce in the Chicken Tikka Masala, supposedly. Update: Well... actually... the creamy sauce is perhaps much like the Chicken Tikka Masala sauce, except without the tomato.

Dal Fry: Average. Just dal in a tomatoey sauce. Nothing special. Dal should be cheaper, anyway.

Malai Kofta: Veggie balls in sauce... Not sure how else to describe. Pretty darn decent when I had it. I'll have this one again for the next trip.

Chole Masala. See my Dal Fry comment. This is better than that, though.


Veggie Manchuria: Yeah this is great! More veggie balls, except these are different and in a "Manchurian" sauce. Somewhat reminiscent of the Lucky 7 at Veggie Heaven, but only somewhat. Good intro to the Wok menu.

Masala Wok Spicy: Just tasted like generic American Chinese food to me. Except with paneer. And not enough of it. Blah.

Chili Paneer: Ok. This is the one that was supposed to be the killer. Well... it's really not. Not enough paneer again, that's for sure. The Chili Paneer at Rushi is WAY better, anyway. Basically it's (a bit of) paneer in a chili sauce.

Ginger Masala: Ugh... Why did I even bother with this? I usually like ginger, but.... not this time.

Blazing Masala Noodles: See Masala Wok Spicy.

Allllrighty.. hope this was informative. Something else: the deals are much better with the Masala dishes, as they give you naan in addition to rice, to eat with your entree. With the Wok dishes, you get only rice or noodles. That plus the strange paneer-amount problem in the Wok dishes.... really only the Veggie Manchuria is worth eating from the Wok menu. Strange.

Oh yeah... the music's good here! (from the speakers, not the TV)

So that's it.... Lots of stuff here you may or may not like, but certainly a good set of things to at least get you there a few times.. probably way more. Enjoy! (hopefully)

Your comments sound like a very, verrrrry detailed analysis of the place. Holy Wok ! I'd certainly need an experienced helper -- such as yourself -- to go there with me, otherwise chicabunba bumbum !!!
I went there for the first time this weekend and got the chicken tikka masala and the lamb curry and samosas. Chicken tikka masala - drool, drool, so droolworthy I'd give up my diet for it every day of the week. Lamb burry - the lamb was overcooked. Samosas - nothing to write home about. Now back to that chicken tikka masala.....
I meant to say lamb Curry...NOT lamb Burry :P
Mmmm... Masalawokatikkamasala... Mmmm...

Thanks for the link btw!
i would like to add a note on the chicken lollipops. from what i know it is a rather international food with regional twists. there are even french chicken lollipops, succettes de volaille. the term "lollipop" is perhaps intended as an allusion to succulence rather than shape or texture. i.e. "wow! what a lollipop of a chicken!".
Hmmm... Perhaps I shall use a similar phrase in future reviews (i.e. "wow! what a lollipop of a veggie burger!").
Cool blog you have going here, I will check in often! I have a similar site about korean restaurant. It pretty much covers korean restaurant related stuff.
Chicken Lollipop- Just look at the shape of the wings, they are shaped like lollipops when they pull meat to one end of the bone
Masala Wok charges too much for a little food. I do care about quantity and i think they over charge for little rice, a nan and a karahi plate. Their service is poor and the people on the counter knows nothing at all. How can they do? They are not Indians.
Nice setting. Fast food. But the worst indian food I have ever tasted. It is not at all indian. Nan is not fluffy. Biryani is horrible. Even the rice is sometimes undercooked or overcooked. Shrimp in the curry was hard and smelly.
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