Pages Navigation Menu

Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Namaskar, Indian Food for Eating

Everyone is welcome at Namaskar, located in the covered main drag of Seong-Nam-dong’s shopping center. Easily the most popular of the three Indo-Pakistani restaurants in Ulsan (four, if you count Namaskar’s second location near Starbucks and Lotte Hotel in Samsan), it almost seems silly to review the place, since it’s omnipresent in anyone’s go-to list of good food of the non-Korean variety here in town. That being said, recent recipe changes mean you should drop in to see what’s become of your favorite dish. And those unfamiliar with the cuisine here, take notice: a single trip will only set you back about 14,000 won, but the forty return visits you make after that initial taste will send your finances into a tailspin.

The decorations here are inviting. Small statuettes and cheery curtains fill what space is left between tasteful wood accents and bright-but-not glaring lighting. Brass and copper silverware, water vessels and various accoutrements liven up the dining service.  Everything combines to make exactly the right atmosphere for a date, or just a meal with friends before hitting Shinae’s bars.

Owner Binod Chapagain and staff.

Diners are sure to find something they like, as Namaskar’s expansive menu aims to please. The owner serves traditional Indian fare alongside milder versions of some favorites that won’t freak out the taste buds of those unfamiliar with the spiciness of Indo-Paki food. Most menu items are served ala’ carte, and are only accompanied by a dipping sauce or small salad. The Tandoori Mutton, for instance, is tender and flavorful, but served alone. Keep that in mind when you order, or you’ll make the same mistake I did on a recent visit and wind up piling this spicy stuff into your mouth with nothing alongside it to take the heat out. Other menu options offer a nice change, with barely a hint of the fire so essential to others. Excellent appetizers here include the Aloo Paratha (sort of a naan calzone, filled with curried potato and peas), mouth-watering Samosas (inexpensive, but only two to an order; be wary and ask for more in advance, before someone gets stabbed in the hand with a fork), and more soups than I care to count. Vegetarian options are also abundant here. The Chana Masala, a curry made from ground and whole chickpeas, is a relatively mild dish that still gets plenty of flavor from its spice mix. The Aloo Gobi, made from curried potatoes and cauliflower, is intense and satisfying. Palak Paneer, a spinach curry with chunks of Indian farmer’s cheese, has been the recipient of another recent recipe alteration. Formerly one of my girlfriend’s favorite meals here, she doesn’t care for it as much now, while I actually like it a lot more. Still, she’s a former vegetarian, while I demand an animal sacrifice before just about every meal. A taste of her meal here and there is cool by me, but I would never order the blasphemy, so the significant flavor change has evidently missed its target audience.

Butter Chicken Curry and Garlic Naan.

At Namaskar, lack of heat does not mean lack of flavor. The Butter Chicken Curry is another dish that won’t burn your mouth to a crisp. It gets more than a little sweetness from its tomato base, and goes great with what I believe to be the best garlic naan in Korea. Paired with any of the myriad flavors of Namaskar’s delicious lassi, these two will please even the most timid (or just visiting parents who want to try something different but shy away from anything that’ll set their tongue aflame). Family meals are available, alongside a list of decently-priced Chilean Italian wines and plenty of desserts and an excellent Chai tea, so be sure to show up hungry and thirsty.

Whatever you order, enjoy your meal. In foreign food-starved Ulsan, restaurants like Namaskar should be truly appreciated for the oasis from kimchi they are.  Namaskar is open from 11-10, every day, and is located just off the covered walkway in Sang-nam-dong (Shinae), behind Skin Food (a skin care and beauty shop).  English is spoken by the owner and waitstaff, and service is always excellent.  Do us a favor and mention Ulsan Online when you order!

Phone number for Samsandong location – 052 261 3362