Bhanu's: Indian Cuisine in the SGV, a Grocery Store + Where to Find Ghost Chiles

Vegetarian thali: palak paneer, dal makhani, raita, mixed vegetables
Vegetarian thali: palak paneer, dal makhani, raita, mixed vegetables
Clarissa Wei

Walk into Bhanu's Grocery and Cuisine in San Gabriel and you'll see a grocery store that's slowly being consumed by a restaurant. "We started off with five tables," Richard Harrison, a server at the restaurant, said. Now, there are more than a dozen.

Owned by Mr. Bedi and Bhanu, a brother-and-sister pair from India, the business started off as a catering service. "We owned restaurants in Bombay," Mr. Bedi said. In 2011, they moved into their grocery store on the corner of Huntington and Rosemead.

The menu is vast and is derived completely from the family's archives. Customer favorites include chicken tikka masala, coconut fish curry and the lamb curry. But delve further into their menu and you'll find a few lesser known gems. "Try the lamb tikka boti," Mr. Bedi suggested. "We just came out with it. It's boneless chunks of lamb marinated in Indian spices."

Exterior
Exterior
Clarissa Wei

Typical of a San Gabriel Valley restaurant, Bhanu's is sensible with pricing and generous with portioning. The thali meals average around $10 and are overloaded with curry, lentils, rice, naan and yogurt.

They also carry the elusive ghost chili. It's 401.5 times spicer than Tabasco sauce and holds the record as the hottest natural pepper in the world. Although it's not advertised on their menu, the chili is grown in-house. Just ask for it. Believe us, the servers are more than happy to sprinkle the dry flakes of the chili on your meal.

"They have four levels of spiciness for it," said customer Albert Hsu. "I got sweaty and my tongue was burning. That was just level one." Be sure to order the creamy mango lassi to wash it all down.


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