A new food trailer, offering a cuisine that is hard to come by in Southern Arizona, is slated to launch in Tucson this weekend.
On Friday, The Curry Pot will set up shop in front of Tap & Bottle, 403 N. Sixth Ave., for lunch service (noon-4 p.m.) with food offerings inspired by the island nation of Sri Lanka.
The mobile eatery will have beef, chicken and vegetable curry combination plates for $9-$10. Samosas, quesadillas, basmati rice and farata flatbread are also on the menu.
Owner Amjaad Jhan said Sri Lanka’s proximity to India means that the two countries share similar dishes.
What sets Sri Lankan food apart, Jhan said, are the different spice blends (some of Jhan's ingredients in his dishes include turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and cardamom) and the use of coconut milk in their curries instead of yogurt.
Jhan was born in raised in Sri Lanka. He lived there until he was 21, at which time he went to live with his uncle in Los Angeles to pursue an education.
He moved to Tucson with his wife, Shuhana Jhan, in 2005.
Jhan, who has worked for 15 years in management at Trader Joe's locations in Tucson and California, said the lack of Sri Lankan-themed restaurants in Arizona is part of what inspired him to take on this venture.
“A lot of people don’t even know where Sri Lanka is,” Jhan said.
He was doubly encouraged by the Tucson community’s positive reaction to food trucks with international cuisines, such as the Twisted Tandoor, which will soon be a brick-and-mortar dining destination; and Scott Safford, his former colleague at Trader Joe's, who opened the beer tasting room Tap & Bottle with his wife, Rebecca Safford, more than three years ago.
“Seeing (Scott) venturing out kind of open up the possibilities for me,” Jhan said. “It made me think that maybe there was something I could do.”
Jhan said he hopes to build up to 15 menu items available at any given time, but is starting simple.
The Curry Pot will also be open for lunch at Tap & Bottle on Saturday and Sunday.
Visit the food trailer's Facebook page for more information.