Best Eats This Week: NY Times-reviewed Indian food, poached eggs on salmon and a gussied up turkey burger

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Chole masala and dal makhani at Punjabi Dhaba.

Samosa chaat at Punjabi Dhaba.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A New York Times-featured food truck, poached eggs on salmon and a homemade turkey burger round out this week’s edition of Best Eats.

Next week, for those who don’t already have the date marked on their calendar, the Kern County Fair returns.

Could a perfectly cooked corn dog or a baked potato with all the fixings be among a future Best Eats piece? Stay tuned.

Vegetable dishes, samosa chaat at Punjabi Dhaba, 2546 S. Union Ave., Bakersfield

Located on an unassuming stretch of South Union Avenue populated with storage facilities and auto body shops, Punjabi Dhaba appears on the side of the road like an oasis in the desert.

Its covered, outdoor seating area is filled with lush greenery and provides some comfort from the sun’s glare. But I’d visit this truck even if it parked on asphalt with no shade nearby. The food is that good.

Last month, the New York Times wrote about Punjabi Dhaba in an article describing the changing demographics among California truck drivers, more and more of whom are made up of immigrants from India.

In India and Pakistan, as the article says, roadside stands called dhabas are commonplace, serving truck drivers and others looking for a brief respite from the road with a hearty meal and good conversation.

Punjabi Dhaba provides that piece of home for Punjabi truckers traveling through the Central Valley.

During my visits, I tried the dal makhani and chole masala. The former is a creamy lentil dish, the latter contains chickpeas in a spicy tomato-based sauce, and both are spiced to your preference.

It’s almost a requirement to order roti, an Indian flatbread, with your meal. The ones at Punjabi Dhaba come made to order, glistening with butter and perfect for tearing off pieces to scoop up the various preparations of vegetables or chicken served in plastic containers.

Other items are also excellent, including the samosa chaat, a popular Indian street food consisting of two potato-filled pastries served with chickpeas in sauce, covered in chopped onions and drizzled with yogurt.

You won’t go wrong with any order here.

Poached eggs on salmon at Old River Grill.

Poached eggs on salmon, Old River Grill, 9500 Brimhall Road, Bakersfield

Associate Producer Patrica Rocha gave her automatic order upon sitting down for breakfast at Old River Grill: two poached eggs on salmon with purple onion, capers and English muffin, covered in hollandaise sauce.

“I get it every time I go there,” Rocha said.

Adding to the experience was the presence of three golden retrievers nearby, which Rocha said put a smile on her face as she ate her eggs.

Turkey burger

Turkey hamburger by Mason Rockfellow

Assignments Editor Mason Rockfellow ate a healthy, delicious meal this week with his ground turkey burger seasoned with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, pepper and sea salt.

He placed the burger patty on a toasted sesame seed bun and topped it with coarse Dijon mustard, romaine lettuce and white onion.

“Not complicated, yet a very tasty meal,” Rockfellow said.

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