The only place on Kaua‘i where you can enjoy the favorite refreshment of South Asia is at Shivalik Indian Cuisine in the Waipouli Shopping Plaza.
Mango lassi is the popular form of the refreshment to include mango pulp and other Indian flavors or spices. It is made from sweet or plain lassi, an age-old blend of rose water and saffron, blended with yogurt.
Shivalik Manager Kazi Miah said they use plain, homemade yogurt and a mango mix that is served cold. He called it the traditional Indian version of the shake.
“People are skeptical but once one person at the table orders mango lassi, the others will try it and then everyone ends up ordering it,” Miah said. “It’s one of those things; it’s simple and delicious, and that is what the customers want.”
Mango lassi doesn’t drown out the delicious, spice-filled satisfaction with an overpowering taste. It is a great way to complement a meal from the full Indian menu of vegan, chicken, lamb and seafood entrees.
As an Indian restaurant on Kaua‘i since July 2010, the management was inspired to create the “Mango Sunrise.” Its the alcoholic version of the mango drink, and popular with customers wanting a bit of rum with a sweet and tangy bite.
Miah said they take the traditional mango lassi drink and add a Maui-produced Old Lahaina Premium Dark Rum float, and Premium Silver Rum for the sunrise effect.
“We try to go with the tropical theme,” Miah said. “This is our drink and it’s slowly catching on.”
Two musicians at the restaurant testified to the quality of both drinks.
Will Lydgate, a Kapa‘a resident, is a regular at Shivalik and said mango lassi is a favorite dessert.
“It has the perfect amount of sweetness, with the perfect amount of creaminess, and with just a touch of tanginess from the mango and the yogurt,” Lydgate said.
He was present with a visiting friend and musician, Tubby Love of Savannah, Ga. He was in town to perform at local venues and record an EP at the Steelgrass Recording Studio.
“I don’t do milk or yogurt, but I had to try it for myself,” Love said. “I ended up drinking almost the entire thing because it made me feel good.”
So, if you’re in the mood for a great Indian buffet or a dinner off the menu, the mango lassi is a great way to end the meal. It is also a great drink in and of itself. At $3.95 for the traditional drink and $6 for the rum sunrise version, they are both an affordable way to enjoy the South Asian experience.