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Legalized menu at The Spicey Chef

Restaurant owner Anuj ThapaA few months back Anuj Thapa, owner of the Spicey Chef on Belvedere Avenue in Charlottetown, was informed that a PEI Cannabis store would be opening next door to his restaurant. He considered this good news—more traffic in the area might mean more customers for his business. 

But Anuj also started thinking about adapting his menu to respond to the tastes of the cannabis-influenced customer. 

If you are a wine lover you probably pay attention to what wines pair best with which foods. A wine and cheese tasting is fun when you find a good match up. 

Perhaps there were certain food groups that pair well with pot-induced states. For several months prior to Legalization Day, Anuj researched extensively online to find out if there was any substance to this idea. And he has incorporated the evidence of his findings into some new additions to his menu.

Anuj is originally from Nepal where there are centuries-old traditions of deriving many products from the hemp plant, including hashish. Local people would eat such things as cashews, pistachios and rice pudding along with hashish consumption. Cashews and pistachios are expensive for restaurant cooking, but the research pointed Anuj to some things that are more readily available and adaptable such as mangoes, avocadoes and sweet potatoes, all of which are purported to enhance the experience.

The Spicey Chef offers dishes from Nepal as well as other choices which fuse Indian and other Asian recipes. Mangoes, avocadoes and sweet potatoes are a natural fit. The menu now offers mango salads and drinks, guacamole, sweet potato butter poutine and other items designed to pair well with the cannabis experience.

Anuj states that while his research is informal—“there is no doctor’s certification”—he is convinced that combining what he has learned with what he already knows as an experienced chef means a menu that will be enjoyed by diners in this new, legalized era.

“I am not promoting cannabis,” says Anuj, “but I know that the right kind of meal in the right circumstances is one of the pleasures in life.”

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