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annual rant about 'indian food'

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annual rant about 'indian food'

howler | Jun 18, 2005 05:31 AM

1. there ain't no such thing as 'indian' food.

there are about 20+ languages with god knows how many dialects spoken in india; each state is practically a different country. the kashmiris of the north are as disparate in their language, food etc from the tamilans in the south as the english are from mexicans.

i am a maharastrian and marathi, a fine 7th century language, is spoken by 60+ million of us. we're as big as the u.k., ferchrissakes. bombay is our capital city, and you know how many maharastrian restaurants there are in bombay? maybe two.

whats called 'indian' food is usually north indian/punjabi. thats like having all the languages of the world represented by esperanto.

2. x is 'knowledgeable' about indian food

there are EXTREMELY few people who can make that claim - maybe a handful on this planet. the reason is that the cuisines of india live on in peoples homes, from mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, and not in restaurants. your knowledgeable expert will have to competently know their way around the kitchens of a maharastrian, gujarathi, konkani, goanese, mangalorean, keralan, tamilian, kashmiri, rajasthani, jain, marwari, bengali, parsi ..... etc etc and thats just for starters.

for example, parsi cuisine. the parsis came to india from iran around 700 a.d. fleeing muslim persecution. there are about 25,000 parsis left on this planet, mostly in bombay. you can eat some parsi foood at their weddings, or glimpse it from a standard menu at one of two parsi restaurants in bombay. but to get any feeling for the gloriousness of this cuisine, you have to eat regularly at a parsis house.

3. cinammon club, etc

the reason i get annoyed and bored and irritated by the cinammon club sort of restaurant is i can't understand why it exists at all. its an attempt to move punjabi food out of the 'curry house' (by the way, there is NOTHING in india that corresponds to what the brits call 'curry'; curry is a word that means gravy) and into fine dining. its dumbing up whatever there was to begin with... when there is no need. the cuisines of india have taken a few thousand years in their making - by all means mess with the ideas, but at least show us you've mastered them first.

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