Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Little India in NYC

At the behest of, well, just about everyone, S and I finally made a trip to Jackson Heights to see what all the fuss was about. Verdict? Not much.

Sure, Patel Brothers is great. We got lots of spices and made aloo mattar last night, which we mopped up with some precooked aloo parathas, since I am categorically unable to get the hang of traditional breads. And there are lots of stores glistening with ostentatious jewels of all kinds, and there are curry-a-minute shacks a grotty as those found in the back lanes of Old Delhi, but for some reason, some how, it just doesn't ring true.

In Chicago, when I went to Devon, it felt like I was stepping back into the insane traffic of the subconty; it felt like an outpost of civilization in a otherwise upturned world. In New York? I spent hours gazing at the RED palak paneer (red? since when is spinach RED?!) waiting for the buffet-hungry consumer in its ubiquitous chafing plate, feeling outside, outside, always outside. I know that yes, I'm technically not Indian, and yes, maybe I should feel like an outsider, but ... I can't put my finger on it; something just felt wrong to me there.

Any suggestions? Places to go for a delicious, authentic slice of South Asia? Or am I just being fussy, projecting my suspicions that Little Italy is really a tourist's playground, onto other supposedly "ethnic" (a term I don't particularly want to employ here, but so be it) neighborhoods?


Tabula Rasa said...

try haandi at 28th and lex (eastern side of the road). it's THE cab drivers' joint. i used to die for the nihari that they have on weekends -- tasty beyond belief but also an instant cholesterol boost. the seekh kababs are good too.

h3t said...

There's a pushcart on the corner of 53d Street and 6th Avenue who serves chicken or lamb with rice and is said to be THE BEST HALAL in NYC.....I think he starts at 7:30 P.M. and works till 4 in the morning. I saw the pushcart before him (at the same spot) and he had a decent line....but even before this guy started serving there was a half block long line and guess what he has a fan club too (http://www.53rdand6th.com)...not exactly Indian food but somewhat similar....but it's simply amazing...

Also you can try Thiru Kumar’s food cart it's at the edge of Washington Square Park...said to be the best dosa man in NYC