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Why Indians in Los Angeles dont eat Indian food By Anant Goenka The L.A. Pilot
LOS ANGELES -- In Los Angeles, the food at your neighborhood Indian restaurant may be far from authentic. Anant Goenka serves us an explanation.
More About Indian food - A Personal Note
Ask an Angelenos of Indian decent, what it is that they don’t like about the Indian restaurants and in unison they all say, “Its too heavy.” I sympathize. As a full grown Indian from India, home-cooked food means a lot to me. My nani’s (maternal grandmother) house in Calcutta is paradise. The difference starts right from the market. The vegetables are bought from a vegetable bazaar — undoubtedly organic.
Each dish retains the flavor of the vegetable and is considerably spicier. The cooking involves no cream or sugar. Each meal is a complete balanced diet. It involves a dal (or, lentils) for protein. At least three vegetables (invariably, one will be green) for the various minerals and vitamins. And every morning, a poll is taken to decide whether the carbohydrates would come from pulao (pilaf) or chapatti. The two are not mixed.
Food in India is an obsession. Each region of India has developed its own distinct cuisine and each home, its signature variation. In the arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat, a great variety of dals and achars (preserves of pickle) are used to substitute the lack of fresh vegetables and fruits. South Indians fight the heat-induced-flu by using a lot of red chilies and tamarind. Large varieties of seafood cooking styles are found in the coastal regions of Bengal and Kerala. According to folklore, women of marriageable age were often judged by the dal they prepared.
So, What Have You Been Eating All This While?
The food served at an Indian restaurant in Los Angeles, is an extremely Americanized version of food from the state of Punjab. Here, the cuisine is the richest of the Indian palate, and there is a reason.
The Indian state of Punjab, with its 5 rivers.
Five rivers meet in the state of Punjab. The fertile land makes farming a popular occupation. The food is tailor-made for a lifestyle that demands physical strength and energy to work the fields.
Infact, while it is customary for most Indians eat four light meals each day, in Punjab, the food is so heavy that they eat only two meals a day.
Authentic Indian food in Los Angeles
When I first came to Los Angeles, hungry for good Indian food I asked a south-asian sounding taxi driver, if he could take me to an authentic indian restaurant. He suggested the Air India ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport.
For those who dont have the time, money or inclination to take a cross-atlantic flight, here are a few restaruants at the Indian village in Artesia that are a more genuine representation of food from the diverse subcontinent.
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