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Jan 11, 2012
Indian restaurants have been around for a while now, especially in bigger cities in America, tempting adventurous eaters with fragrant curries, vindaloos, and paneers. Often, the dining experience involves buffets and white tablecloths. Increasingly, though, Indian food is becoming fast food, competing with burgers, subs, and tacos for the office lunch crowd.
Need proof? In 2010, we wrote about the Fojol Bros. bringing their brand of Indian food and inspired silliness to the streets of Washington, D.C. New York City has had Indian food carts and takeout joints for years now. Portland, Oregon's lively food cart scene is graced with numerous Indian choices. In Chicago, Chutney Joe's offers heaping plates of "authentic home-style Indian food, served fast," cheap, and cafeteria style; the recently opened Bombay Wraps serves traditional favorites like cheese paneer and lamb curry wrapped in Indian flatbreads (shown above); and the even more recent Curry Cruiser takes Indian food on the road in a shiny new lunch truck. Fast food restaurants and trucks serving treats from the Subcontinent have been popping up from Atlanta to St. Louis, Durham to Little Rock. In fact, when my wife passed through Buffalo, New York last summer, all five food trucks she saw at Niagara Falls were Indian.
What Indian fast food brings to the table that others sometimes don't is loads of healthy food choices, many of them vegetarian and even vegan. All in a cuisine that's filled with complex flavors, exotic aromas, and--if you're up for it--plenty of heat.
These modest, quick-serve restaurants are part of a Character Approved growing trend in America. As Indian food becomes fast food, it's a sure sign that Indian cuisine is becoming mainstream, and our palates are becoming ever more international.