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Indian Cuisine: Food and Socio-Cultural Aspects of Eating

Indian Garden Restaurant is one of the places in Chicago to take dinner, especially after a long, busy day. This restaurant specializes in many Indian dishes, which give the diner a touch of magnificent culinary styles. Indian cuisines are a part of many menus in many restaurants across the United States (Dimitrova and Bruijn 67). The food offered here differs from that in other similar non-ethnic-specific places, reflecting many socio-cultural aspects of Indian foods and determining how the mainstream society perceives the Indians.

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The food offered in the Indian Garden Restaurant in Chicago differs from the mainstream ones in flavor. The restaurant is very radical with flavors to ensure that the original cuisine smell is felt. For example, many other restaurants have Chicken Tikka Masala in their menus, but in the Indian outlets, the dish has a unique taste (Dimitrova and Bruijn 71). Furthermore, there is an addition of such vegetarian spices as powdered red chili, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and black cloves, some of which are omitted in the mainstream non-ethnic-specific restaurants. Additionally, seasonal vegetables are a mainstay in Indian dishes, which is not guaranteed in similar restaurants worldwide (Soundar 155). Therefore, flavor and spices distinguish the Indian food from that offered at similar non-ethnic-specific places in the U.S.

Many social and cultural aspects of Indian cuisine are different from American foods. In Indian culture, eating is a significant social occasion, where the extended family gather, cook, and eat together, as opposed to the United States, where eating is only an ordinary activity. Indians believe that eating whole grains, seasonal vegetables, and spices like chili, coriander, cumin, and turmeric helps keep fit, young, and healthy (Soundar 167). For these reasons, most Indian foods have many spices added to them. When Indians first came into the United States, they were mellow entrepreneurs, and they came outside the country. In many Indian states, such as Punjab, Delhi, and Gujarat, there are many whole grains and seasonal vegetables grown there, making it possible to spice their foods. Thus, their culinary style makes them take longer to assimilate into the American style of cooking. In addition, the Indians take longer to adapt to the American style of life since it is not easy for them to find seasonal vegetables to add to their foods.

The mainstream society perceives Indians as the masters of culinary art because of their dedication regarding their cooking and eating. Most people believe that Indians eat fresh produce each day because their foods do not lack seasonal vegetables, such as coriander, turmeric, black cloves, cumin, and chili. This assumption makes mainstream society appreciate how food is a significant aspect of the Indian culture (Dimitrova and Bruijn 78). Moreover, since most Indian dishes are spicy, most people believe that vegetables are the staple food of the Indians. Thus, Indian foods shape the mainstream society’s perception of the ethnic group.

The Indians’ self-identification is the Hindutva, and their cultural identity as a minority group in the United States is the Hindu religion. Hindutva keeps them united since they are a minority group and have much diversity. They are very faithful in following their religious doctrines and always live and run their businesses to promote togetherness. Additionally, being a minority ethnic group and attempting to cope with being non-white in the U.S., Indians try to balance between Indianness and Americanness. At times, this duality leaves some of them at crossroads (Dimitrova and Bruijn 81). Unlike the earlier immigrants, second-generation Indians are desperate to understand their cultural identity.

In conclusion, the Indian culture and foods add to the ethnic richness and diversity in the United States. The foods offered in Indian restaurants have a unique flavor, with such spices as turmeric, coriander, chili, cumin, and black clover added to them. Indians regard eating as a social tradition, which explains their excellent culinary skills, and the mainstream society perceives Indians as lovers of vegetables. Since they are a minority group in the United States, they have embraced the spirit of togetherness, with close loyalty to the Hindu religious doctrines.

Works Cited

Dimitrova, Diana, and Thomas D. Bruijn. Imagining Indianness: Cultural Identity and Literature. Springer, 2017.

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Soundar, Chitra. Gateway to Indian Culture. Asiapac Books Pte, 2018.

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