Monday, August 25, 2014

Around Town ~ Real Indian Food!

A former colleague once told me that the closer you are to India (geographically) the better the Indian food gets.

We seriously challenged that idea with Chandrika's incredible South India cuisine where we used to live in the States.  That woman could cook.  I had a hard time telling whether I was in India or not, it was that good.

One time my wife and I picked up a couple India engineers that we had over to do some work for my team.  I asked if they'd eaten yet and they both nodded "yes."  They were full.

Well, Jude and I were hungry so we asked if they minded if we headed over to Chandrika's place for a bite to eat before heading out to see the city.  I'll never forget watching as these two Indian software engineers ate what must've been a half dozen different dishes.  Jude and I were full after one or two dishes apiece.  Those guys?  They packed it in and went back the next day for more.

Moving to Paris was to be a test of my former colleague's idea of "closer is better."

After settling into our current arrondisement we found a couple "Indian" places and tried them.  It was not good.  They didn't even taste like Northern Indian cuisine though some of the owners said they were from Dehli or Bombay.  The food was more "gloppy" than it should have been and we were told the French do not like spices, so these restos wouldn't add any to their cooking.  It was so bad that I once found a sliver of metal shavings from the can they just opened.

Thanks, but no thanks.  Either we found the "real" thing or we'd go without.  If we weren't trying to be too dramatic, maybe we'd find a compromise.

What recently fueled our interest in India cuisine was a series we YouTubed.  It was a great way to spend a pleasant evening reclined in bed and drooling at the thought of something incredibly tasty.  Jude got into the mood by preparing a few of her own very tasty Indian dishes.  It looked like we'd have to rely on Jude's efforts to keep us in Fine Fettle while no doubt offending the sensitive French nose with cooking smells making their merry way out of our apartement.

One day a new member of our French/English conversation group showed up.  She looked Indian, so I took the highly "un-PC" move of approaching her and asked if there was anywhere in town that served real Indian food.  I told her we wanted something where the spices were truly Indian-hot and that we wanted Dosa, by gawds!  Give us Dosa or give us death!!

Without hesitation she said that "yes", we could find what we were looking for.  I replied "no way!"  It couldn't be possible as the only area we hadn't tried was up around the Gare du Nord.  She laughed and said "just go", where the words were delivered with a little South Indian head nod.  Of course that would be the one area where a large Pondicherry, Sri Lankan community is found.

Paris has become a Multi-Layered Paradise.  Anywhere we look there is something to be discovered and reveled in.  It was with this in mind that we boarded the metro bound for la Gare du Nord.

Up out of the metro we popped and down the street we went... to see a place that came highly recommended... but served no ETOH... and past several promising restos... the scents and smells of the South Indian continent wafting everywhere... bringing tears to my eyes at the memory of time spent in the Indian state of Karnataka... and of colleagues who've since become friends... and... to the street where our destination would be... um... er... ah!... there it is!  It's right on the corner.

Dosa!  Kingfisher!!  Vindahlo!!!  Nirvana.

The prices are "right."  That is to say, a LOT less for wonderful "home style" food than you typically spend at a "low-end" bistro where they microwave your this-morning-Rungis-prepared repas to luke-warm temperatures.  More importantly, the food is fantastic.  It has all the right flavors, all the right scents, all the right qualities that make Indian food the amazing cuisine that it is.

Yes.  We've found it.  Real Indian food.  Right here in the City of Lights. 

It's good to find the Indian gods and goddesses smile kindly on this peaceful land of France.

No comments:

Post a Comment