Scorpi-ho and I went for Indian food after work on Saturday. I literally have orgasmic food dreams about Indian cuisine. It is so flavorful, so savory, and so heartwarming that I crave it every single day of my life. I will always be in the mood for Indian food. But it didn’t start out that way…
Let’s travel back in time to 2013. I was fresh out of college, still young and obliviously stupid about a lot of things in the world, and I was also entering one of the worst depressions of my life. A few of my old college friends wanted to get together to catch up, and had chosen an Indian restaurant called Udipi.
The first time always sucks, right?
If you are from the Pittsburgh area, Udipi is legendary in Indian cuisine. I was more than excited to try something new, but let me tell you…I was not prepared for this experience.
First of all, Udipi is a tiny shack of a place along the side of the road. It’s connected to a small shop (more on that later). Walking into Udipi was like walking into the private Moose club where your presence is questioned and there are no nice neon signs for white people that tell you what to do or how to act. I’m not going to lie, my first experience in an Indian restaurant was horribly uninformed and ignorant, and because of that, I felt entirely out of place.
But my friends had been there before, or so they claimed, so I was mainly just following along. We were seated at a table in the far corner where several Indian families were already well into their dinners.
Things were looking spiffy, until they brought out the menu.
I had no bloody idea what anything was, and the descriptions weren’t really helping because my brain had already entered panic mode. Words no longer made sense to me. Everything was sort of turning into a blur. I felt very unprepared, realizing that I had no idea how to eat any of this. I felt like all those nice families sitting around us were judging me, the white girl who had no idea what anything on the menu was.
So with the help of my friends, I pieced together a meal. As we waited for our food, flies buzzed around our heads and the florescent lights hummed in our ears, and we talked about anthropology and all the things that had happened since we had left college. I felt more at ease. The food came, and although I had no idea what to eat with what (was that a sauce or soup? Where do I dip the na’an? What did I even order? Was that mine or yours?), the food was actually quite delicious and I was happy to have experienced something new.
After paying, we entered the small shop that was attached. There were tapestries and statues of Ganesha, Shiva, Durga. All the religious icons we learned about from out professor, who was Indian herself. There were beautiful saris and silk shawls. My friend bought a skirt and a small Ganesha statue. As we left, I vowed that I would research how to eat Indian food so I didn’t feel like such an uncultured fuck.
But new terrains are better experienced by people who know their shit, right?
Thankfully Scorpi-ho was more than willing to sit down with me and explain the basics of Indian cuisine. He has an undying love and passion for all cultures and researches that and politics almost exclusively. He also knew my taste preferences, so led me to things he thought I would like.
The second dishes I ever tried, I can now remember the names because I know a bit more about them. We tried biryani and korma (I have also seen it spelled kurma, and I am not sure which is correct, so I will refer to it as korma). For those who are like 2013 me, biryani is a spicy rice dish served either with vegetables, goat, or chicken, and korma is a soup-like savory cream dish that can be eaten with na’an and usually comes in either vegetarian or with your choice of protein.
I immediately fell in love with korma. It became my go-to option when ordering Indian food, although I have since branched out and tried many different foods now (hello, all-you-can-eat buffet!).
And so we come to last Saturday.
The restaurant we tried was Cafe Delhi in Carnegie, and if you are looking for an inviting atmosphere with damn delicious food, I encourage you to check it out! (Even if you have no idea how to order off the menu!). Anything you get there will be delicious.
I must admit I went with my fall back and order the korma. I knew what I wanted, and it was that deliciously creamy, savory dish with soft pieces of chicken and endless spices. Served with warm na’an, it was heavenly. I ate every bite.
If you have never tried it, I highly recommend Indian cuisine. If you are going to branch out and give it a try, I suggest you start at a buffet. You can try small bits of everything to see what you like! I wasn’t sure what to expect way back in 2013, but now I can safely say that it is one of, if not my number 1, food choice in the world. So yeah, you can keep your Italian food. I’m having Indian.Kat