Wednesday 5 September 2012

Indian immigrants in US long for desi food

ST LOUIS: Indian immigrants in the US crave for desi delicacies like samosa and gulab jamum, travelling great distances to get a taste of their native cuisine.

There are nearly half-a-dozen Indian restaurants in a small city of St Louis neighbouring Missouri where immigrant Indians travel from far and wide for desi (native) foods.

For this they are ready to shell out huge sums of money. Rao Chilakala, owner of Mayuri India Restaurant at St Louis, said the menu has all Indian items.

While Samosa and Idli Sambar are available for USD 5.50, one has to spend USD 7 for Masala dosa and USD 7.5 for two pieces of gulab jamun.

Chilakala said nearly 200 persons, mainly Indians, visit his restaurant daily which fetch him an income of around USD 50,000 to 60,000 a month.

Dilip Desai, a native of Gujarat who has taken US citizenship and is engaged in liquor business, told a group of visiting Indian journalists that they travel almost 10 km to to have Indian food.

"We feel at home by eating mouthwatering Indian cuisines ...we have not forgotten the taste of delicious masala dosa, samosa and gulab jamun," Laksha, Desai's wife, said.

Dayakant Reddy, owner of an Indian restaurant at Dallas, said a large number of Indians visit his eatery to satisfy their appetite for Indian cuisines.

Though majority of visitors to these restaurants are Indians, some US citizens also make frequent travel their in search of tasty Hyderabadi biryani.

Mathew Gold, a native of IOWA who is an investor, said he loves to eat chicken hyderbadi and naan.

John Phillip, who accompanied Gold and who is native of Durban in South Africa, said he has great taste for chicken curry and mutton curry.

"Since I hail from Durban where Mahatama Gandhi had stayed for a long time, I am familiar with rich Indian culture and foods," he said.

Chilakala said he has brought cooks from India for maintaining original touch in preparation of these items.

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