Monday, Oct 03, 2022
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Los Angeles Diary

In LA, the main course is too dated a concept for these health-conscious foodies who start and finish their lunch and dinner with a lo-cal mountain of greens

Los Angeles Diary Los Angeles Diary

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
Long Beach Elaichi Chai

Mumbai may well be the City of Dreams in India—our own curry version of American folklore—but if there’s any global claimant to that title, Los Angeles is where the search ends. Everybody knows it’s a cosmopolitan city, a melting-pot spiced through with all imaginable ethnic flavours. But that doesn’t lessen the little fizz of culture shock you feel when you see a shop called Rasbhog, selling Indian mithaai—well, it’s not exactly on glamour-kissed Sunset Boulevard, but still. Nor is that a solitary desi outlier. Lined up in its vicinity are many other Indian shops, all doing brisk business. There’s Ambala Dhaba, offering all those mouth-watering, cholesterol-friendly Punjabi delicacies—a whiff of the highway eateries along Bathinda or Jalandhar, just a 20-minute drive away from Long Beach. It’s not for nothing that Artesia is called Little India. Just in case you get homesick in California, head to this little enclave, nestled on Pioneer Boulevard in the southern outskirts of LA, for a sampling of everything desi—from cuisine to herbs, handlooms and handicrafts. Pick up tiny idols of Indian deities, or savour sundry pickles, bursting with the aromas of home. You have restaurants with names like Ashoka the Great Cuisine of India, plus Bindi Jewelery and Loveleen Saree Parlour...even a place called Meena Bazar! Maybe your idea of vacationing in LA is not exactly filled with pictures of tucking into chaat, but who knows what a sudden pang of nostalgia can wreak? And there’s any number of Americans and others there, a whole coalition of the willing, extending their little plate for another golgappa.

A Jungle On My Plate
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