When it comes to aromatic and flavorful food, Indian cuisine is unparalleled.
So why is it so underrepresented in America?
According to a Washington Post report, there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the nation and roughly the same number of Mexican restaurants – yet there are only about 5,000 Indian restaurants.
Many point to the need for fine culinary skills to create quality Indian cuisine, which results in higher prices. Most Americans don’t expect to pay above a certain price level for food, which leaves only subpar Indian food as an option. And once you’ve had bad Indian food, it takes a while to want to roll the dice again.
But despite this, Indian food is making inroads in the American palate. Millennials generally have more adventurous tastes, and Nation’s Restaurant News predicts Indian food will be one of the biggest trends of 2017.
This includes more than just upscale joints – some major chains are starting to dabble in Indian flavors.
Nation’s Restaurant News reports that curry is taking over. Tava Kitchen, a chain in the Bay Area, is serving up fragrant Indian-inspired burritos, wraps, bowls, and salads. Biju’s Little Curry Shop, a chainlet in the Denver region, is getting a lot of buzz for its Southern Indian cuisine. And the fast-casual giant Sweetgreen recently introduced curry cauliflower to the menu with much fanfare.
- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
Indikitch, a chain based in New York City, is bringing Indian cuisine to the fast-casual craze with huge success. Business Insider visited Indikitch in August 2015, and what we found could be the answer to Indian food’s American conundrum.
Based on Chipotle’s fast-casual service model, the restaurant serves all-natural, GMO-free ingredients right in front of the customer. The first location opened in early 2014, and Indikitch has since opened another location in New York and expanded its menu to accommodate more diners on the go.
The restaurant industry is facing increased demand for fresh, quality foods with diverse and ethnic flavors – and the time is right for Indian food to hit its stride.