Punjabi on a Plate:

Paratha, Samosa and Kingfisher in Delhi

Paratha, samosa, pickles and beer in Delhi, India (2006)

Most of the Indian restaurants in the U.S. pretty much serve what would be considered Punjabi Cuisine, that is food from the Punjab region of India – think tandoori chicken and the like. Dishes from Southern India and other regions can be found on menus here and there and occasionally a restaurant will specialize in something else like Gujarati cuisine or Goan cuisine – but for the most part Punjabi is the standard. The downside to this is that is can be difficult to try a diverse selection of dishes from the many regions of India in much of the U.S. – the upside is a really good Punjabi joint can be pretty representative of what you’d actually be served in India. Unlike say Chinese or Italian cuisine in the States, which more often than not can stray wildly from the homeland, if you’ve eaten at a good Punjabi restaurant in America and eat those same dishes while visiting India, they’ll be recognizable. I can’t say exactly why this is. In the photo above you see fried paratha bread and samosas along with a King Fisher beer (the latter of which really is nearly everywhere you go). Also in the photo is a small bowl of achar (Indian pickles) and hiding out of sight are rice and chicken dishes. All very good and very similar to some of the better versions I’ve eaten back home.