the spot: Haat Bazaar 3711 73rd st suite 73 Jackson Heights Queens NY
the eats: Biriyani, beef curry, dal, dimmer chop(fried egg), bhaji – basically get everything you can but fair warning: the fish has a million bones!!
the bucks: $10 a person
the full nelson: legendary Bengali grocer serving authentic home cooked Bengali food in the heart of Jackson Heights Queens
Beyond Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan lies a complex world of regional Indian cuisines, like Bengali cuisine of which I grew up on. Not unlike some 1st generation American kids, I longed for hamburgers and pizza over funky fish curries and lentil stews but as I grew older and Mom’s kitchen grew further and further away, I reminisce for the OG stuff I grew up on.
Fair warning: Bengali food is not for everybody. The curries come off oily for the uninitiated, the fish is loaded with bones and can be dangerous to eat if you’re not careful, and yeah, the kabobs are cooked to a temperature beyond well done. Still the spice profile is distinctly different from the all you can eat Indian buffets where cumin and coriander are made almost irrelevant by copious amounts of heavy cream. The bottom line is that there is a lot more to Indian food than your neighborhood Indian restaurant, and if you are looking for a true foodie adventure, head to Haat Bazaar in Jackson Heights, Queens.