Sunday, August 23, 2009

Little India

I heard about the Festival of South Asia this weekend and I was keen to go. I've been to the Little Italy street festival so many times, but never the Little India one. So, I dragged Jack & Marjorie there on Friday night. I expected street food and booths and lots of activity.

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However, Little India wasn't busy at all. There was no hint of this on the website but Friday night was only the 'dance showcase' (including a 'So You Think You Can Bollywood Dance?' contest). The street food wouldn't be set up until Saturday afternoon. But we made the most of it by strolling past the sari shops. I wish I could get away with wearing "salwar kameez" (long tunic over loose trousers) without being branded an eccentric WASP. They look so comfy.

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Jack & Marjorie are fans of Lahore Tikka House. We went in for dinner because it was the closest thing to the street food I was expecting. Apparently, this restaurant has been under construction for years and in the meantime, there is a temporary set-up. The system is complete chaos - enter via a shack, walk down a plywood hallway, detour right through the kitchen were the naan bread is being torn off a massive heap of dough and tossed into the wood oven, then pass beneath another series of tarps until being seated on plastic chairs in an enormous tented parking lot area. Ordering and paying for food involves lining up away from the dining tent. I had no idea there was anywhere like this in Toronto. The atmosphere was like a big party. There seemed to be a hundred employees dashing between the tables. Perhaps because the kitchen areas are still under construction and washing dishes isn't possible, plastic cutlery and Styrofoam plates and cups where provided, which wasn't an encouraging sign. The good news was that the food was great. This is Pakistani food, not technically Indian, although a lot of the dishes were similar. The difference is that all the meat is Halal and beef is on the menu. Also, the spices seemed richer to me. My favourite dish was the veggie combo sizzler but the lamb gosht was really tender and piquant.

Lahore Tikka House, Gerrard Street

Lahore Tikka House, Gerrard Street

Lahore Tikka House, Gerrard Street

Lahore Tikka House, Gerrard Street

Lahore Tikka House, Gerrard Street

Naan bread and sides

sizzling veggies

Friday night's trip to the east end of town was pretty much it for my weekend. I spent Saturday and Sunday mostly at home in bed reading and knitting because I was feeling sick. Ah, well...

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