Finally, on March 8th 2017 I got to taste a little bit of greatness! I had the chance to take a class field trip to the Taj Grocers. My classmates and I walked up to what looked like any regular grocery store, but once inside it was obvious that the store consisted mostly of food items that I had never seen before. They did hold many American-made food items such as Lays chips, but there were also incredible Indian spices, rice, vegetables and even many Krishna and other god-like statues. It was all so interesting to me, but what really stood out to me was the restaurant located in the back of Taj Grocers. Arijit Sen stated in From Curry Mahals to Chaat Cafés that, “Ethnic restaurants and grocery stores play an important role in the creation of contemporary American urban culture… Increasingly such spaces are emerging in neighborhoods impacted by demographic, economic, and political restructuring and urban revitalization in American cities” (Sen, 1). This seems to be true for the area in Plano, Texas. It was a beautiful grocery store, the atmosphere was fantastic and the store itself appeared to play an important role to its society. I could smell delicious foods as I entered the large café doors. I looked around and couldn’t help but to notice so many families having a lovely time as their children ran around playing and eating the unique and pleasant foods that the Chaat house had to offer. My classmates, wonderful teacher and I all lined up to place separate orders. The menu did not include any meats and was still unbelievable. It contained many foods that I have never heard of before, but from standing behind the counter it all looked and smelled appealing. Some of the foods included the Aloo Paratha, the Gobi Paratha, the Methi Paratha, the Muli Paratha, the Plain Paratha, the Chapathy, the Tondoori Roti, the Cheese Naan, and the butter naan. After a long debate between my two ears, I decided on the simple cheese naan. I waited a few minutes with my buzzer and was ecstatic to hear it go off. I went back to the counter, received my cheese naan from a very polite cook and began to devour my cheese naan. It was the first cheese naan I have ever had and it was delicious. It was if the Taj Grocers had its own piece of heaven within its grocery store. Visiting the Taj Grocery store and the Chaat house was like nothing I have ever done before. Although it was merely just a grocery store, it was an extraordinary experience and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to visit and further my knowledge of Indian culture.
Arijit Sen, “From Curry Mahals to Chaat Cafes” Spacialities of the South Asian Culinary Landscape University of Califronia Press, 2012. 203-204.