When it comes to aromatic and flavorful food, Indian cuisine has no parallel.
So why is it so underrepresented in American cuisine?
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 around 5,000 Indian restaurants nationwide.
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Many point to the fine culinary skills needed to create quality Indian cuisine, which result in higher prices. Everyday Americans don't expect to pay above a certain price level for food, which leaves only sub-par 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 certainly making inroads in the American palate. Millennials have increasingly adventurous tastes, and Nation's Restaurant News is now calling Indian food one of the biggest coming trends for 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. San Francisco Bay-area chain Tava Kitchen is serving up fragrant Indian-inspired burritos, wraps, bowls, and salads. Biju's Little Curry Shop, a chainlet in the Denver, CO region, is getting a lot of buzz for its Southern Indian cuisine curry to go. And fast-casual giant Sweetgreen introduced curry cauliflower to the menu recently with much fanfare.
New York City-based Indikitch is bringing Indian cuisine to the fast-casual craze with huge success. Business Insider recently visited Indikitch, and what we found could be the answer to Indian food's American conundrum.
Based off Chipotle's fast-casual-service model, the restaurant serves all-natural, GMO-free ingredients in a scratch kitchen right in front of the customer. The first location opened in early 2014, and they've already opened another location in NYC, and have expanded their menu to accommodate more diners on the go.
The restaurant industry is facing increased demand for fresh, quality foods with diverse and ethnic flavors — the time is right for Indian food to hit its stride.