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any place serving indian food on banana leaf?

outtakontrolla Jan 9, 2007 08:24 PM

In Malaysia, where I grew up, there is a style of eating Indian food where the restaurant uses banana leaves in place of plateware, you eat with your hands, and service is family style or all-you-can-eat. For some reason, it's so much better that way ... and I miss it. Anyone heard of this in the NYC Metro area? It's possible that it's considered a health code violation and I am out of luck.

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  1. welle RE: outtakontrolla Jan 9, 2007 09:20 PM

    some of the dishes in Sanur (Manhattan chinatown) are served on banana leaves (on plates though), but I've never seen anyone eating with hands. I suppose you can use your hands if you like.

    1. Brian S RE: outtakontrolla Jan 9, 2007 09:45 PM

      This is not uncommon in southern India. It saves on washing dishes and you don't have to worry about the caste or hygiene of previous users. So if you found it here, it would be in a southern Indian place. Or Malayan... a lot of places do as described by welle above.

      1. n
        naes RE: outtakontrolla Jan 9, 2007 11:08 PM

        Oh how I wish I was back in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, eating the delicious mutton kurma at Hameediyah restaurant! I'd love to find something similar here in NYC.

        1. missmasala RE: outtakontrolla Jan 10, 2007 12:06 AM

          what you are talking about are thali meals, in india they are all-you-can-eat and in s. india typically served on banana leaves.

          Don't know of any place in the outer boroughs, tho perhaps there is one in floral park (kerala kitchen? usha foods?)

          there won't be a banana leaf, but you could try vatan, a veg gujurati restaurant on 3rd and 29th. haven't been there for a few years (is it still in business?) but if so they do an all-you-can-eat thali. other places do thalis but they aren't all-you-can-eat.

          Otherwise, try one of the lunch buffets at one of the south indian places in little india (around lex and 28th). They vary in quality, so check on the manhattan board to see which is the best right now.

          1. Woodside Al RE: outtakontrolla Jan 10, 2007 03:11 PM

            Saravanna's on Lexington & 26th does a wonderful South Indian thali (but no banana leaf).

            2 Replies
            1. re: Woodside Al
              squid kun RE: Woodside Al Jan 12, 2007 07:09 PM

              Maybe they're BYOBL.

              1. re: squid kun
                welle RE: squid kun Jan 12, 2007 07:11 PM

                very funny

            2. j
              janbrady RE: outtakontrolla Jan 10, 2007 06:31 PM

              This won't help you at all, but your post brings back fond memories of the Banana Leaf Apollo restaurant in Singapore. You sit at the table with your banana leaf, and the servers come around with big pots of rice and curry (meat, fish) that they dole out as you please. YUM.

              4 Replies
              1. re: janbrady
                outtakontrolla RE: janbrady Jan 10, 2007 06:49 PM

                Exactly what I was remembering! (Thank you!) It's all about the banana leaf, folks. No plates and no silverware.
                Thali, etc., is just not the same thing ...

                1. re: outtakontrolla
                  Cheese Boy RE: outtakontrolla Jan 11, 2007 02:10 AM

                  I have to mention the episode on Globe Trekker where Justine Shapiro was somewhere in Asia eating on a banana leaf. A person would come by and ladle food on top of it.
                  I remember it was all-you-can-eat vegetarian (?) for the equivalent of 35 American cents. She was instructed to eat with her *right* hand because it was understood that the left hand is used for "wiping" other/lower regions of the body.

                  1. re: Cheese Boy
                    missmasala RE: Cheese Boy Jan 11, 2007 03:19 PM

                    I'm a lefty and I eat with my left hand in india (i can't do anything with my right) thereby shocking anyone and everyone I come into contact with.

                    My dad (indian) was a lefty, but of course eats with his right hand.

                    1. re: missmasala
                      Cheese Boy RE: missmasala Jan 12, 2007 04:10 AM

                      Dad was brought up right. : )

                      His daughter on the other hand, uhhhh, looks to be a non-conformist. : )

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