Atlanta Magazine :: October 2009 :: Spice Routes :: Eastern India

Spice Routes - Eastern India

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About Eastern Indian Cuisine

Eastern Indian cuisine is scarcely represented in local restaurants. We’re missing fish dishes cooked in heady mustard oil and scented with a potent spice blend called panch phoron, as well as juicy, cheese-based sweets. Immigrants from Bangladesh, which separated from the eastern stretch of India in 1947, run a few local restaurants—though there’s only one I honestly recommend. And while we’re looking eastward, it’s worth briefly touching on Indian Chinese cooking, a now-popular fusion with roots in the early nineteenth century, when an ethnic group known as the Hakka Chinese migrated to India. Read More


The dated room looks like a set piece from Starsky and Hutch (the seventies series, not the Ben Stiller flick), and to fans of Indian food, the names of the dishes may be slightly different, but the ingredients and combinations appear mostly familiar. Press gracious host Mirza Ameen for specialties from his native Bangladesh, though, and he’ll direct you to a couple of listed items and—most winningly—bring out some off-the-menu fortes. Ameen began our meal with a vegetarian version of haleem (the Muslim porridge usually made from meat and lentils), then veered us toward fish bhuna, stir-fried catfish with onions, tomatoes, green peppers, and the zing of fenugreek; lamb curry sauteed with pickled green mango and a touch of mustard oil; and soft but chunky toor dal cooked with peeled and thickly sliced cucumber, a substitute for South Asian vegetables that proved a capable stand-in. Dessert was another off-the-grid treat: mishti doi, a sweetened yogurt dessert with a custardy consistency similar to pot de crème. 3375 Buford Highway, 404-633-6655, Read More

Inchin's Bamboo Garden

This cavernous restaurant shares space with Northern-leaning Tadka, though the two serve radically different food. The first glance of Bamboo Garden’s offerings can make you say, “Huh?” Broccoli beef, General Tso’s chicken, Szechuan fried rice, fish Hong Kong: Hello, this is Chinese food. But look closer. You’ll also see Indian paneer (fresh, pressed cheese) and gingery cauliflower Manchurian interwoven among the selections. This is the synthesis known as “Desi Chinese” cooking. A spate of popularity for the intriguing fusion flickered around the U.S. earlier this decade, and this rendition could more accurately be described as familiar Chinese American cooking with a few Indian elements in the mix. Now brush aside the head-spinning labels and simply enjoy dishes such as lat mai paneer (crisp cubes doused with garlic and ginger), faintly spicy lobster “canchow,” lamb in chile mustard sauce, and Hakka noodles—similar to Singapore rice noodles, minus the curry powder. 11105 State Bridge Road, Alpharetta, 770-622-1445, Read More