Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘New India Palatine’

Originally written in December, 2008.

by Christopher Brinckerhoff

Chicago – As far as white suburbs go, Palatine is the routine run of the mill. But increasing indulgence in ethnic foods could be bending the white bread cookie cutter into a more interesting shape.

Median to above average income census numbers coupled with its comfortable one hour by Metra rail to the city in a garden characterize the typical burb. Out of Palatine’s approximately 65,000 residents about 15 percent are of Latino country origin, according to the 2000 census. The population is about 8 percent Asian and 2 percent black.

Within the Asian group the largest subgroup was Indian Asian, which makes up about half of the 8 percent. While Mexican food and Chinese food have been well established dining choices, Indian food has been increasing in popularity with many Americans, according to workers, owners and customers.

Palatine has six Asian Indian grocery stores and restaurants, and another one on the way, according to Zum Zum Sweets and Carry Out employee Hakeem Aslam. Zum Zum has been at its Rand Road address for about 35 years. The newest Indian food source, India Bistro on Dundee Road, opened Nov. 26.

Hakeem Aslam at Zum Zum Sweets on Rand Road in Palatine served a samosa. It was good. Photo by Christopher Brinckerhoff.

Hakeem Aslam at Zum Zum Sweets on Rand Road in Palatine served a samosa. It was good. Photos and graphic by Christopher Brinckerhoff.

Due to the constantly increasing Indian and Pakistani populations in the U.S. and because people are more open-minded these days, Indian food stands to give other popular ethnic foods a run for their money during the next five years, according to Aslam.

“I have a feeling that because Indian food is moving up, it’s going to be compared to Chinese or Mexican food because that’s the most popular and the most wanted [ethnic] food in the States right now,” Aslam said. “Indian food is going to be number three coming up on the list.”

Krishan Kumer from New India Carryout & Sweets, 773 N. Quentin Road, opened a restaurant in Milwaukee in 2003, and moved that restaurant to Palatine in 2007. Kumer was born in northern India and moved to the United States about 10 years ago. In India he owned a restaurant and sweets shop like the ones he has owned here.

Kumer said one difference between his restaurant in India and his restaurant in the United States is the clientele. In India he served a more homogenous community of customers looking for the same kinds of foods. Here his patrons are more diverse. Therefore he customizes his food more, varying the amount of spices for example, to appeal to a wider range of preferences.

Krishan Kumer of New India restaurant on Quentin Road in Palatine used to own another restaurant in Milwaukee before deciding to move to the northwestern suburb. Photos by Christopher Brinckerhoff.

Krishan Kumer of New India restaurant on Quentin Road in Palatine used to own another restaurant in Milwaukee before deciding to move to the northwestern suburb. Photos and graphic by Christopher Brinckerhoff.

Aslam said though his second largest customer demographic is Americans, many people still have misconceptions about Pakistani and Indian food.

“As soon as you say Indian food, they go, eshhee, it’s too spicy,” Aslam said. “Technically, there are only two spices that make the food hot to your tongue, but most of them cause flavor. And if you want to order it without spices, or if you want to cook it at home, you can just exclude those and make your food, and it tastes good without the spices.”

A regular customer of Asian Island, 1202 East Dundee Road, is taxi driver Noshad Nizi. He said in addition to the importance of stores and restaurants like Asian Island for the growing Muslim community in Palatine, the foods are also becoming more and more popular with Mexicans and Americans.

“It’s actually good for everybody around here because it’s a lot cheaper for the same food,” Nizi said. “If you go to the India House, it’s a big restaurant in Buffalo Grove, that’s not the same price. It’s the same thing, same recipes, same everything, but it is a different price.”

Mayor Rita Mullins said she remembers eating round pizza for the first time on a family road trip in the 1960s. At the time, pizza was a foreign food to most Americans. Now there is a pizza shop on almost every corner.

Mullins said she enjoyed some food from New India recently, and although she doesn’t care for hot spicy food, they are able to make it to appeal to your individual taste. According to Mullins, businesses like these encourage relationships among people.

“It is diversity of the people in the world, and we are a microcosm of the world,” Mullins said. “And the more that we can familiarize ourselves, the differences become so much smaller between people.”

Simi Grocers on Quentin Road in Palatine is located between the New India restaurant and Old Oak Pizza. If you want to do some Indian cooking, this is one good resource for you. Photos by Christopher Brinckerhoff.

Simi Grocers on Quentin Road in Palatine is located between the New India restaurant and Old Oak Pizza. If you want to do some Indian cooking, this is one good resource for you. Photos and graphic by Christopher Brinckerhoff.

Copyright 2008

Read Full Post »