White fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils which is also called as DOSA is the staple diet I grew up on all my life.
The dosa is served with sambhar and chutney(coconut curry) it is long and folded and is placed right in the middle of the plate the ends of it outside the boundary of the plate along with hot and spicy sambar.
Two weeks back I came to Seattle as a part of an International student exchange program. The picturesque buildings, the diverse yet warm people the completely different lifestyle dazzled me and made me euphoric. But there was one thing I couldn’t get accustomed to it was the food , suddenly my longing for eating a dosa blossomed. I went on a personal voyage in finding my south indian cuisine in the diverse town of Seattle.
I was searching for my dosa in the midst of pizzas,burritos and teriyakis. My First step in finding Dosa was to find fellow Dosa lovers in Seattle, which led me to Rashmi Sharma an University of Washington student from the southern part of India. I asked her how much did she miss India and the Indian Cuisine she said” Home sickness is often associated with missing of spicy south indian foods. At first the excitement of eating different cuisines was too high but it soon started to diminish over the time.” I then enquired her about the places i can get south indian food in Seattle , she suggested some places and shared the information regarding the menu.
Now armed with more information I set out to find my dosa in the highly sophisticated streets of Seattle , I started exploring the city in the hope of finding dosa somewhere, the highly frequent Starbucks greeted me but I was focused, I was on a mission to find Dosa and a lentil based vegetable stew made with tamarind called as sambhar . Here I was searching for a food menu that originated in First century AD.
The roads became longer and the walks stretched and I was meticulous about tasting dosa here on the other side of my world. After searching for two days I found a south Indian restaurant which served dosa. My desire to taste the spicy south Indian food increased as I went near the restaurant , I became impatient my heart started to beat fast, the adrenaline started to pump very high like never before. I knew even before looking at the menu that I was going to eat dosa I straightway ordered for it and started to wait restlessly for it to arrive.
I asked the owner of the restaurant Sukhdaljeet Singh how famous Dosa was in his restaurant he said”we sell 8 to 9 Dosa’s daily and during weekends It goes upto 18 to 19.” There are lot of north indian restaurants in Seattle which serves Dosa the Irony being Dosa is a south Indian food and there is no south indian restaurant to which he replied “ Its all about demand there is a great demand for Dosa and other south indian foods that is the reason for having south indian foods in the menu and to add why there is no South Indian restaurant is the south Indians are busy working for Microsoft(with a huge laugh).”
It was during that time that I remembered the things another University of Washington student Yen Nguyen studying international relations said. She belongs to Vietnam she proclaims herself to be a Dosa lover. I asked how did the love affair with Dosa happen, she said “ I have a couple of indian friends who introduced me to dosa and since then dosa Is something I would love to eat when I go out with my friends.”
I took a piece of dosa and dipped it inside the sambhar and tasted it, at that moment I travelled thousands of miles virtually I felt I was at some south indian restaurant in india having my dosa for breakfast. I wondered how dosa had always been an integral part of my life. After having the first bite of my dosa with the spicy hot sambar in Seattle I felt home.
Here are some of the list of restaurants which serves Dosa:
1)Chillis South Indian Restaurant
5002 University way Ne, Seattle, WA 98105
2)Dakshin South Indian Bistro
238 Park Ln, Kirkland, WA 98033
4220 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
4)Travellers Thali House
2524 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
This story was produced in the 2015 SUSI program.