A well-groomed gentleman walked in to the small diner, got seated and began to survey the menu. The server brought him the welcome plate of mung bean wafers and condiments. “Good evening Sir. Welcome to our diner. May I bring you something to drink? Some hot tea perhaps? They say the Himalayan Green Tea harvest this year has been excellent and we received our shipment the other week.”
“That would be just fine. Hot green tea and while you’re at it, how about some garlic Naan.”
“Immediately Sir.” The server was off to the kitchen.
Breaking a piece of the blistered mung bean wafer, the gentleman quickly surveyed the condiments. He dipped the piece in the tamarind chutney, popped it in his mouth. Savoring the taste he closed his eyes. Faint traces of a smile formed on his face. He seemed transported far, far away.
The server came back to take his order. “Have you decided on what to order, Sir?”
The gentleman appeared to wake up from his reverie. “I’ll take the lamb curry, of course. You do have lamb curry, yes?”
“Yes Sir and we serve it with Basmati rice,” the server replied. “And how spicy would you like your curry prepared Sir?” The server waited patiently for the gentleman to decide.
“I like my curry mild…. Wait. I am feeling great today. Make it spicy. Yes. make it spicy…”
The server brought in the garlic Naan piping hot on a bed of clean napkins. The garlic oil glistened on the naan blisters. The gentleman smiled widely. He tore into a piece and zestfully dipped it in the tamarind sauce. He tore off another piece. This time he tried the onion pickled chutney and the yogurt. He enjoyed every bit of the naan with his green tea.
When his order of lamb curry arrived, he dipped his naan in the curry and savored it. “Delicious,” he murmured as he chewed his dipped naan. I am back in Kathmandu… o my… I am truly back in the Himalayas.”
“Would there be anything else Sir?” The server was about to leave.
The gentleman spoke. “The curry is delicious. But I will need more garlic naan. Could you please attend to more tea also?”
“Of course Sir.” And the server, smiling, was off to the kitchen.
At the end of the meal, the gentleman said while paying at the counter, “You know, it’s been years since I’ve had excellent Indian food. I thought I’d have forgotten the taste – but nope. The taste buds know… and my taste buds tell me this was an excellent lamb curry. I will be back. Thank you.”
“Thank you Sir. Come back and dine with us again soon.”