Beginners Guide to Indian Food in Bentonville
With the influx of Indian expats over the last few years working for Walmart and many of their 3rd party providers, we have seen a corresponding influx of businesses that cater to that demographic. From movie theaters like Malco dedicating a screen that feature a Bollywood film, multiple Indian grocery stores, and at least a half dozen Indian restaurants, Bentonville / Rogers has seen unprecedented growth in this sector.
When it comes to lunch, the mention of eating Indian usually results in asscociates suddenly remembering that important task that will prevent them from joining. I have never witnessed someone so eager to get back to work on Retail Link until the conversation of Indian food comes up. Sure, Indian can be a daunting experience, but with buffets dominating most of the Indian lunch locations, there is something for nearly everyone.
First, where to go for beginners? We highly recommend Flavor's (map it) just off rainbow curve behind Rapid Prototypes. They offer one of the area's largest buffets for lunch. There is plenty of seating and the owner Raj is more than happy to walk you through any selections. This buffet is also one of the less spicy here in the area. Their buffet costs $12 so make sure you come hungry! There are three other buffets within a 1/4 miles of rainbow curve if you want to venture out, including Curry Point, Pandiyas, and Bawarchi. Aroma on the corner of J and 102 is not a lunch buffet but still provides good Pakastani and Indian good options.
Second, what to eat? There are two items on almost all Indian buffets that many people make a meal of by themselves.
- Naan - Naan is simply bread. Buttery, delicious bread. Buffets don't do it justice, and I know that Flavors (listed above) will bring a fresh batch out to your table if you ask. Spice level: NONE.
- Butter chicken - Butter chicken consist of chunks of chicken roasted and placed in a rich tomatoes based mixture with spices, and of course butter. Spice level: VERY MILD.
Beyond those two items (which honestly can keep many people I know happy by themselves), there are some other staples you must try:
- Chicken Tandori - this is basically really good grilled chicken that is red in color. The chicken is marinated in a yogurt and spice blend and then cooked over direct heat. My kids have loved this dish since they were very young. Spice level: MILD
- Biryani - These are long-grain rice mixtures that come with and without meat or vegetables. This is the foundation for many Indian meals and can honestly be eaten all by themselves. Chicken is a personal favorite, although they often have a vegetable and goat version as well. Spice level: MILD to MEDIUM depending on the chef.
- Masala - Most buffets usually have one of more Masalas to offer, with chicken being the most common. Chicken is roasted (similar to butter chicken) and cooked in a spiced curry sauce. Spice Level: MEDIUM
- Vegetables - there are too many vegetable dishes to list on most buffets and they vary daily, but if you are a vegetarian or are looking for some wonderful food, you can't go wrong with Indian. One of our favorites is a potato and cauliflower mixture called "Aloo Gobi." Spice level: Varies.
Note: Raita! (the cooling sauce) one item many people miss on the buffet. This is a yogurt based condiment that you can put on your food that has a wonderful cooling flavor that counters the spice and enhances the flavor.
- Gulab Jamon - Do you like donuts? Well, these aren't bread, but they look like donut holes soaking in a sweet clear liquid. They are actually spongy milk balls soaked in syrup and are served hot. Spice level: None -Sweet
- Kheer - Indian pudding served rice with fruit and cooked nuts. Spice level: None -Sweet
Note: If you know of some hidden gems, please tell us and we will definitely check them out for a future article.
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