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A taste of Little India

Today we went on a walking tour of Little India, hosted by Preena Chauhan and her mom Arvinda Chauhan, who also run popular cooking classes in Toronto and sell their own specialty masalas. Our meeting place was the Udupi Palace on Gerrard St. where we enjoyed a cooking demonstration and a delicious lunch.

Hubert talks about spices

Dosas on the griddle

After the demonstration, we were served a tasty lunch, including delicious dosas served with sambhar and chutney.

After lunch we walked around Little India and visited a number of stores, including a sari shop, a paan shop, a green grocer and a kitchen emporium.

Sweet Paan

We tried some sweet paan – a mixture of ingredients wrapped in betel-vine leaves. Betel is considered to be a mild stimulent, although I didn’t notice any such effects. The mixture does provide a rush of flavour though and a unique blend of textures as well.

Talking veggies

Preena and Arvinda showed us a variety of vegetables that are not so common outside of the South Asian community.

Toronto's Little India began here

This building, now under renovation, was once home to a theatre that was the first South Asian business to open in what later became Little India.

We also enjoyed sampling some South Asian sweets and sat down for chai and more discussion to end the tour.

It was great to meet Preena and Arvinda today, and we had a delightful time spending the afternoon learning a little about South Asian food and culture, and exploring a neighbourhood here in Toronto that I’ve spent little time in.

Anyone interested in learning more about Preena and Arvinda and their classes and products can visit them at their website. At some future date, I’d love to attend one of their cooking classes, which take place both in Toronto and in Oakville.

6 Comments

  1. It all looks amazing! I can’t believe I never went to Little India when I lived in TO (did it exist back then?). But some good food news here – was recently told that if I go to a certain Indian restaurant and tell them I want the Real Deal, not the watered-down version they make for the wimpy Spanish palate, the owners there will be more than happy to comply.

    • I believe it’s been around since the early 70s. In recent years, we’ve had growing South Asian communities in places like Brampton and Mississauga and the Albion area of Etobicoke, and so it is no longer the only place to find Indian foods, but Little India remains a very interesting place. I thought of you and your Tapas tours when were were walking around the neighbourhood. A highlight of the walking tour was the cooking demonstration we had in the kitchen of the restaurant which served us lunch. I wondered if you’re able to arrange that kind of thing for your guests?

  2. Dear Eugene and Sheila,
    Thank you for joining myself and my mom on the Walking Tour on Sunday! Thank you for sharing the photos, you captured some moments of the tour nicely! Hope to see you both again soon,
    Preena

  3. Indian food? Bring it on! Frankfurt has some OK Indian restaurants and shops, but Toronto looks a lot better in that respect.

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