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Eat and Drink

Everything you need to eat in Jackson Heights' Little India

All you Indian food lovers may have found your go-to spot for curry, tandoori and samosas by now.

The Indian strip on Second Ave. and the cluster around Murray Hill's E. 28th St. and Lexington Ave. (namely Curry Hill) both have solid options, but we strongly urge you to find the inner adventurer in yourself and travel to Jackson Heights, Queens where Little India is the next best thing to visiting India for real.

To get there (73rd and 74th Streets between Roosevelt and 37th Avenues) you can take the 7 to 74th St-Broadway or the E, F, G, R, V to Jackson Heights- Roosevelt Ave. May seem like a trek, but again, way better than a 15-hour flight.

For your Indian food needs: Patel Brothers

Patel Brothers (37-27 74th St.) is a one-stop-shop
Photo Credit: Karina Shedrofsky

Patel Brothers (37-27 74th St.) is a one-stop-shop for Indian ingredients, spices, Dals and snacks. Whether you're an expert Indian cook or just looking to try some Chakli (a crunchy spiral-shaped chickpea snack), this supermarket has it all. They call themselves the largest South Asian shop in the world, and until we find another store with a bigger variety of nan and ready to cook Indian dishes we can't challenge that.

For the best bang for your buck: Jackson Diner

Jackson Diner (37-47 74th St.) has gained some
Photo Credit: Karina Shedrofsky

Jackson Diner (37-47 74th St.) has gained some notoriety over the years for their consistent Indian food, and we think their lunch buffet is definitely worth mentioning. For $11.95 from 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. eat as much goat curry, chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken and veggies as your stomach can handle-- and it comes with a basket of freshly made, buttery naan for the table. Be sure to ask for the fresh dosa buffet special, which includes a made-to-order crepe with a potato, pea and nut filling.

For sweets and takeout: Al-Naimat

During your trip to Jackson Heights, don't pass
Photo Credit: Karina Shedrofsky

During your trip to Jackson Heights, don't pass by this tiny sweets and Indian food shop. It's the perfect option for take-out if you want to have an Indian feast at home. Make your selections from behind the glass and recieve a plastic container filled with dishes like chicken tikka masala and butter chicken. What really makes Al-Naimat (37-03 74th St.) special, however, is their sweets. Try their gulab juman (honey balls) that are so moist they dissolve in your mouth, or their almond burfi, which has the texture of fudge but isn't overpoweringly sweet. Sit down in their dining section or grab a box to go!

For Indian souvenirs: Every shop on 74th St.

Whether you're looking to buy a new sahil
Photo Credit: Karina Shedrofsky

Whether you're looking to buy a new sahil or want to listen to the newest bhangra (electro Indian pop) music, you can stroll down 74th Street and pop into any of the countless shops that line it. If you're looking to spend more time eating than shopping, Butala Emporium (37-46 74th St.) is a good option with a wide range of Indian goods under one roof.

For an authentic Halal food experience: Kebabish

Kebabish (70-64 Broadway) is a small take out
Photo Credit: Karina Shedrofsky

Kebabish (70-64 Broadway) is a small take out joint with enough room for 3 lucky customers to sit. The people sharing the tiny counter with us said this is their go-to spot in Jackson Heights for authentic Indian food. Disclaimer: they recommended the Gola Kebab, which is in fact Palestinian. Regardless, we were happy to take their recommendation.

The Gola is extremely spicy, but somehow manages to maintain the flavors of the different spices that are mixed in. Gola Kebab is basically minced meat marinated in a laundry list of spices (our hunch: garam masala, coriander, cumin, all spice and more) and then fired up in their brick pizza oven. Despite your tendencies to dig right in, be careful not to eat the string they use to ensure the tender minced meat sticks to the skewer. Get a side of nan to temper the spice and don't go light on the yogurt sauce. You'll need both.

For Indian snacks and street food: Rajbhog Sweets and Snacks

They have sweets behind glass and bags of
Photo Credit: Karina Shedrofsky

They have sweets behind glass and bags of snacks on shelves, but you must go to Rajbhog Sweets and Snacks (7227 37th Ave.) for their Papri Chaat ($4.99). Though a pretty sizable snack, this dish is Indian fast food at it's finest. The fried dough wafers that get soggier the longer you take to eat add the perfect crunch to the soft texture of the boiled potatoes and lentils. And the mix of chutneys and yogurt sauce creates a confusing mixture of sweet and spicy that changes with each bite you take. It is then topped with sev (small pieces of crunchy chickpea noodles) to add that extra crunch factor for when the wafers start to soak up the rest of the dish.

For juicy dumplings: Amdo Kitchen

Nothing about this Himalayan food truck is Indian,
Photo Credit: Karina Shedrofsky

Nothing about this Himalayan food truck is Indian, but they make momo (steamed beef dumplings with a thick, chewy exterior) that are worth mentioning. Plus, most Indian restaurants in the area have momo on the menu probably because the dumplings are just that good.

Amdo Kitchen sets up shop right off of Roosevelt Ave. --we got them on Jackson St.--, and somehow manages to create chewy pillows of juicy beef in the back of a truck. These dumplings ($5 for eight) are so juicy that the steamy liquids spill out after your first bite. Add a small dollop of their house made hot sauce for the complete Amdo Kitchen experience.

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