Date: December 11, 2007
Times Visited: 3 each
On the 5th street lunch carts there’s always been a debate – Is the New Taste of India better – or is the Real Taste of India better?
After plenty of taste tests I have come to the conclusion that the Real Taste of India is the better cart for my taste buds, though many of my co-workers disagree.
Both carts offer a $5, 5 course lunch specials – meat or vegetarian. This includes Rice, Naan and three items. They are both handed to you piping hot in a plastic clam-shell containers and packed into a plastic bag with a napkin or two and a plastic fork.
So what’s the deal? Both carts call out which items have dairy. They are both at about the same mild spice level (but higher spice than The India Chaat House, whose lunch special seems to have no spiciness) and both about the same food. I separate the two when it comes the variety of the three items and the naan.
The Real Taste of India has naan that is larger, thinner and flakier, and often more manipulable. Often the edges are charred like it was cooked over flame. I feel the three dishes they offer are of a wider variety and you can taste the difference from the three. AND, they have the words “vegan” on their menu, showing if you ask for an item to be vegan, they say they know what it means. BUT, you don’t have to because it’s called out on their menu. If you’re down with tofu, they even have some tofu dishes.
The New Taste of India has a denser naan which is pre-wrapped in foil. This means you get your food faster, but it never tastes as fresh as the naan I am used to. The naan tastes like cooked flour and water, there’s not much flavor there. I was once told this naan is somewhat similar to Kenyan bread, but I have nothing to back that up on. Besides the naan, there are the three dishes. They are all good, but they all taste the same. It’s like you could get three servings of the same thing. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, there are slight differences, but you have to look for them.
In the end it doesn’t really matter, you’ll be getting a lot of good Indian food with either cart. But if it’s raining – remember The Real Taste of India has a picnic table and a little covered area so when you order you’re not standing out on the sidewalk, in the rain. Enjoy!
New Taste of India Rating: 4/5
Real Taste of India Rating: 4.5/5
Locations: 5th Ave. between SW Stark and SW Oak
Hours: M-F 11am-6pm