HinduCanteenNY

The Hindu Ganesh Temple has seriously good food.

What started as a kitchen to prepare holy food for the gods in Ganesh Temple in Queens, New York, has morphed into a popular restaurant for people to enjoy the finest Hindu food. The food offering, known as ‘naivedyam’ was for Hindu deities in adherence to the agama sastras. Started in 1993 as a simple kitchen with the blessings of Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati, the Canteen moved to a new site in 1998 and became a bonafide restaurant with reviews from The New York Times and Queens Brownstoner.

The Ganesh Temple Canteen is renowned for its sumptuous vegetarian dishes, and it boasts of over one hundred Indian dishes to excite and awe the palate. A 2007 article in The New York Times by Peter Meehan stated that the President of the temple, Dr. Umar Mysorekar marked the beginning of the canteen with the hiring of a special cook in 1993. Meehan remarks, “It is amazing what the cooks can conjure up with little more than lentil-rice flour, loads of butter and a giant, searing hot griddle. Tubular paper dosas are vellum thin and shatteringly crisp. As long as a grown man’s arm, they are bigger even than the cafeteria-style plastic trays that are provided for ferrying the food from counter to table.”

A review in Serious Eats by Max Falkowitz has more glowing recommendations of the Ganesh Temple Canteen; “When out-of-towners ask me where to see “real New York,” or when I’m looking to feed eight people for $40, or when I’ve decided that my cholesterol is just too damn low and in need of some butter, I have one easy answer for where to go: an out-of-the-way temple in suburban Flushing that just happens to make the best dosas in the city.”

Falkowitz goes on to comment, “The temple’s received considerable attention from non-Indians over the years thanks to its basement canteen , a no-frills space that stands in stark contrast to the ornate design work on the façade and upstairs. But it’s this cavernous space where worshippers can get a filling meal for a few bucks a head-no item exceeds $7-before heading back for more prayer, sometimes an all-day affair.”

The Ganesh Temple traces its roots to The Hindu Temple Society of North America, founded on January 26, 1970. The Society bought land from the Russian Orthodox Church and in 1977, construction on the Temple was finished. On July 4, 1977, the Temple was consecrated by His Holiness Sri La Sri Padrimalai Swamigal, a siddha from Madras.

The Temple has also established a Hindu Religious and Cultural Center Complex on Bowne Street, where Hindus can get to know each other and deepen their sense of community.

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