a sense of home in durham
Back home, I know all the best Indian restaurants, where they have the spiciest paneer and sweetest gulab jamun. In Durham, I barely know my way to Harris Teeter. I have never tried Tandoor at WU or the Indian lentils and cheese dishes at Marketplace. To be honest, the last time I had anything that would be considered Indian food was in January, before I left to come back for the spring semester. It makes me sad to think that I have had such limited experiences exploring the vibrant Indian culture and cuisines near Duke. It always felt like Indian food was for home, never for college. College was Sprout’s sweet potato salad, Cafe’s Cheesecake Brownie, and Sazon’s fried plantains. However, after my experience at Lime and Lemon, I am starting to realize that my two worlds don’t have to be separate.
As I walk in, I am instantly hit with the smell of saffron and chilli. The soft sounds of Indian music fill the room. A: the room that is themed in colors of yellow and light green. I feel a strange sense of comfort, a sense of familiarity. Opening up the menu, I suddenly see all my favorite dishes, foods I have not had in months: panneer, gobi, samosas, and mango lassis. I start to miss my mom and her home cooked meals. I start to miss all the random family meals we have had in Indian restaurants my dad insisted we try. I start to miss switching between Hindi and English, the back and forth banter between my siblings and I. To me, Indian food has been a constant connection to my culture and roots that I sometimes forget to appreciate.
Food is my forever love. Ever since I can remember, I have enjoyed trying new combinations, going to restaurants, and exploring various random food related tiktoks and Instagram videos. It is not just a passion. Rather, it is a lifestyle. I like to call it: Grubber 101. Definition: always thinking of the grub, the next meal, the next adventure. Today, I hope to share the best dishes at Lime & Lemon and what you need to try. Next time you are looking to share a meal with your friends or just need a pick me up to get through midterms, this is the place to be.
First up on our line-up there is the classic mango lassi: a flavorful combustion of mango, sweet yogurt, and lots of milk. A vegan’s worst nightmare, a dairy-lover's heaven. I am a big believer in dessert as an appetizer, main course, and sweet dish. Therefore, if you have a sweet tooth, you need to start your meal with this creamy, thick yet still drinkable with a straw, creation. I have had many mango lassis in my lifetime, and Lime & Lemon’s is a strong contender with my favorites.
Next up, for an appetizer, we have Gobi Manchurian. This was my first time ever having this and it was 10/10. The menu describes it as “Batter fried cauliflower tossed with special manchurian sauce.” If you are a fan of fried cauliflower and spices, you are going to love this one. I usually never venture out of my usual starters of Samosas and Pakoras, but now have something new to try at home as well! This is the perfect snack to prepare you for your entrees.
And here are the main courses of the night! While I cannot speak to the spicy chicken because I am vegetarian, I can tell you that the Mutter Paneer and Navratan Korma are a MUST. Let’s start with the Paneer: if you are a fan of cheese and creamy tomato soup, you are going to love this. Growing up, my mom always made the best paneer dishes and it soon became my favorite Indian food. I am always extra critical of my paneer, but Lime and Lemon passed the test. The Navratan Korma was a vegetable curry and another dish I had never had before. You could always use your veggie intake, and this was a spicy, flavorful, and fulfilling way to do it. To go with the Paneer and Korma, we had white rice and naan.
Not only was the food at Lime and Lemon was just like home, but it was one of the first times I felt like I could connect with my Indian identity at college. I know it is a simple thing to have a meal, but to me, it was a way of establishing a sense of home in a new place. Food is about the connections we make, our identity, and so much more. I challenge you to find a way to have one meal this week that accomplishes one of these goals.
Until next time,