A Taste of Home for California’s Punjabi Truck Drivers

Punjabi Dhaba, reminiscent of no-frills roadside restaurants in India and Pakistan, is another example of how Bakersfield and its tastes have grown alongside its immigrant work force.

Comments: 133

  1. A nice review of a place that promises tasty treats. If I may offer the writer a suggestion, the article notes that most of the dishes are vegetarian but goes on to describe the butter chicken. However, the only vegetarian items discussed are the chickpeas and the stuffed rotis. We would be delighted to learn more about the other vegetarian items served given that Indian cuisine presents the largest variety of vegetarian dishes of any culture.

  2. @Maya EV Yes I noticed that too. For anyone interested, check the menu out on Yelp, where the place is already rated 5 stars.

  3. @Maya EV So true. The depth and breadth of vegetarian Indian cooking, accross the many cuisines and cultures in India, is mind boggling and delicious.

  4. If only this wonderful sounding food was gluten free safe for celiacs like me. Fried food and most breads are no-no’s. Indian food can be gluten free, of course, if made at home. Besan roti is made with gram, or chickpea flour. But the kitchen is contaminated. I feel deprived. :-((

  5. It would be nice to have a recipe, for those of us who don't live near the restaurant (or near the Punjab).

  6. A good site for Punjabi vegetarian is: https://www.spiceupthecurry.com/category/recipes-by-region/punjabi/. Note that Punjabi vegetarians are not vegans: milk is consumed in the form of yoghurt (as in Lassi, a smoothie in both sweet and savory forms) and paneer (a quick-and-easy cottage cheese). Also, they like to finish their dishes with a spoonful of clarified butter (ghee), though this is optional.

  7. @ PMN USA You are making an interesting comment about the Punjabi vegetarian diet. I wonder if the Jains also use milk product, because harvesting milk does not kill the animal. Medieval Cathars in the South of France (the last ones exterminated in a Catholic Crusade in the early 1300s) were vegetarians, but they ate fish.

  8. @Tuvw Xyz Jains do use milk products. However, they do not eat anything that grows underground, so no potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, etc., the thinking being that harvesting them by uprooting the plants could kill the insects that live underground.

  9. makin' me hungry ! this kind of ancient food - pulses and flat bread - has been enjoyed for thousands of years and if you find a place that does it right, that's a kind of heaven on earth ...

  10. @ Maya EV Washington DC What a gastronomic diversity! Road-side food for Punjabi truck drivers in California. Where are similar eateries for Mexican seasonal laborers? Those for the Chinese workers on the Transcontinental Railroad have all probably disappeared without a trace. As far as the description of the food goes, it is for those with an acquired taste.

  11. @Tuvw Xyz Bakersfield is well known for a plethora of food trucks. The Mexican seasonal workers have over 100 Mexican restaurants to choose from serving regional cuisine from every state in Mexico. One of the more popular food trucks serves potato tacos that have been praised in articles from Sacramento to San Fransisco to LA. Believe me, they are delicious and worthy of the accolades. You can Google the recipe if you are so inclined.

  12. I ahave never really had a reason to want to go to Bakersfield, but now.... I have a huge passion for street food and this stuff looks awesome.

  13. As the NYT (Tejal Rao) wrote, the Punjabi dhabas in India are located only in northern states of India only.

  14. @Mbr: Not true. They have long existed in cosmopolitan urban population centers across India. Mumbai's Guru Tegh Bahadur township has about a dozen or more dhabas within the same square-quarter-mile, and has existed since at least the 1950s. (The area is the Sikh part of Mumbai, just as Harlem was once the Black center of NYC, and is named for a 17th century Sikh guru, one of the few martyrs worldwide who died to protect people of *another* religion - Hindus. Read the Wiki article). Each dhaba owner specializes in just 1-2 items. They have an agreement: you can sit at any place and order extras from anywhere else (e.g., saag paneer and naan with your deep-fried shrimp ), and it'll be brought to you without any price markup. The ambience is bare-bones (wooden benches with tarps as improvised roofs), and if it's crowded, you'll share a bench with strangers, but the food (BYOB) is out of this world: tandoori chicken's sold by the chicken, other items are sold by the kilo (or fractions thereof), and you bring your own booze. The fairly salty conversations that you may overhear may inhibit you from taking your family or a first date there (they do takeout, however). The sit-down clientele consists of truck drivers, cabbies, and college students, including medical students and engineering students from the Indian Institute of Technology campus within a 10 mile radius (reachable by commuter train or bus).

  15. @Mbr Not true indeed. I have eaten at many a road-side Dhaba near Salem, in Tamilnadu. During our days in the dorm, we will start studying for the exams late in the evening and some 20-30 of us will walk along the highway in the middle of the night to the dhabas.

  16. @PMN GTB Nagar used to be Koliwada and the tandoori fish sold in the dhabas you reference is still called Koliwada fish. Since when did IIT folks make the trek out from Powai - Main line to Harbor line?

  17. I’ve found a reason to drive to Bakersfield!

  18. @michael h. Bakersfield has become a truly international city. Our restaurants include multiple Indian, Thai, Basque, Korean bbq and Sushi, and over 125 Mexican restaurants.

  19. @michael h: You may not need to go all the way to Bakersfield. 25 years ago, a white friend at Los Alamos National Labs told me about dhabas based at truck stops across Texas (which has a huge Punjabi Sikh population, esp. in the Houston area) and New Mexico. Sikhs apparently also have an excellent reputation as Auto/Truck mechanics, so gringo truckers eat at these places as well. Use Google to locate these places.

  20. Take our POTUS with you and maybe he can learn about ethnic diversity, hospitality, community and great food.

  21. Tejal, not fair. You have awakened all my memories of these roadside cafes from the subcontinent. The aloo-parathas, the raitas, the chaat with coriander and tamarind (imlee) chutney... name of God. Such simple fare and so scrumptiously good. And let's not forget the chai, usually called 'mixed tea'... with cardamom. I drove through Bakersfield way back in 2007 on a cross US drive. It was a desperate and lonely place. Time to pass through again and stop at Punjabi Dhaba.

  22. So I wanted Chicken Masala for my birthday and we drove all over Morgantown, WV looking for the Indian restaurant which apparently had closed. I told college roommate about this and she told me in California even truck stops had Indian food. So a few weeks later we tried again only this time we called a restaurant and got clear directions. Everything was delicious!!

  23. Wonderful piece of writing, Tejal. You managed to intersect demographic change, diversity, excellent food, and creativity all in one story. Here you have a story of an immigrant community stepping up to fill a need as the retirement wave of older white male drivers hits the trucking industry. Punjabi drivers are stepping up, and Punjabi Dhaba is there to serve them, with panache. They don't just create a food truck to serve the Punjabi drivers, they create a mini oasis in a Bakersfield parking lot so people can sit and enjoy their food in the hot central valley days. Here is as clear an example as any of immigrants enriching America. Anyone who says this diminishes us by adding to our options has to answer, How?

  24. What a delight to see this outstanding food truck given its due in the New York Times! My partner & I travelled from New Mexico to the High Sierra's just weeks ago - I was jonesing for a real Indian food savory breakfast and we found this food truck in Bakersfield and spent a sweet hour's break there in their lovely patio, with wonderful food, great hospitality and taking pictures of and with the cat mentioned in the article. The owner, Mr. Saini, came out and told us his story, from trucking to learning the arts of cooking, and the importance of using non-GMO foods for his customers' health. Lovely people, wonderful food! Get there if you can-

  25. How I miss those wonderful rotis a former coworker from Trinidad brought me from her Indian neighbors in Brooklyn! There are some good Indian/Pakistani restaurants in Palm Beach County but I have yet to find a roti to compare to the Trinidadian ones.

  26. Great food, but why serve it in environmentally destructive styrofoam containers? There are so many to-go alternatives. Using styrofoam for anything except cushioning of extremely fragile, expensive wares should be made illegal. California’s legislature should act on this.

  27. @voltairesmistress What a killjoy. Go pick a battle with McDs and other purveyors of fast foods than pick on this small dhaba. And if styrofoam is destructive why should an allowance be made for its use to cushion fragile and expensive wares? Maybe because you use it? Reeks of hypocrisy and a different version of NIMBYism.

  28. I am not sure anything but hand works as environmentally friendly in any sense quite like our ancestors 5k ago did in the forests!

  29. @voltairesmistress This was my first thought. My second was that I was so hungry again.

  30. My people are pretty much salt of the earth kind. We like our food earthy, enjoy and share with others. One of the tenets of Sikhism is "Wand Chaccho", which literally means distribute and eat. The joy of a Dhaba is to enjoy simple delicious food with company. As they say in high-class British Aristocratic Society,"it's not the vintage that counts, it's the company".

  31. So wonderful. I remember the dhabas on the road between Delhi and Amritsar on the GT. And miss the food so much!

  32. Wonderfully written. You can almost feel the cool breeze of the shaded area away from the Bakersfield dust as a steaming paratha awaits.

  33. Delicious article. It made my mind wander back to my late teen years when my team mates and I would stop by at a Dhaba after our cricket games back in Bangalore, India. The Dhaba food can be the least expensive and yet the most delicious food one can ever eat. Shall we say that we need more Punjabi food trucks spread all over the US.

  34. Oh good. I had heard of such places reading travel guides but have never been to one. I'll have to stop by when I'm in the area. I have been blessed in the past with homemade Indian food by friends and colleagues so always enjoy visiting these mom-and-pop joints. (The couple may want to think about expansion plans given this article is in the NY Times and I suspect their customer numbers will rise.)

  35. There is a Punjabi Dhaba in Hammond, Louisiana that opened in the past year or so. It’s located in a gas station by the interstate, near some truck stops.It’s set up as a buffet, and there are tables with real (not disposable) cups and utensils. A server comes around and refills drinks. All while surrounded by typical shelves of gas station wares. They also have a menu, but I’ve never ordered off of it. The food is absolutely delicious!

  36. @Yvonne Miller Nixon In Indianapolis, north of one of the country's busiest truck-service areas (where I-465 crosses H-37, or 6 o'clock on the interstate clock around Indy), is Indian & American Restaurant. It's set away from the road, in a modest, long-slung building that I never would have thought offered the best Indian deserts & snacks in town were it not for coverage in the LA Times.

  37. @elizp Yes, I was going to mention the LATimes story on the Indian cross-country drivers and the truck stops that have opened or switched cuisine to serve them. It was a fascinating read.

  38. Indian food at a truck stop on Interstate 80 in the middle of Nebraska: Taste of India, Overton, Nebraska. We are everywhere.

  39. God, Tejal, you went and did it. Made my mouth water and my mind wander back to memories of superb Punjabi food at roadside dhabas in India. Thanks a lot! :) The next time this East Coaster visits California -- not before next summer -- a special trip to Bakersfield is in order.

  40. Oh my goodness, I read this while I was eating lunch, and it STILL made me hungry! Everything sounds delicious!

  41. I want tandoori roti and daal ( lentils/beans ) or Cholay ( chick-peas curry ) and bhaturay ( fried butter-milk bread ) , available everywhere !! Healthy, whole-some food.

  42. Delicious, yes; wholesome, perhaps, depending on your definition of the term; but certainly not healthy.

  43. @IdoltrousInfidel -- OK, bhaturay may not be in the "healthy" category as a regular thing (although I would eat the heck out of it right now if I had some), but choli, roti and daal are all excellent choices.

  44. @SParker Lots of Indian (and Sri Lankan) food is really healthy - and for people who have to watch their salt and fat intake, it can easily be made even healthier. No reason to dump on somebody else's cuisine because you don't think it's "healthy."

  45. This could only be a step in the right direction for Bakersfield!

  46. California has long been the site of beyond-delicious and very authentic ethnic food that is known to locals and the community it serves. I had the single best Mexican meal of my life in Salinas, 32 years ago, during a two-hour layover in a bus ride that I was forced to take because I lost my driver's license the day before my vacation and could not rent a car. (You could still board a plane without one back then.) I had a beef burrito lunch in a storefront restaurant where I was one of the few Anglos dining, and the bill was $2.50. It was beyond delicious.

  47. Reminds me of delicious food when I travelled the Grand Trunk Road 50 years ago. Dhabas with naan fresh from the tandoor, goat curry, yogurt made from fresh buffalo milk, and special chai in terrcotta cups. mmmmmm Many thanks for the memories, Tejal Rao If travellers can't find a dbaba, try Moti Mahal or the Oberoi.

  48. @David Andrew Henry: Why would you do this to me Sunday morning? Just the remembrance made me sad and hungry at the same time. Oh, those goat meat curry, naans from tandoor, tandoori chicken, chana masala, aloo paratha... my goodness! Miss everything so much.

  49. Mouthwatering article. Punjabi Dhabas are very popular in India and Pakistan, rightly mentioned in the article. The food is generally spicy and oily in India in order to have a better taste. In countries like America, U.K and Canada, perhaps they reduce the quantity of spices and oil if not butter. An occasional food like this is very good for the point of variety and yummy but not meant for daily consumption.

  50. Another reason not to fear immigrants because they add to the cultural landscape of America. First, who would have known of Punjabi truckers filling the much needed jobs in trucking but it is inevitable that ethnic food would follow.

  51. @GEO2SFO You're right: there is so much to take from this article besides just the food. Immigrants bring so much to our lives.

  52. Now you have me contemplating a trip into Chicago to Devon avenue (pronounced De VON in the Chicago area) to find a Pakistani restaurant.

  53. The food looks delicious, wish we had one of those food trucks here!

  54. I just had a lousy lunch - a salad. My mouth is watering after looking at these beautiful pictures and reading the article. Can I get an order of 3 parathas, chicken, veggies, samosa chaat, followed by chai?

  55. @AIM Sure but I think my order is the next one up. In case they run out, I would be happy to share. I am so hungry right now . . . I could eat the computer screen.

  56. @AIM Sure! will arrive in the next truck from California ;-)

  57. Great story.

  58. I learned to love Indian food in London. I mean love it. So please, when you write an article like this, lighten up on the detailed descriptions of this glorious food and less photos. I almost started to lick my computer screen, which would be embarrassing in my office.

  59. @T Mo Gotta say, Indian food in London is even better than Indian food in India. I do miss it.

  60. @Jack Lee As an Indian, this is so true. I've had the best food in London.

  61. I regret that I did not read the article (but will soon) - I was dismayed by the styrofoam contained and plastic containers, so evident in the photographs. It's how things are, but it's all downhill from here (planet-wise).

  62. @Yhr080c Agreed!

  63. This is what makes America Great, yesterday’s Mexican food truck is today’s Punjabi food truck. Find a need and fill it. Our politicians may not be moving forward but our adventures in food are boundless.

  64. So pleased to have them as part of California! Yuba City has an annual festival (sponsored by Sikhs) that is a non-stop feast. If anything could be a worthy competitor to the taco trucks, it would be these.

  65. The next time I'm passing through Bakersfield on my way to Delano, I'm going to seek out this food truck.

  66. I LOVE Indian food. Wish I was there.

  67. Thank you. It was nice reading this. Growing up in India, I've eaten at a few dhabas and the food is at its hearty, traditional best. Though I don't know if my immune system will stand it if I eat there anymore.

  68. I stopped here on the way from LA to Fresno (I think it was). The food is really good! Especially the butter chicken. Which is funny to me, because the owner was telling me how him and his family are vegetarian.

  69. I’m looking forward to eating at a California Shaba. I remember stopping at some while in northern India in 1996 for good food and real masala chai. I also remember that instead of tables and chairs there was a row of string cots in front of the building where truckers could sleep after eating.

  70. Dang - that food looks GREAT! Fantastic article.

  71. This is just a great piece of journalism, an eyeopening piece at a fascinating subject that sheds light not only on food but on the changing nature of our society. Good looking out, NYTimes!

  72. Well stated. I agree.

  73. The joy of living in California includes great World cuisine. Punjabi food is a perfect fit for our state. The ingredients are grown here. We like things spicy. We like a cultural mix. Humus on tacos is a thing.

  74. This is so close to my heart...eating at places in nyc where the taxi drivers go. Big smiles, big hearts from chefs...Nothing, nothing compares to a good paratha served hot with buttermilk, pickles!

  75. Indian food is my all-time favorite, especially spicy. The timing of the piece is funny because, no kidding, tonight we're having home-made Chicken Tikka Masala with garlic na'an. Next time I'm in Bakersfield I'll have to check this place out. Now my mouth is watering!

  76. @Mark McIntyre Chicken tikka masala is a British invention, just like curry powder!

  77. Wow! Sure wish we had some of these places. I love Punjabi food! We do have Indian restaurants with some of these dishes, thankfully! I've lived in India so I know how deelish this food can be and have enjoyed it for years! Viva dhabas!!! Thankfully there are lots of Punjabi in the D.C. Area so their (and MY) tastes are well covered!

  78. There is a very good one a bit closer to NYC in Hershey, PA. Its called "My Taste of India" and its tethered to a gas station and convenience store off of a major truck route. The food is amazing.

  79. A great reason to go to Bakersfield. At least a reason to stop there. normally i would drive thru. love california. proud of the diversity.

  80. Tomato, potato, and green chile. All plant domesticated in the Western Hemisphere millennia ago but essential ingredients of Punjabi cuisine. Globalization started long before the 21st century. To the benefit of us all.

  81. Oh, so THIS is why there is a very authentic-looking Indian restaurant off I-5 in Buttonwillow, of all places! I wonder about that every time I make the drive - it's not the same place mentioned in the article, but it's clearly there for the same reason.

  82. YES! There is a super, super dhabha in a tiny Texas town just off one of the east-west interstates. It is so, so good, and walking in the door makes me feel like I'm at home. Superb food, great roti, great lassi, and an extensive selection of subcontinental snacks (think Deep, pistachio cookies, and other delicacies).

  83. @Mathilda I think that's the Punjabi Dhaba in Vega, TX on I-40.

  84. I love Indian food and got married into the culture, however the use of single-use disposable fast-food containers is a scourge. The critic would do well to give demerits in response to these practices.

  85. Despite Bakersiled being Kevin McCarthy's hometown, I am going through there next week and intend on stopping at a dhabi. I remember these places while traveling across India and Pakistan on public buses in the late 1970's. The fiery hot curries, parathas, and scalding , sweet milky chai to wash it all down with simply unforgettable. I cannot wait !

  86. @Jerry Howe Some of us who live in Bakersfield aren't happy about it being Kevin McCarthy's hometown. It's my hometown, too, and despite the unflattering, stereotype-filled articles that the LA Times runs periodically, it has its charms and advantages.

  87. A "luxurious break" indeed ! What a beautiful, down-home spot, and what a terrific piece of writing ! I'm a goodly ways from Bakersfield, (and I sure love the Music that got started there), but if I'm ever in the neighborhood - I'm definitely going to stop on by. I'm hungry already. Bravo, Punjabi Dhaba ! Well done !!

  88. Since this wonderful article is written in the NEW YORK Times, how about telling us New Yorkers where we can enjoy this delicious food in our city? Manhattan, perhaps?

  89. Try Dhaba on Lex and 27th

  90. While I love Dhaba food, and welcome this food news. But, reading through the article and the impending shortage of truck drivers, brings to me to a related concern around new and recent immigrants taking to this much required role, in any economy. In a recent tragic accident in Northern Saskatchewan, involving a bus full of junior hockey players and a transport truck, driven by a recent immigrant driver, driving after poor training and supervision by super keen truck owners, brings to the forefront, the need for proper training and accreditation , by the authorities, of new drivers to their role in driving HGV’s in North American settings.

  91. Recipes! We want recipes!

  92. Please come to New York City---around The City College area---and I will happily fatten at your table!

  93. Vox did a video piece on Indian truckers. Truckers invest a lot of effort and paint in beautifying their trucker with gaudy reds, yellows, greens and gold.

  94. After Pete Wells's review of a hot pot restaurant — grim reading for vegetarians — this article really whetted my appetite (and made me wish I had a Punjabi-run food truck close to where i live).

  95. Mirroring other comments, if Punjabi Dhaba reads this can you please stop using styrofoam plates and cups with plastic spoons? No dhaba in India uses plastic, they mostly use stainless steel for everything. I’m sure it’s not a good idea to serve burning hot food on what is essentially soft plastic. All kinds of chemicals leach into food in this situation.

  96. @Dannyritz we have a local restaurant by the same name that uses the tin trays. The problem with them when working out of a food truck is that they need to be washed according to strict standards of hygiene. Food trucks lack the water and space to do that. They could, theoretically, be collected and washed off site each day, but that would be an immense hassle for such a small operation.

  97. How about using paper plates if washing reusable plates is a hassle?

  98. Nice to see limited menu fresh food places ..... i am not so fond of chains that serve up microwave frozen foods. Punjabis are very entrepreneurial and hardworking as this article shows. And successful small business owners. Especially family style businesses. A real asset wherever they are

  99. Looks pretty dang good but still not worth a trip to central California. At least not in the summer.

  100. Thanks for publishing this article! Next time I'm driving north on the 5 I'll be sure to stop at this restaurant.

  101. I stopped at Punjabi Dhaba on the way to Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP from LA and yes it was as wonderful as the article suggests. A must stop if you are driving through Bakersfield. I just wish we had more of these here in KY.

  102. Yum! We have one Thai restaurant and several Chinese. Wish our mainly white population could access food like this instead of Chik-fil-a and McDonalds.

  103. This is against my religion but Dosa Royale in Fort Greene is superb. Can anyone get them to reveal their recipes?

  104. If we ate more of each others cuisine, the world would be a happier place. India is masterful in taking simple ingredients and turning them into feasts. Thanks for this wonderful article.

  105. I loved this article. I've read and reread and am almost ready for a trip to the Bakes. Almost. Great writing and a wonderful article. Thank you

  106. Another wonderful article from Ms. Rao. "Immigrants-- they get the job done!" And deliciously, too.

  107. Excellent article. The article keeps referring to instances of such dhabas in India and Pakistan. I’m curious, is the author writing on the basis of first hand experience of visiting them in Pakistan or just to look “balanced”?

  108. What does it matter? Do you know how hard it is for Indians to get visas to visit Pakistan and for Pakistanis to visit India? Even naturalized citizens of other countries who were born in India or Pakistan have an extremely tough time getting visas. Luckily, that Punjabi dhabas exist in both countries and serve similar food is common knowledge. Punjab exists in both countries.

  109. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make by calling out the author for listing both "India and Pakistan." Given the region of Pubjab spans both countries, he is factually correct. If you've ever visited the city of Lahore then you would know they indeed have dhabas available.

  110. @TV Mohini I have visited ones in Pakistan starting from Karachi Sindh, all the way up to Peshawar, (use to be NWFP). They call them khokhas, Chai khanas, there are other phrases used as well... but no one called them dhabas in Pakistan. Food changes as well, in lower Pakistan it was cholay, daal, vegetables, naan/roti, and parathas. Further North, Pathans, and Northern Punjabis would always have meat dishes, tikkas, balti-gosht (chicken karahi) etc. All yum. Depended on your budget. These places mostly cater to bus drivers, blue-collar labourers, and people driving through. Before the main highway network, there was the G.T Road (old Grand Trunk Road), and it was dotted with such places. But the tradition holds still. The food was always good. The funny thing was the songs being played on the radio at every place changed as you moved from one area to another. Pushtu songs were robust but I didn't understand a word. Sindhi songs were mellow and lyrical. And Punjabi songs, you wanted to do the bhangra while eating. Good times.

  111. Used to be Zingo's was the must stop on the way through the Central Valley. Times are a-changin'.

  112. Multi-ethnic and fusion-food food truck throwdowns are a big thing in Central California.

  113. You have forced me to stop in Bakersfield. This borders on criminality. It sounds so GOOD!

  114. I live an hour up the mountains from Bakersfield and love trying their diverse food on my monthly Bako errands runs, definitely trying this place next, thanks!

  115. Finally! The Dhaba gets a NYT article! Now to expand the palate...for the follow up article, let’s cover something called the Indian Dhaba, that accounts for the multitude of flavors and variations in Indian food all across India

  116. I was telling my husband today that if I was to open an Indian restaurant its menu would be simple just like we cook at home. No naan, only roti and paratha for bread. Curries would be simple and not creamy (healthier). I don’t know if there would be demand from non-Indian population.

  117. @PK huge demand, although I am Punjabi-American. I feed my non-Indian friends stuffed parathas and gobi aloo that is not dipped in butter and they love it. Also, with the mainstreaming of vegetarianism and vegan lifestyle Punjabi food as lots to offer. You will definitely have to present the food using instagram or other social media. Explain it to the larger audience. But it would definitely work. I hate going to indian restaurants here in ATL, because they just aren't healthy at all.

  118. Parathas are amazing! I would eat one everyday for breakfast if I could. Sign me up!

  119. Flavors of India, 16th Street and Campbell in Phoenix, is superb, especially the lunch buffet!!

  120. I hate Bakersfield. Now you are forcing me to make a stop.

  121. @ltf Your comment made me laugh. I had to make a stop in Bakersfield on a long-ago trip but there was a starkness, despite people being around, that an odd empty, inhuman quality... I almost ran from it. I can just imagine how the drivers must feel to have this dhaba available... an oasis amidst a desert.

  122. I need a truck stop like this in South Jersey.........and I'm not even a trucker, or from Punjab! It sounds delicious! JimF from Sewell NJ

  123. Yummy. wish my tummy could handle the spices. The joy of immigrants comes to mind.

  124. Excellent article, Ms. Rao. Brings back lots of memories back in the days when I was in India. Although I am not a Punjabi, but their food, ambiance, friendliness and love to feed anyone is beyond anything you could ever imagine. Quite a few articles on Dhabas and Shikh drivers are being written, recently. I read another article published in the LA Times few weeks ago. This is really good journalism! Keep up the good work. https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-col1-sayre-oklahoma-sikhs-20190627-story.html

  125. Lovely article, thank you.

  126. I just love this story! So illustrative of the good in our country of immigrants. I hope to visit this truck stop some day!

  127. @SK God, I loved it too!! Real people, doing real things, good people, this is what America is. I see it everywhere. In my daily life I see great Americans of all races and nationalities going about their lives harmoniously. But I go online and see just the opposite. More articles like this please.

  128. @SK- my mouth is watering reading this story. Can't wait to go there!

  129. This article made me hungry and aroused fond memories from 20 years ao. I survived a camping trip into rural hinterlands of India by eating at the ill lit and shady looking Punjabi dhabas alongside the road. The food was fresh, clean, very cheap, hot and always served with love and without judgement. Everyone was friendly. I did not get sick once. I have gotten sick more times eating in the fancier and overpriced places though.

  130. Great article; I’m definitely stopping by next time I’m in Bakersfield...

  131. I like to read a comments section that’s so positive. Food can bring out the best in people. I am tempted to stop by Bakersfield next time I’m in the Valley. I love authentic Punjabi food.

  132. Went back yesterday on 3/24 and got delicious roti, chaat samosa, and a paneer dish. Just for me. So so good! Will have to return for butter chicken and tikka masala, which I was told they will have Friday and Saturday. What was delightful about this place is meeting and talking to people who are on their way somewhere through Bakersfield and stopping here because of this article or were recommended by people who’d read the article. The nice couple from Sonoma I chatted with on this visit was on their way to the Mojave desert in their Airstream. Their son, whom the dad said must’ve read about this place in NYT, told them to stop here. I myself live in Oakland, in town for work, had to make a point to drive 20 min from my hotel to get this food. Remarkable for me since I adore Mexican food and can’t get enough of and could’ve been to any one of the many great Mexican places within minutes from my hotel. I got the best of both worlds when after I got my Indian food from Punjabi Dhaba to go, stopped at Tacos Jalisco just yards away for some extremely delicious tacos al pastor and carne asada. Well worth the drive!