April 12, 2024

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Travel to the diverse culinary world of South Asia at Taj India – InForum

4 min read

The farther north you travel in the enormously diverse world of South Asian cuisine, the closer you will get to the menu at Taj India in south Fargo. The restaurant offers Indian cuisine that is reasonably priced and above all, fresh and hot. It reminds me that as far away as I am from South Asia — Taj India is a window onto another culinary experience.

We are fortunate to have a number of options for South Asian food in Fargo. You can find dishes from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bhutan. Because there is a regional approach to cooking — whether it be method or ingredients — India is home to dozens of unique cuisines, yet “Indian food” has become a catchall for the diverse culinary traditions of such a vast place.

Taj India operates from a strip mall space in South Fargo that was once a Five Guys. Red-and-white checked tile line the walls of this small diner, where you can get an iconic dish that gives you a taste of what the traditions of Northern Indian cuisine consist of: pandi chaat, the Asian street food that blends the crunch of deep-fried chips, the soft sweetness of yogurt, the smooth taste of caramel mixed with the tang of lemon from tamarind and the familiar coolness of mint.

This should be your first dish from Taj India and an experience you’ll share with hundreds of millions of people who know this dish like Americans know French fries and ketchup. It’s that quintessential. A plate ($9.99) is large enough for a few people to share as an appetizer, and it’s a good introduction to Indian food in general.

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Niter Singh brings Ray Chadwell his lunch order at Taj India Restaurant in south Fargo on March 15, 2024.

Chris Flynn / The Forum

Admittedly, there is only so much you can do with a strip mall location that used to be a fast food joint, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s spotlessly clean, bright, and the traditional music of India, mixed with a little pop and a bit of Bollywood, sets the scene well enough.

My go-to Indian dish is lamb saag ($17.99) which is made of creamed leafy greens and slow cooked lamb. The version on the menu called palak (the Hindi word for spinach) is generally made with that leafy green alone. Almost all the dishes at Taj India can be served with several levels of spice, but this dish, with the mild flavors of lamb and spinach, does better with less heat.

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The lamb palak, from the menu at Taj India in south Fargo.

Eric Daeuber / Contributed

You can cut loose on the hard-to-pin-down Taj Special Curry — the ingredients of which are kept under wraps. That said, the flavors of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garlic seem to all be there. The chicken version ($18.99) will give you all those flavors and a healthy serving of chicken.

In both these dishes, meat takes center stage, but there are a good many vegetarian options on the menu and many can be made diary free.

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Taj Special Curry, from the menu at Taj India.

Eric Daeuber / Contributed

While “made-from-scratch” often comes with an asterisk that exclude sides like bread and dessert, dishes at Taj India really do feel fresh. And they come out of the kitchen hot with nary a heat lamp to be seen. If such lamps do exist in the back, our dishes didn’t sit there for very long.

And a testimony to the promise that everything is made from scratch is found in the garlic naan ($3.99) baked in an on-site tandoori oven from dough kneaded also on site, and the mango ice cream ($6.99) churned in the kitchen.

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Garlic naan, cooked in an on-site tandori oven at Taj India.

Eric Daeuber / Contributed

You place your order at the counter and your food is brought to your table. Service is pleasant and our server, Niter, the same guy at the counter and, later, at our table, was charming, helpful, knew the menu well, and made good recommendations.

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Mango ice cream from Taj India.

Eric Daeuber / Contributed

Indian food travels well, so pickup and Grubhub are options that don’t take much away from the food. But you might miss out on some pleasant conversation.

2877 45th Street South
Fargo, North Dakota 58104

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Taj India Restaurant, at 2877 45th St. S., is seen Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.

Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

Cuisine: American

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 11AM to 2:30PM and 4:30PM – 8:30PM; Saturday: 11AM to 8:30PM; Sunday: Noon to 8PM. Closed Tuesdays.

Phone: 701-532-0705

Reservations accepted: Yes, but not always necessary.

Alcohol: Beer and wine

Food: 3.5 stars
Service: 3 stars
Ambiance: 2.5 stars

Eric Daeuber

Eric Daueber has been reviewing the culinary arts for the Forum since 2004. A seasoned traveler, he has eaten roast suckling pig and sebadas in Sardinia, schnitzel and kaiserschmarrn in Vienna, bangers and mash in London, dumplings in Shanghai, and Peking duck in Peking, to name a few. Eric was raised in a culinary household; his father was a baker and his mother a cook who emigrated from Austria after WWII. Both grew up and worked in the heart of Austrian culinary art’s in Styria. He can be reached at [email protected].


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