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HUDS Celebrates Diwali with Indian Cuisine

Students in dining halls across campus could celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, with butter chicken, tandoori chicken, and vegetable coconut curry on Monday evening.
Students in dining halls across campus could celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, with butter chicken, tandoori chicken, and vegetable coconut curry on Monday evening. By Jennifer Y Yao
By Raghu Dhara, Contributing Writer

To celebrate the ancient Hindu festival of Diwali, Harvard University Dining Services served students an array of Indian food for dinner Monday—a twist on standard dining options in honor of the "festival of lights."

Christian J. Floyd ’18 said that the food was a “nice change of pace from the normal Annenberg fare.”

In collaboration with Monsoon Kitchens, a local Indian restaurant, HUDS offered a menu which included classic dishes such as a rice cake named idli, lentil-based dal makhani, tandoori salmon, and butter chicken.

“We've had Diwali [dinners] periodically over the last several years,” said Crista Martin, HUDS director for marketing and communications. “Indian food has been a rising food trend, so it originally came to our menus some years ago at student request, and it remains some of our most popular menu items.”

According to Martin, the food was cooked by the dining hall staff. She said her favorite part of the tradition is helping students celebrate the many cultures on campus.

Students gave the culinary experiment mostly positive reviews; in particular, many were fond of papadum, a thin, crisp disc of oil-fried flour and rice.

Kimberley Yu ’17 of Adams House said that she appreciated that HUDS was serving international cuisines.

“I really like Indian food in general, so it is nice to see that [HUDS] is trying out diverse cuisines,” agreed Michelle A. Chang ’15 of Dunster House.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Currier resident Joyce C. Zhou ’17. “I really enjoyed the dinner.”

Both Yu and Zhou said they loved the “thin, flat thing.” They were not alone.

“The food was great. I especially liked the thin, round rice cakes,” said Emma R. Payne ’16 of Dunster House.

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Diwali in the Dining Halls