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Temple Canteen serves up South Indian fare in Flushing, Queens from basement of Ganesh Temple

South Indian restaurant hidden inside Hindu temple in Queens
South Indian restaurant hidden inside Hindu temple in Queens 01:38

NEW YORK - Aromas of fresh spices drift from a basement in Flushing. On the menu are dosas, mango lassi, and other South Indian fare - all vegetarian.

The kitchen is attached to the Hindu Temple Society of North America, called the Ganesh Temple for its principal deity Ganesha.

"In the community center, all the way in the basement, is the canteen, the most famous canteen. Everybody loves it," said Dr. Uma Mysorekar, president of the temple since the 1980s.

Many of the diners here are regulars.

Temple Canteen is not only a place to buy lunch; it's also where food offerings are prepared for religious ritual.

During worship, consecrated food is given in praise to a deity. All are welcome to join the services or simply eat at the canteen.

"Initially, it used to only be Indians, but now, if you go, lots of non-Indians come because, I think, food is universal," Mysorekar said.

Here, she sees a potential to break down barriers.

"Especially in New York, we have so many different faiths. And I think it is a good thing that we do have because it also increases our level of understanding each other."

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