Padma Lakshmi's Hilarious Meme Defends Indian Food

People who don't love Indian food actually exist? Apparently. Though Indian cuisine has always varied depending on the regions and cultures it originated from, modern Indian food is identified by the strong aromas and flavorful spices that are its calling cards. The delicious layering of exotic and mainstream ingredients alongside the use of taste bud-tantalizing herbs and spices have been around for over 5000 years, according to

As foreign powers and enterprising traders came and went from Southeast Asia over the last 1000 years, the tide of change was felt in this region's cuisine, per BBC. 150 years of British imperialism led to the development of what we now know as curry, which was a simple spice devised to make their colonized country's food accessible to the Brits back home (via Taste of Home). In contrast, Indian food has been slow to take off stateside. According to The Washington Post, though America boasted, pre-pandemic, over 40,000 Chinese and Mexican restaurants, we were home to only about 5000 that serve Indian cuisine. 

Despite this, reports that Indian cuisine was the fastest growing food market in 2019, even though Indian food accounts for less than 2% of the ethnic food market. Even so, many people struggle with the idea that Indian food is anything less than, well, delicious. An Indian American chef herself, Padma Lakshmi recently posted a hilarious tweet that features a look of incredulous disgust aimed at people who don't like Indian food, signaling her support of the cuisine's increasing popularity.

What's not to love?

In her recent tweet, Padma Lakshmi shared a humorous meme of herself targeted at people who don't like Indian food. But this is not the first time she's taken critics of Indian food to task. In a recent Washington Post editorial, Lakshmi responded to a journalist's critique of Indian food, saying, "On the heels of a pandemic that particularly devastated India and a cultural reckoning with racist structures in the United States, mischaracterizing and denigrating the food of 1.3 billion Indians is not a good look." Her latest meme is a lighter portrayal of the same principle. It's a cute and compelling clip that purports her distrust of those who don't love Indian food. Who are these people, anyways?

Looking at the recent history of India and the U.S., Indian immigration into America has drastically increased since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, doubling in numbers with each decade, per Saada. Also, much to the delight of foodies and fans of true flavor, the country's cuisine has apparently made the trip to the U.S. with them. Lakshmi immigrated to America after her parents split when she was two, and though she calls New York City and LA home, she stays connected to her birth country, visiting it for several months each year. The "Top Chef" host has always been an aficionado of exotic foods — like that of her native country — since breaking onto the food scene with the publication of her "Easy Exotic" cookbook in 2000. She now hosts the TV series "Taste the Nation," which explores the immigrant experience through food.