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Can a DC Indian Restaurant Get Americans to Embrace the Tiffin? - Source Washingtonian

Posted on May 24,2018
Filed Under Food And Wine , Local Tastes,
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Source Washingtonian

BY VITTORIA ELLIOTT

WASHINGTON, DC. - For about three months last fall, the Dupont Circle Indian restaurant Pansaari tried delivering food to customers via Uber Eats. But the homestyle cooking, where a single meal might involve rice, a curry, several side dishes, a dessert, and a myriad of sauces—all of which are not necessarily meant to be mixed together—required six containers for a single order. “I couldn’t sleep with my conscience at night, knowing that all that plastic would be thrown away,” says chef Rano Singh.

So Singh and Pansaari then-co-owner Ashwin Mutthiah turned to containers that are an everyday vessel in India, if an uncommon sight in the US: the stacking metal containers known as tiffins. In Mumbai, deliverymen in white hats called dabbawallahs zip around the city on bicycles to deliver more than 200,000 tiffins filled with home-cooked meals to schools and office buildings each day. Each tier of the tiffin holds a different part of the meal—rice, vegetables, protein, sometimes extras like little pickles—that can be put together however you see fit.

In March, Pansaari launched a tiffin service, which was initially available only to a small group of beta-testers but is now open to anyone who wants to try it. Customers select the type of meals they want online (meat or two types of vegetarian) and the frequency with which they want to pick it up (four, eight, or 12 times a month). The food is made fresh and ready for pick-up during lunch and dinner hours.

Source Washingtonian



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