Spicy, delicious, and healthy: Orchid Indian Cuisine in Gulfport

Orchid

Orchid Indian Cuisine has been around for five years, but they have just moved to a much more accessible location in the Hardy Court shopping center. The building is larger, and I am delighted to tell you that the food is as delicious as ever.

The Indian subcontinent is huge and has six diverse regions, each with its own foodways and culture, from the Himalayas in the north to the five states that make up the south. You will find food from many areas of India at Orchid, but the primary style is Mughlai cuisine. This is the food style developed in the medieval Mughal Empire and is what most Indian restaurants in the USA serve.

Mughlai cuisine is characterized by creamy sauces, lots of garlic and ginger, and ground herbs like cumin, turmeric, and mustard seed. It is famed for its spiciness, but that does not necessarily mean hot, as in cayenne hot. It means food loaded with spices you may not be used to, but you will not find them overwhelming. If you like hot, and if you think you are tough enough, order a dish from the menu and ask for it to be Indian hot, but hold on to your hat as it’s going to be a rough ride!           

The menu is loaded with spicy Indian delights, which is a good choice if you know your way around this world-famous cuisine, but I much prefer the buffet, at least at lunchtime. Make sure to order the kind of naan you want (Indian bread made in the tandoor oven to order). My favorite is garlic, but some like the sweet variety, Peshwari, and if you are a bit timid about the whole thing, you can get plain. But remember naan is used as a big spoon to scoop up your food, and please do not be timid about using it the way it was intended. It is an important part of the Indian experience.

The staff is great about helping understand the food, explaining the spicy complexities, and maybe suggesting one of the specialty drinks. Indian food is also known for being healthy and is loaded with turmeric, ginger, garlic, green chilies, all renowned for medicinal and healing properties. And if you are a big fan of veggies, you are going to love what Orchid does. The buffet is at least 75 percent vegetarian.

Get out of your food rut and give this place a try. Spicy, delicious, and healthy too!

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Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."

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