Indian cuisine may be richly represented in Houston today, but it wasn't always so prevalent. The influx of South Asian immigrants in the 1970s and 80s, fueled by dreams of better career opportunities, led to a wave of restaurant openings, in the years that followed.
I moved to Houston with my family in 1986, and grew up witnessing the changes. My father's older brother, an oncologist, settled in Houston for its world-renowned medical center, and he served as a guiding light for our family. Our early years, which consisted of moving from one Alief-area apartment to the next, were humble at best. We found solace in sharing meals at Indian restaurants in neighborhoods densely populated with other South Asians. For us, and other Indian-Americans, these places were a comforting reminder that we were not alone in this big, unfamiliar city. But, for non-Indians, they were virtually unknown.