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Food & Dining: Why Didn’t I Know About Dosa Day?

By Sucheta Rawal Email By Sucheta Rawal
April 2024
Food & Dining: Why Didn’t I Know About Dosa Day?

Or Samosa Day? Chai Day? National Curry Week? A short primer on how we can be ambassadors of desi delicacies in the U.S.

 [Left] National Dosa Day: March 3.

I am guilty of waiting in line for a free Krispy Kreme doughnut on National Doughnut Day. My personal favorite is the original glazed, always served hot. Free makes it just that much more golden! I have also made an intentional stop at Marble Slab Creamery for a free scoop of ice cream on National Ice Cream Day. And I confess to craving for a cocktail on National Margarita Day and eating at a Mexican restaurant on Cinco De Mayo.


(Photo cookschool.org).

Food_5_04_24.jpgHave you noticed that marketing campaigns revolving around food have exploded to bring about not only awareness of those dishes and the restaurants that serve them, but also a sense of fun and excitement? Television advertisements, social media messages, and promotions entice you into establishments that you may otherwise not frequent. If you are a fan of classic American fare, participating IHOP and Denny’s locations give a free stack of pancakes all day long in honor of National Pancake Day on February 13.

So why has Indian food been left out of these celebrations in the U.S.?​

[Right] National Samosa Day: September 5. 


It is good to know that such initiatives have already taken root elsewhere. In 2013, the British Council established September 5 as World Samosa Day acknowledging the cultural and culinary significance of the ever-popular crisp savory snack. Also in the U.K., there’s an entire week in October dedicated to curry. Founded in 1998, National Curry Week is celebrated to honor the country’s favorite cuisine to raise money for charity and to recognize the rising Indian restaurant industry in England.

[Left] National Idli Day: March 30.



National Chai Day: September 21.

Food_2_04_24.jpgMarch 30 is now World Idli Day, thanks to the initiative of an idli-only caterer in Chennai, famous for creating 1328 varieties of these steamed, fluffy rice and lentil cakes. Earlier in the month, March 3, is World Dosa Day. National Mango Day on July 22 is a sweet day to enjoy the juicy, fragrant, and tropical fruit that is synonymous with monsoons in India. Mango festivals are celebrated not just in India, but everywhere from Taiwan and the Philippines to Florida and the Caribbean islands. Need another reason to sip a cup of masala tea? September 21 is officially India’s National Chai Day.

[Right] National Mango Day: July 22.

Even regional delicacies are getting in the act. Momos, the delightful meat and vegetable stuffed dumplings, a specialty of many northeastern regions of the subcontinent, also have their day on August 10. From Kathmandu to New York City, fans stuff themselves with momos of every shape and size on National Momo Day. The state of Gujarat in western India named a day after undhiyu, a regional dish, as National Undhiyu Day. This Surat-special vegetarian stew (similar to the French ratatouille) is cooked underground and upside down in earthen pots and is often served with poori.

Food_3_04_24.jpgSo many Indian food days have already been established but have yet to gain recognition, let alone momentum, in the U.S. We can change that!

If you are wondering how some of these random food holidays come into existence, typically it involves lobbying in the government corridors by independent organizations. So, if you want to see your favorite food on the calendar, get out and tell everyone about it! To be a National Day of something, the holiday should be celebrated by a significant number of people. Many such food days have gained traction through social media campaigns that went viral. Share photos of your favorite Indian dishes using hashtags such as #NationalChaiDay, #MangoFestival, etc.

[Left] National Momo Day: August 10.


Host an event or contest entirely around the dish. Bring the community together with food demonstrations, cooking contests, sampling stations, music, dance, and prizes. A mango event organized by the Tamil diaspora in San Francisco generated overwhelming buzz on their Facebook page within 48 hours. At the Nevis Mango Festival, the entire island comes together for stone throwing, mango eating, cocktail-making competitions, as well as mango-themed dinners.

Food_7_04_24.jpgIndian restaurant owners can take cues from doughnut chains and ice cream chains and offer free mango lassi on its day, for example. Food manufacturing companies can also hold contests on their social media pages. KIND, the breakfast bar and granola company, gives out a year’s supply of frozen bars to winners on National Ice Cream Day.

[Right] National Undhiyu Day: January 14.

Food is central to all celebrations and these celebrations are about food! Mark the occasion by cooking, learning, or going out for the dish. Get together with your desi and non-desi friends to talk about the importance of the dish in history, how it came to evolve as we know it today and compare your recipes.

Sucheta Rawal is an award-winning food and travel writer who has traveled to over 100 countries across seven continents, experiencing the world through her palate. She has been named one of the most influential cultural bloggers in the world for her blog Go Eat Give. Find her on social @SuchetaRawal.


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