Visiting India, if you go around enough, is really like visiting 50 different countries. Even within the same state there are different languages, traditions, cultures. And that variety is apparent nowhere more than in the food. From Backawadi in Maharashtra to Butter Naan in Delhi and Rasgula in Bodh Gaya, they’re all Indian food, but they’re not the same. Going back to India I was eagerly anticipating some of my favorite Maharashtran foods. But I was disappointed to find that not only did they not have it in the places we went, but some people didn’t even know what Shrikund is! Can you imagine that? As much as I miss my good old South Indian comfort foods, I was introduced to some brand new foods to miss. A group favorite was, of course, Butter Naan. I have to admit, despite my allegiance to South Indian food, Naan beats Roti like rock beats scissor. Only instead of being hard and heavy, Naan is light and fluffy, warm and perfect. I was also introduced to a whole array of Paneers (a type of cheese with a texture somewhere between tofu and cottage cheese). My favorite is definitely Shahi Paneer, a creamy tomato-based dish from heaven. Coming home, I’ve looked for good places to get my Indian food fix, and I’ve found a few options. An Indian market here, a North Indian restaurant there, and I get excited every time. But it’s never the same. The Paneer is probably the same, but somehow it’s not quite as Paneery, and the Chai is just not nearly as Chai-y. I think the bottom line is, I miss my Indian food… in India. And no restaurant can replace that.