Tuesday, May 23, 2023

23: Dhaba

Along the highways, Indian restaurants serve America’s truckers The roadside stops, called dhabas, run by Punjabi immigrants are sprouting up to serve a growing trucker population a slice of home ........ The store is filled with Punjabi snacks, sweets, truck decorations and a restaurant, known as a dhaba, that serves fresh meals including paratha and butter chicken — a slice of South Asia in the middle of rural Texas. ........ Punjabis now make up almost 20 percent of the U.S. trucking industry ...... Punjabis are both truckers and owner-operators, running companies such as Tut Brothers out of Indiana and Khalsa Transportation out of California. They’re challenging the stereotype of the rugged White, male trucker that has long been associated with the industry. ........ For last 10 years, the Punjabi trucking industry is growing very fast and very big.” ........ The majority of dhaba customers are part of a vast network of Punjabi truckers who share the secrets of the road through WhatsApp groups and TikToks. ......... “Punjabis have done a great deal to uplift a lot of rural America. All up and down Highway 5 through California, you have dhabas, you have gurdwaras [Sikh temples],” said Nicole Ranganath, an assistant professor of Middle East and South Asia studies at the University of California at Davis. “Rural America is much more diverse than we recognize. Punjabis have contributed a huge amount to our agricultural development and economic development and cultural diversity.” ........ her parents uprooted their lives in California to move the family to Texas. “All we had was a pickup truck and our stuff, and then we came straight to Texas.” ....... Muhudin is part of a growing population of Somali truckers who also patronize the dhaba because Punjabi food has similarities to Somali food, they say. .

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