Those of us lucky enough to live near South Asian American enclaves know well the joys of the dosa, those crispy South
Indian crepes stuffed with potatoes and other deliciousness. And if you don’t,
consider "Dosa Hunt" a public service announcement, one that will simultaneously have you nodding your head and heading halfway out the door for a dosa fix.
The brainchild of Amrit Singh, executive editor of Stereogum, Dosa Hunt follows seven indie scene fixtures on their quest for the best dosa in New York City. The
group travels in style in a van decked out in green, white, and orange
streamers and disco balls, moving between restaurants and grocery stores.
The cast of Indian indie all-stars -- Das
Racist’s Himanshu Suri and Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu, Yeasayer’s Anand Wilder,
jazz pianist Vijay Iyer, and Singh -- lend their music to the onscreen adventure,
including a spin through an Indian grocery store where they argue playfully
about baby ginger. Weirdly added to the mix are Vampire Weekend’s Rostam
Batmanglij (who’s Persian) and Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo (the “Mexican
ambassador” to the group). And thank goodness they are, because the combination
of Neon Indian beats and dosas on the griddle in a New York City kitchen is
As in every quest narrative the key is in the
journey, as along the way we’re treated to dosa money shots and primers on preparation and traditional ingredients (Hint: cheese is not one
of them). Just as important, "Dosa Hunt" lets
us be one of the guys, privy to the hijinks and hilarious judgements of dosa
joints on a scale of Bobby Jindals (the less the better). Frankly, the peek at
this brotherhood might be even more appealing than the food. It’s rare to hear
indie darlings revel in their personal histories and brownness, with a chunk of
sambar-dipped dosa in their hands.
In the end, the definitive winner is the
eponymous dish, elevated to its rightful place. “Dosa is a metaphor for the
American dream,” Suri says at one point. Indeed. A tasty, sometimes spicy,
"Dosa Hunt" screens on March 21, 2013, at 6:00 pm at the Asian Art Museum, followed by a Q&A with director Amrit Singh, food, and a performance by Indian Bastards from Hell (featuring Himanshu and Dapwell of Das Racist). Get tickets here.
Check out all of Hyphen's CAAMFest 2013 reviews.