15 things every Sunderland curry lover will understand about dining out at Indian restaurants in Wearside
From the spicy stodge of an onion bhaji to the comforting feel of your favourite curry, going out for an Indian meal is one of the most popular nights out in Sunderland.
With National Curry Week taking place this month, we reflect on Indian restaurant dining in Wearside with a look at 15 things you've probably experienced or witnesses while out for a spicy supper in Sunderland.
1) Everyone has their own idea as to which Indian restaurant is the best – and are adamant in this
2) Looking through the list of starters and deciding to choose something different, then sticking with the onion bhaji anyway because they’re amazing
3) Ordering a chicken curry and being asked if you want breast meat
Have you ever been out with anyone who’s answered “no” to this? What happened?
4) Not liking the lime pickle, but trying a bit of it anyway just to remind yourself you don’t like it
(Though there is something wonderfully sadistic about its soapy, bitter taste)
5) The worry of eating more than your fair share of poppadoms – and the fear of them being taken away when your main courses come
6) The legend of the staff curry
The near-mythical real-deal dish, whispered about only in hushed tones, which is said to be served to staff at the end of the evening.
7) Being out with suspicious older relatives who only order from the “English menu” – which always features scampi, omelette, steak, prawn cocktail, chips and roast chicken
Though you are always tempted to get chips instead of rice yourself, because Indian restaurant chips are the business
8) The slightly more adventurous older relatives who will only ever have korma
Again, tempting because kormas are good too
9) The shame experienced when the waiter takes your plate away to reveal all the bits of rice and curry you’ve spilled and had hidden underneath
10) Despite their low prices, you will be treated with the highest respect, get a cloth napkin and all the trimmings, and have the door held open for you when you leave – even if you’re only picking up a takeaway
Sadly some diners occasionally don’t respond with the same level of respect after a night out drinking
11) The fellow diner who asks for something extra hot – or claims their vindaloo or phall isn’t very spicy
This is just tempting the chefs to serve you a dish which will melt your face
12) The number of different ways there are to spell dishes
Pelaw rice, anyone?
13) Ordering a naan bread that’s bigger than your head and nearly killing yourself trying to eat it all
14) Discussing the Indian restaurant scenes from Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Goodness Gracious Me and Rowan Atkinson’s sketch
These are just a bit too accurate, and show us we perhaps aren’t always the best customers
15) Being out with someone who orders off-menu – and the outcry when someone asks for something no one else ever gets
17) Never being able to finish all of your food, and the shame of it being taken away half-eaten
Or asking to take your leftovers home in a doggy bag, and being tempted to have it for breakfast the next day