The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

2024 Commencement Student Speaker: Lea Tarzy
Alexandra Slofkiss: 2024 Commencement Soloist
Outstanding Senior Award: Bernadette Maramis
Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Gloria Sporea

Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Gloria Sporea

May 10, 2024

Excellence in Athletics Award: Meghan Quinn

Excellence in Athletics Award: Meghan Quinn

May 10, 2024

Excellence in the Arts Award: Joselyn Busato

Excellence in the Arts Award: Joselyn Busato

May 10, 2024

View All

Can Bucknell do Indian food?

I’ll be honest when I say that I walked into trying Bucknell’s newest cuisine offering with extremely low expectations. The Commons has good food and all, but I just wasn’t sure how they would pull off Indian BBQ. It’s like how the burrito bowls in the Bison can’t compare to Chipotle.

I skeptically watched during the first week of classes to see how they were making the food. Choolaah seemed really half done and fast for what it was advertising. Essentially, it’s a few pre-made ingredients tossed together, but I had been hearing decent reviews.

I first got the courage to try the mango lassi, and it held up pretty well! They have them in the refrigerator section which worried me a little. I thought that the yogurt and water would separate or otherwise taste weird from sitting like that, but it was honestly pretty good. I would definitely order it again.

I also ordered the Power Bowl with chicken and black lentil daal and it tasted… good. I enjoyed eating it, but I wouldn’t say it particularly reminded me of traditional Indian food in any way. The flavors seemed muted and lacking, but it wasn’t bad. It seemed like Indian food made to cater to American tastebuds, with a purposeful lack of spice. At a school like Bucknell, that makes a lot of sense. “Your taste buds are on a leisurely cruise, not a thrill ride. It’s like the Sunday afternoon of Indian cuisine—laid-back and easygoing,” said Farhaj Shahid ’26. 

Story continues below advertisement

Let’s think about why Bucknell chose to put in Choolaah in the first place. We know that President Bravman has stated a commitment to diversity on campus, and to me it looks like this came out of ease. An easy way to make space for diversity in a predominantly white institution is to show interest in culture, and one of the easiest parts of culture to bond over is food.

We can see, however, that the menu at Choolaah is extremely limited. Because Siam briefly proved that Bucknellians would spend money on Indian food, it makes sense that Bucknell would want to capitalize on that. This did not come out of a true appreciation for the culture or importance of Indian food, and that is clear when eating it.

It is important to be honest and express how we feel about Bucknell dining with our contract with Parkhurst ending soon. Now is the time to say what we want to change with our dining options, and if students want the full Choolaah menu (including wraps and different types of bowls) or more authentic options that are not afraid to leave out those who are spice-adverse, they should speak their mind. Bucknell Dining is listening to student voices, and it is essential that we are heard.

So, can Bucknell do Indian food? I mean, kind of? It definitely doesn’t taste bad. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the Choolaah Power Bowl. The mango lassi was delicious and it was super easy to grab and go, which I really appreciated. I know I have been hearing talk about the new food all over campus, and I did get mixed feedback from fellow students when I got a bowl to-go the other day. Overall, I think Choolaah Indian BBQ is an attempt by Bucknell to be more inclusive, but in controlling the spice for American taste buds it loses its authenticity. 

(Visited 108 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The editorial board of The Bucknellian reserves the right to review all comments before they are posted on the website and remove any if deemed offensive, illegal or in bad taste. Comments left on our web pages are not necessarily in-line with the views expressed by the writer.
All The Bucknellian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *