Ganesh Temple Canteen

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82 Good

A Hindu temple in Flushing has prepared naivedyam, food offerings for their gods, since 1993. Now they serve humans, too.

45-57 Bowne St., Queens, NY, 11355


Known For

The lowdown

A mass of white-washed concrete, Ganesh Temple lies deep in residential Queens, with sculptures of the elephant-headed namesake god pointing the way to the entrance. Veer right instead, and down a flight of stairs to the cafeteria, where you’ll find the same folding tables and metal chairs that fill church basements across America. Temple volunteers staff the food counter and are more than happy to guide you through the extremely affordable South Indian menu. The masala dosa — a rice-flour-and-black-lentil crêpe stuffed with potato-onion curry — is the mildest on offer. If you’re after atomic flavor, try the pondicherry masala dosa, with potatoes, mustard seeds, cilantro, and sliced green chiles. Every dosa comes with bowls of searing coconut chutney and sambar, a fiery, tamarind-based vegetable stew that’s a mainstay in Tamil cuisine from South India to Sri Lanka. Onion-chili uttapam, also made with rice flour and lentils but with the ingredients cooked into the batter, is a greasy passport to pleasure that brings together fried onions, rosemary, green chiles, and cilantro. If the heat from your meal isn’t enough to cleanse your soul, pop into the temple bookstore and pick up lotus or jasmine flowers from India, then leave them for Ganesh, who’s known as a dispeller of problems and obstacles.

What you need to know

Insider Tips Don’t overlook the attached gift shop.

Recommended DishesMasala dosa; onion chile uttapam.

DrinksNo Alcohol

Noise LevelHushed