While Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is my least favorite film of the Indiana Jones trilogy (or second-to-least favorite if you count the fourth installment), it is definitively the most appropriate choice for food & a film, and while I would like to get around to featuring the other two films at some point, it seemed fitting to start with the one containing an iconic, yet unsettling food scene.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, set in 1935, opens in Shanghai, China at Club Obi Wan, an establishment owned by Lao Che, offering fine dining & extravagant entertainment. During his night out at Club Obi Wan, Indiana Jones drinks a poisonous cocktail and later throws a flaming kabob into the stomach of one of Lao Che’s henchmen.
Following his close brush with death in Shanghai, Indiana, accompanied by Willie Scott and Short Round, ends up in Mayapore, a village in northern India. Shortly after their arrival, the trio is presented with bowls of food from the Mayapore villagers.
The trio then departs Mayapore for Pankot Palace (100 miles northeast of Delhi), and upon arrival, attends a lavish banquet hosted by the young Maharaja, Salim Sing.
The banquet attendees feast on such disturbing delicacies as “snake surprise,” beetles, eyeball soup, and chilled monkey brains for dessert.
In addition to this banquet scene, other food moments throughout the film include a fruit bowl (containing green apples, mango and grapes) that Indiana brings Willie, Short Round thinking the crunching sound is the result of fortune cookies (and not bugs) being squished beneath his feet, and Indiana being forced to drink another poisonous concoction, this time from a human skull instead of an elegant cocktail coupe.
While there are several food moments to choose from when crafting a menu inspired by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, undoubtedly the quintessential food moment in the film is the lavish banquet sequence, particularly since this scene is one of the most recognizable food scenes in cinema. However, instead of recreating the unappetizing and problematic menu from the film, I decided that I would try to create a meal consisting of traditional Indian foods including lasooni gobi, navratan korma, basmati rice & daal, vegan tikka masala, vegetable biryani with dumplings, naan, and a mango lassi.
One of the many wonderful things about Indian cuisine is that it is incredibly vegan-friendly so I did not have to get too creative when veganizing the menu. Also, since this meal consisted of so many components, some of which take a very long time to prepare, I decided to choose a few components to make from scratch (the lasooni gobi, naan, and mango lassi), and pair them with a few prepared components (the vegetable korma, vegan tikka masala, and vegetable biryani with dumplings). Finally, for the table setting, all of the items, including the fabric for the tablecloth, were made in India and sourced from eBay or Etsy.
Thanks for tuning in for this latest installment of food & a film. Until next time!