In the cafeteria of Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, Mich., a doctor walks up to the steam trays at the Cafe Spice kiosk, takes a spoon, and flicks two grains of rice pulao into his mouth. He chews for several seconds, then walks to the other side of the counter and samples another batch. After careful deliberation, the doctor forgets the rice, takes two naan breads, douses his plate with mint chutney, and sits at a table with his colleagues—doctors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. All of them have been eating curries, biryanis, and other Indian staples every day for lunch and dinner since the Cafe Spice kiosk opened here last summer.
“Before, we were eating a lot of mac and cheese,” groans Dr. Rao Mushtaq, a general practitioner originally from Pakistan. “My first year here my cholesterol shot up dangerously high,” echoes Dr. Vishwas Vaniawala, an Indian pediatrician. “Honestly, I used to skip lunches because I was sick of eating salads and sandwiches and chips.”