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Why We Serve Our Food On Metal Plates

After 16 months of being open, curiosity has finally gotten the better of me, and I google imaged ‘Prison Food Trays’.  The reason for this strange search, is that one too many yelp reviewers have commented that they feel like they are eating on Prison trays.  These comments have perplexed me for a while, as I have not really understood the link (thankfully having never eaten in Prison).  Now that I see the picture, I see where the connection is coming from.  Prison food is indeed served in compartmentalized trays, as is our food at Kasa.
I feel I must explain why we use these trays here at Kasa.  It is a sign of huge respect to the majority of India who eat out of these trays every single day and have done so for centuries.  Most especially the humbler economic classes.  Nowadays, of course the wealthy people tend to use porcelain plates in an attempt to mimic the west and distinguish themselves from the poor.  I also love the plates because they are extremely practical.  They never ever break and often last a household a lifetime.
Our thalis, plates and bowls are all imported (via my very interesting cousin Kiwi) from India.  I aim to be truly authentic, along with our food and serve it the way it is eaten in India for an entirely authentic experience.  I would never have guessed that it would make people feel like they were eating like prisoners, or eating in an ultra modern plate (a separate confusion).
My hope is that some of those yelpers are able to read this blog and realize (just as I have done today) that it appears that the majority of India and prisoners in the US have something in common.  They both eat out of compartmentalized trays:)  On some level, I find this discovery extremely cool.  The Thalis are a no nonsense, no frills, humble way to eat.  I’m guessing that this is the reason for the trays in prison too.  The only difference being that food outside of prison is hopefully cooked with love and care and a lot more delicious.

After 16 months of being open, curiosity finally got the better of me today and I googled ‘Prison Food Trays‘.  The reason for this strange search is that one too many yelp reviewer (5 total) has commented that they feel like they are eating on prison trays at Kasa.  These comments perplexed me for a while, as I haven’t understood the rationale (thankfully having never eaten in prison).  Post Google search, I can see where the connection is coming from.  Prison food is indeed served in compartmentalized trays, as is our food at Kasa.

Kasa Thali

Kasa Thali

Prison Tray

Prison Tray

I feel I must explain why we serve our meals on metal trays (called a ‘Thali’) here at Kasa.  We do it as an homage to the vast majority of people in India (many of humble socioeconomic status) who eat out of these trays each and every day and have done so for centuries. Nowadays, the wealthier classes in India tend to use porcelain plates in an attempt to mimic the West and distinguish themselves from the poor.  But we love the metal thalis because they are extremely durable, never break and fit our vibe of being ultra-practical.  We think they look pretty cool too…

Our thalis, plates and bowls are all imported from India with the help of my very interesting cousin Kiwi, to whom we owe many thanks as we had him searching for days on end for just the right sizes, weight, shininess, etc.

We aim to be true to the way Indians serve and eat food in their daily lives.  I would never have guessed that the plates would make people feel like they were eating like prisoners, or even eating in an ultra modern place (a separate confusion that we hear occasionally).

My hope is that some of the Yelpers commenting about prison plates are able to read this blog and realize (just as I have done today) that it appears that the majority of India and prisoners in the US have something in common.  They both eat out of compartmentalized trays  :)

On some level, I find this discovery extremely cool.  Thalis are a no-nonsense, no-frills, humble way to eat.  I’m guessing that this is the reason for the trays in prison too.  Hopefully, most of you find our actual food to be at least a cut above though…

Cousin Kiwi

Cousin Kiwi

Gujurati Thali

Gujurati Thali

South Indian Thali

South Indian Thali

North Indian Thali

North Indian Thali

12 Responses to “Why We Serve Our Food On Metal Plates”


  • Don’t forget, we eat in thalis in the Gurdwara too!

  • Loved this!

  • How enlightening!

    Complaining about a prison feel?
    How can that even come up? I’m too distracted by the deliciousness of my food.

    I’m a fan!

  • Cool blog!

    I’m a big fan of Kasa. Great-tasting kati rolls!!

  • I have wonderful memories of eating wonderful foods in India in 1969…on metal thali and on banana leaves, too. I always look forward to my meals at Kasa. Thank you!

  • Cousin Kiwi looks like he’s living the dream (Indian style).

  • There was a cartoon in the New Yorker when I was little: “A Child’s Hall of Horrors”. My parents saved it because one of the horrors was “The Plate with Different Kinds of Food Touching Each Other!”, and that was something that freaked me out! They should have gotten me a thali!

    I hope to come to your restaurant soon. It looks lovely!

  • Hi Tess

    We hope to see you in the store soon too. You may have already seen me and my daughter who is obsessed with sweets and cupcakes at Miette:)

    Anamika

  • Fantastic information in your post, I watched a report on television the other day about this same thing and since I am getting married in two weeks and the timing couldn’t have been better! thanks for the tip!, I have bookmarked, thanks Allen Musto

  • Thalis they are the wow factor, your food stays nice and hot in these plates,, and taste far better then in china plates, also not alot of washing up at the end

  • Where do you get your trays? I have been looking everywhere for steel divided plates and cannot find them… Thanks!

  • Hi Beverly

    We got our trays from India. You are able to find some at the Indian stores in Berkley. There are all kinds of quality. Generally the heavier it is, the better the quality

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