[Sunnyvale, CA] The Higher Taste, Sattvic (Yoga) food

I don’t profess to know much about the Sattvic diet because I don’t do Yoga nor have I come across this type of food while eating out around the Bay Area. This new place opened up this month and operated out of the Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir temple in Santa Clara. One wouldn’t know that it’s a temple unless looking closely, because the temple and the restaurant is located in a non-descript office building just off Tasman.

The Higher Taste serves a lunch buffet from Monday to Saturday. I don’t go to Indian buffet often, because mass-cooked buffet items usually pale compared to dishes that are cooked and portioned for a small table. But I am intrigued by the place since it serves Sattvic food, which I didn’t know anything about. So I went to find out more. The first time we showed, the place was mobbed because they were running an inaugural special of $5 buffet. The second time, weekend buffet carried the normal price-tag of $11 (Their weekday buffet is $8) and the place was a lot more relaxed.

Yoga food is vegetarian, and they divide food into 3 categories- sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. According to the literatures, sattvic are foods that are most easily digestible and should be eaten most frequently. Supposed to nourish the body and the mind. E.g. fruits, seasonal food, nuts, legumes, whole grains, etc. Rajasic are foods to be eaten in moderation. They provide extra stimulation and energy, e.g. coffee, tea, chocolate, spicy food. Tamasic are foods to be eaten sparingly because they deplete energy, e.g. meat, fish, onion, garlic, mushroom, alcohol, etc.

The food was, let’s just say, homey. Lightly seasoned, no color, tasted all natural. Dependent on the person’s viewpoint, one can either call the meal homemade-style and restrained- one feels completely comfortable afterwards with no acid reflux, water drinking, burning bowels (the whole point of the sattvic diet), etc., or bland, if one compare against fiery Indian food that isn’t sattvic, though the comparison is apple and oranges, of course. They had a cooked food area, and a salad bar. They offered Indian items, and some Indian-Chinese items. Overall the meal was ok, and totally comfortable. Often times eating out can’t be done too frequently because restaurants don’t optimize towards health, but I don’t think it’s an issue if people eat here every day. Some items they did well:

Mango lassi. Lightly sweetened and natural tasting. A favorite rendition around here.

Tava baaji (mixed vegetable with spices). I am not sure if they deep fried the dish. It was mixed with a masala. The masala was slightly hot and added a bit of excitement/ fragrance to the vegetables, without cooking the vegetables into an unrecognizable pulp.

Navaratan pulao. I don’t see pulao often in other Indian restaurants. Pulao is ingredients cooked together, versus biryani where ingredients are partially cooked separately then combined for further cooking. Theirs were lightly spiced versus typical biryanis, and contained peas, carrots. The pilaf probably could be cooked with more separations between grains, but overall a decent carb.

1233 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Since Saatvik foods don’t contain alliums (garlic, onions) did the foods taste like they were missing fundamental flavors?

For those of us who are used to eating bulbs, the food definitely tastes different because it focuses on vegetables, fruits, yogurts and lightly toasted nuts. So that aroma that comes from caramelized onions or roasted garlics is just not going to be there. The champions of the diet will probably say, instead of missing flavors, your body will be thankful.

I personally prefer dishes with bulbs, since I grew up with various types of them. But I haven’t researched into the digestibility of bulbs. So I don’t know the tradeoffs.

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