A hugely popular but largely ignored cuisine is gaining traction in America

Chicken tikka indian foodShutterstockChicken tikka, a major dish of Indian cuisine.

When it comes to aromatic and flavorful food, Indian cuisine has no parallel.

So why is it so unpopular in America?

According to a recent Washington Post report, there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the nation and roughly same amount of Mexican restaurants. Yet there are only around 5,000 Indian restaurants nationwide.

Many point to the fine culinary skills needed to create quality Indian cuisine, which result in higher prices. Everyday Americans don’t expect to pay above a certain price level for food, which leaves only sub-par Indian food as an option.

And once you’ve had bad Indian food, it takes a while to want to roll the dice again.

But despite this, Indian food is making inroads in the American palate. Millennials have increasingly adventurous tastes, and Nation’s Restaurant News reports that 10% of non-Indian restaurants offer an Indian inspired item. That’s up 63% from the last nine years.

And this includes more than just upscale joints – some major chains are starting to dabble in Indian flavours.

Nation’s Restaurant News reports that Ohio-based chain Buffalo Wings and Rings recently offered a curry-rub wings option topped with Sriracha sauce that were extremely popular.

“I tried curry back in 2009 and no one bit at the time. All of a sudden this is really taking off,” says their R&D chef Elliot Jablonsky, as quoted by NRN.

IndikitchHollis Johnson/Business InsiderA rice bowl at Indikitch, a NYC-based chain.

And New York City-based Indikitch is bringing Indian cuisine to the fast-casual craze with huge success. Business Insider recently visited Indikitch, and what we found could be the answer to Indian food’s American conundrum.

Based off Chipotle’s fast-casual service model, the restaurant serves all-natural GMO-free ingredients in a scratch kitchen right in front of the customer. The first location opened in early 2014, and they have already opened another this year.

The restaurant industry is facing increased demand for fresh, quality foods with diverse and ethnic flavours – the time is right for Indian food to hit its stride.

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