Why are Indian pizzas different

At first you don't necessarily want to associate pizza with Indian cuisine. But the Naan flatbread, which is widespread on the subcontinent and also consists of yeast dough and is baked on the open embers in special ovens, has been around for a few centuries longer than the pizza that became a global gastronomic hit, which probably did not exist until the 18th century was invented in southern Italy. Minhas Ajit Pal Singh has a clear opinion on this: "Pizza only came from Italy, but now Indians make it all over the world."

Together with a colleague in Wörthsee, at least for the Fünfseenland, he can be considered a pioneer: his "Dießen Pizza Heimservice" has been in existence for 20 years and also offers Indian or Thai dishes and much more. At the Ammersee, the yellow or red small cars with the long-haired, bearded turban wearers at the wheel are known as colorful dogs. From spring onwards, the company, which has so far only focused on mobility, is to have a stationary pillar: the local council has selected Singh as the leaseholder of the catering trade in the Dießen train station.

In addition to a woman, three men are permanently employed in the company who belong to the Indian religious community of the Sikhs, where all men have the common surname Singh (lion) as an expression of brotherhood. Their distinguishing marks usually include the dastar, an artfully tied turban, and uncut hair. At the moment Minhas Singh - unlike his colleague Kamaljit Singh - does not correspond to this appearance. But that could change again quickly, says the managing director.

Kamaljit comes from the same village in the Indian state of Punjab that he left 23 years ago. After three years in Lower Bavaria, Minhas Singh settled in Dießen. For the company's anniversary in March, he had already thought about organizing a celebration, but nothing concrete had been planned yet.

In any case, his delivery service no longer needs advertising: "Everyone here knows us now," says Singh. Pizza is still the most popular, "a little less in summer, but we deliver more salads and drinks". And everyday business starts earlier in winter, so it is more likely that work is done. Nevertheless, they are available daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Lunch is peak time between 11.45 a.m. and 12.30 p.m., when there are usually regular customers to serve, including many in the Ammersee grammar school and the Carl Orff elementary school.

The selection is downright frighteningly large: the menu lists 63 types of pizza, each in four different sizes. There are also quite exotic combinations of toppings such as chicken and sheep's cheese, asparagus and corn, or the flavors "Giros", "Bolognese" and "Indian" with zucchini, broccoli and clover leaves. There are also around 30 pasta dishes as well as various giros or schnitzel plates, 20 dishes with a Far Eastern look and a further 20 under the heading "Indian and Mexican dishes", in which chicken or lamb play the main role. A bottle of beer for two or a bottle of vodka for 13 euros can also be ordered.

"We are all all-rounders," says Minhas Singh: Every permanent employee can take orders, cook and drive. As a boss, he now seldom delivers and can usually be found in the kitchen, where he prepares sauces and other things. Eight to nine people are employed at Singh's hourly temporary help in the delivery service.

But what can one expect in the future in the guest room of the Dießen train station: "Taj Mahal" or "La Bella Stazione", "Lotus flower" or "El Taco Loco"? "You have to look first," says Singh calmly. Jörg Lattek's café and roastery is still in the train station, so far he has only taken a quick look at his future restaurant. But if he doesn't have a concept yet, why did he lease it? He was tempted to run a restaurant, but he would also continue to run the delivery service. To do this, he would have more space available in the train station than in the current base station on Prinz-Ludwig-Strasse in Dießen.

For the 218 square meter property - the actual bar in the former waiting hall has 68 square meters of space - the municipality of Dießen, as the landlady, had been looking in vain for a tenant for years. From late autumn 2015 to the beginning of 2018 David Hauer ran his "Va bene Mercatino" there. The innkeeper took the tasteful decor with furniture made of recycled teak, oak and olive wood shelves with him.

For the time being, it remains to be seen in which interior you will dine at the Dießen train station in the future. The furnishings in the previous home pizza service also do not allow any conclusions to be drawn: an unadorned waiting room with a counter and a large drinks refrigerator, towers of pizza boxes and styrofoam containers; in front of the kitchen a social corner with wooden benches and an overloaded table. The neat ambience of the former "Va bene Mercatino" has set the bar quite high - but you have to look first.