So many meanings assigned to one word! A tiffin is a light meal, a box to carry said light meal, even a town in Ohio! But for us it means just one thing…delicious!
The word got its start with British rule in India in the late 18th century. Common English food was not going to make it in the languid heat of the sub-continent which forced the midday meal to become lighter. There may have also been a “not-quite-tee-totaling aspect to it as the word is a combination of the slang words “tiff,” a tot of liquor, and “tiffing,” to take a sip of this liquor. Perhaps some of these lunches were of the liquid variety!
This morphed into a whole industry of people known as “wallahs” who carry “tiffins” to and from homes and offices in Bombay and Mumbai. (This next part is pasted from theguardian.com)
Every weekday without fail something rather extraordinary is to be seen around midday on the chaotic streets of Bombay (or Mumbai). This is the sight of hundreds of stainless steel tiered tiffin boxes or dhabbas piled high on handcarts and bicycles being pushed through the streets by dhoti-wearing, white-capped tiffin wallahs.
Expertly run by the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers' Association, armies of these tiffin wallahs provide the invaluable daily service of speedily delivering piping hot home-cooked lunches to more than 200,000 busy office workers.
Many workers live 50 kilometres or more from their workplace, a long commute on a packed train. There is certainly not time for the cook of the house to prepare a full meal before they leave home. So the lunch-filled tiffin boxes are picked up later in the morning, colour-coded and transported to the station, where they are collected by the tiffin wallahs, whose mission is to deliver each box to its corresponding workplace still hot from the pan – and to return the empty tiffin to the home before the end of the working day. With the essential core values of punctuality, teamwork, honesty and sincerity providing the backbone to the business, they have a staggering 99.99% success rate.
The tiffin wallahs have become so revered that they are now called on to lecture to big businesses, and have been honored guests at British royal weddings. They are considered so trustworthy that workers often place their wages inside the clean tiffin box on its return journey rather than risk carrying money on the commuter train.
It was on this model that your favorite Indian eatery got its start as an online ordering and delivery service, carrying meals to hungry Philadelphians.
Tiffin is great. Don't take our word for it, listen to customer:
Rory W. Philadelphia, PA ★★★★★
Truly one of the only places in south Philly to get authentic Indian cuisine. Indian food takes time to prepare, but Tiffin somehow balances traditional Indian cooking styles with fast service. The dining room is small and uncomplicated. It is a modern take on Indian decor. Warm colors, clean linens, and candle lit tables. In the summer there are a few tables set out on the sidewalk. There is something magical about eating al fresco on a warm summer night, and the ethnic food adds to the romance of it.
Olga M. Philadelphia, PA ★★★★★
I'm surprised they don't have better rating. My experience there was excellent in every way! I eat Indian food at least once a week and I cook it myself, I love it so much. I'm going to order delivery from Tiffin tonight! I will update my review
Lori N. Philadelphia, PA ★★★★★
Tiffin has the best Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan!!! Fresh, soft, delicious naan, dipped in the sauce. Then pour the chicken over rice and YUMMM! Everything comes piping hot for delivery. Consistent quality, every time I order the same thing for delivery and it always leaves me wanting it again! They could spare more chicken in the container....but the flavor is amazing!!!
Rach S. Philadelphia, PA ★★★★★
The food at tiffin is enough to make me give it 5 stars, I have had literal dreams about the Cauliflower Bezule. I cannot begin to describe how delicious that is. Also awesome is their ability to make dishes dairy free for us lactose intolerant friends. That being said, the real thing that has inspired me to leave this review was that recently, I had an order that came and was not only incorrect but wrongly portioned, and I was very put off by the experience, however the restaurant manager called me back at 10pm on a Monday, to personally apologize and make things right with the order. That kind of customer service was above and beyond what they needed to do, and I will definitely come back many times based on how fairly and quickly they dealt with my issues. It is almost impossible to find companies that care about you as a customer now a days, however Tiffin does and I can't thank them enough for that. (And the Cauliflower Bezule like I mentioned). Also awesome is the ambience, the south philly location is great and you can usually get seated without a wait.
Indian Food Center City Philadelphia, Queen Village Italian Market Rittenhouse Southwest Center City Fitler Square Schuylkill, Forgotten Bottom, Grays Ferry, Passyunk Square, Pennsport, Southwark, Packer Park Lower Moyamensing
location: 19123 Philadelphia
Have you ever wanted to make Indian Food at home but didn't know how? We give you step by step instructions to make Tiffin's Owner Munish Narula's own Aloo Gobhi.