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Padma Lakshmi Talks Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition & Her Christmas Ramen Bar Tradition

Padma Lakshmi is celebrating the holidays, or rather “Challah Days” in a special way with Taste the Nation’s Holiday Edition. We sat down exclusively with Lakshmi to discuss the food, festivities and some of her favorite traditions for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Diwali and more.

In the 4-part episode holiday edition, Lakshmi learns about the Lunar New Year in Koreatown, Christmas with the Cuban community in Miami, what the original Americans, the Wapanoag Nation did for Thanksgiving in the Cape.

And we also put her taste buds to the test – sort of. We played a little Taste the Nation edition of “Would You Rather,” and put Lakshmi in tough food situations where we made her choose whether she’d like to share tacos and hot dogs with Lady Gaga, Salma Hayek, Beyoncé, President Joe Biden, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Watch the video interview to find out what Indian food product Lakshmi buys from the store herself!

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Image: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu. Padma Lakshmi, Buddy Pocknett, Renee Lopes-Pocknett, Tracey Kelley, Jessie Baird and Sherry Pocknett, shown. Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu.

With the holidays coming up, Lakshmi shared with us exactly what she likes to keep consistent on Thanksgiving and where she tries something new. Each year, they change up the theme – from Moroccan to Mexican, but the turkey always stays the same.  Christmas is the holiday she says her whole family attends, and she gets everyone Christmas onesies, and they just do nothing. Eat, drink and be onesies.

Padma Lakshmi’s Christmas ramen bar

The most important thing we learned is that Lakshmi figured out a way to “taco-fy” ramen. Taco what now? Believe it or not, she turned ramen into a taco-like buffet bar that is served on Christmas. A real Christmas miracle made for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Make your own ramen bowl? Is Padma Lakshmi the real Santa? Yes, she is.

A slice of Thailand in Las Vegas

For her show, Lakshmi has gotten to travel to many places, so when asked which is her favorite so far, she tells us even though she’s not a gambling fan, she loves Las Vegas because she’s gotten to know the Thai community and their food in Las Vegas. Lakshmi has never been to Thailand herself, but it is definitely on her list of places she’d like to travel to next as she loves the food.

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Padma Lakshmi-approved store-bought ingredient 

 So does Lakshmi ever buy Indian food products at the store? With the number of amazing food experiences Lakshmi has had on her show, and chefs she’s met, plus her own cooking abilities, we were doubtful. We asked if there are any store-bought curry sauces that earn the Padma Lakshmi seal of approval but sadly, the answer was no.  While she has never bought a curry sauce at the store, she did confess that she buys ready-made dosa mix. A nice little dosa hack for those who crave those giant Indian crepes. So go on, get your dosa mix in aisle 3, Padma Lakshmi just gave you permission. And then your friends can call you “Dosa the Explorer.”

After hearing about her dosa hack, we suggested Lakshmi try the Trader Joe’s Green Curry Simmer Sauce (it’s seriously so good). And she responded, “I’ll try it, I’m not opposed.” Oh. My. God. Did we just recommend a food product to Padma Lakshmi that she has never heard of? You bet we did. Oh no, but what if she hates it? What if she blames us? We’ll blame Joe — Trader Joe. Great, I just threw Joe under the bottled curry bus. Will that make me Traitor Joe? But please note if Padma Lakshmi likes this sauce, we will take the credit. Joe who?

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Finally, we asked Lakshmi the toughest Thanksgiving question of them all: who she would want to cook her Thanksgiving meal — Meghan Markle or Prince Harry? Lakshmi was quick to answer. But if you want to know which half of the couple is dining sans Lakshmi on Thanksgiving or whether Lakshmi would rather go up against Lady Gaga or Salma Hayek in a hot dog eating contest, you’ll have to watch the video. And check out Lakshmi tasting the nation holiday style – you’ll be challahing, about the “challah-days” for days. Sing it, “Challah-brate!” Get it? Like “celebrate” but… challah… There’s no such thing as too much challah. Except maybe in that sentence. The special holiday episodes of Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition are streaming now on Hulu.

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