Taste Culture To Understand It: Travel In India & Elsewhere For Good Foodby Ashwati Menon | Mon Nov 21 2016
Bill Bryson once said, “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” The concept of ‘old is gold’ might be applicable in certain situations, but when it comes to food and travel in India, exploring novel concepts is foremost. We start looking at things with a different perspective and each and every voyage be it far or near, gifts us with new visions and sights.
Travel, Living & Food
I feel food and travel in India are inseparable. I always look forward to the food specific to my destination and so do many others. Over the years, there has been increasing enthusiasm when it comes to gourmet food safaris and culinary trips.
And for once, the usual becomes boring. For example, if you are visiting France, you might find Indian restaurants serving surprisingly delicious and authentic Indian food, but if you don’t have a croissant and black coffee for breakfast or a croque-monsieur for lunch, your trip to this gastronomical paradise is left incomplete. If you don’t try out the Aguaymanto and Camu Camu (Peruvian fruits) on a voyage to Peru, have you really explored the culture as deeply as you could have?
Exploration Begins At Home
I stand by the belief, as Deborah Carter put succinctly, “You have to taste a culture to understand it.” People are becoming increasingly interested in tasting new cuisines. It could be a way of diverting themselves from the mundane as well as understanding different cultures. And I personally believe that a separate culinary trip or a food destination travel in India, though extremely interesting, is not exactly the only way of exploring new sites. In your own city, a simplistic one day or half day food trail is also just enough for you to get drunk without regret following the next day.
In fact, many groups in Bandra and Dadar in Mumbai or even Old Delhi organise food trails to get people to know how special their heritage is without being extravagant. The sincerity, the passion, the hard work which people put in cooking and the skills which they apply can be truly appreciated by visiting the home kitchens and smaller businesses.
Food Travels To You Too!
Whenever a new cuisine hits the market a foodie’s heart skips a beat. People, especially Indians, are keen on trying out tastes of different lands be it Korean or Konkan! Rigidity and conservatism have taken a backseat and the likes of kale, quinoa and greek yoghurt have been welcomed into homes.
The misconception that western or any cuisine other than Indian is unhealthy and can harm us. And we can safely say that that’s absolutely not true. The oats and cornflakes with which we start our day are foreign concepts and still dominate our breakfast menu. Do you know that a Mediterranean diet is considered the healthiest and is followed by many Hollywood and Bollywood stars. Talking of Hollywood celebs, they are the greatest brand ambassadors of health foods, influencing people worldwide to travel to know about these foods.
Innovations Are Good
Innovations are necessary for the chefs as well the customers. Chefs worldwide have been fusing exotic, unexpected ingredients and people are loving it! And dessert- savoury mix have been their favourite fusion goals recently with the invention of Cronuts (croissant + donut), Cinnaburger (hamburger + cinnamon roll) and Cone-oli, where the outer deep-fried shell of cannoli is substituted for an ice-cream cone.6u
I believe how much ever authentic the food maybe in a restaurant but if the food prepared isn’t made with the ingredients of that particular region where its origins belong, it can never be as justifiably delicious. For that, either one has to go to restaurants which import ingredients that are certainly expensive yet worth it or travel to that place. Observe and comprehend what factors could have led to the creation of the dish; the peculiar smell of the surroundings and aroma of the spices. Many times even the way the food is cooked can be reflected in the way people live or have adapted themselves to their environments.
Travel in India and elsewhere makes turns you into a storyteller; travel gifts you with memories you cherish for a lifetime and leaves you with an appetite for more. So, travel as much as you can cause “zindagi na milegi dobara”.