March 4, 2014
Hindustan Times’ resident foodie, Vir Sanghvi has discussed the changing culinary culture in India over the past decade, citing major changes and leaps in how society perceives food and the options available.
In a remarkably short period of time, Sanghvi demonstrates the radical change in the food available to Indian citizens. Both Indian and Western dishes are available in greater number and variety now than in 2004. He describes Western food to be the sole property of upmarket hotels in the big cities and even then questionable at best. 2004’s version of pasta was unappetising Maida in an ocean of sauce and Chinese food consisted of a myriad of dishes with almost identical recipes.
He continues by stating that South Indian food was seldom represented by big city restaurants and the Punjabi dishes that were available would never satisfy any self-respecting Punjab.
It wasn’t just the food that was limited and terrible, Sanghvi denounces the coffee that was available at the time as terrible and cites culinary magazine Brunch as a big reason as to why attitudes and practices have changed so dramatically.
The advent of Brunch magazine and food blogging has allowed people access to far more dishes, broaden their horizons and be a little bit more adventurous. The internet in particular has made is possible for home cooks to source and buy a wide range of fantastic and varied ingredients, allowing them to treat their families to more fantastic Indian cuisine.
This wider access to high quality ingredients has put many food outlets on an even level now after years of inequality. Previously, only large hotels with the correct licences were able to import high quality and varied ingredients, giving them a distinct advantage over home cooks and smaller restaurants.
Now however, with more cooks having access to a wider selection of ingredients, the great competition drives everybody forward bringing greater innovation and invention. The ability to view the workings and techniques of a higher number of esteemed chefs from around the World will give home cooks in particular more inspiration and ideas.