25 January, 2021

The State Highway To Aoshi

A grey homogenisation has not yet eclipsed our rainbow palates

The State Highway To Aoshi

In happier times, Kashmir used to attract a large number of tourists, and one recalls a row of crowded food stalls in the vicinity of Shalimar and Nagin Bag that used to cater to this clientele an array of delicacies—from idli-dosa to tandoori tikka. What was intriguing was, to sample local fare—gushtaba or tabak maaz—one had to scout really hard. Not so long ago, we had a similar experience down south. Small eateries in Kanyakumari advertised their mouth-watering Gujarati and Rajasthani thalis. This is what we feel reflects the ltc syndrome. Wherever you go, the tyranny of the tandoor follows and most often, the regional cuisine that is dished out is mostly inedible, under the general impression that Indians aren’t adventurous and like to stick to their own food. What has happened in the past few decades isn’t really the evolution of a pan-Indian taste; the pseudo-national menu needs scrutiny and deeper sociological analysis.

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