Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Eat ‘n’ enjoy

Eat ‘n’ enjoy
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Breakfast? Idly or dosa. Lunch and dinner? Rice and sambar. This was the menu every Bangalorean looked into just a few years ago. A feast either meant a festive offering or an occasional pizza.

Today, the delicacies that are laid out on the tables of a city restaurant, are not just brought down from all over the country, but from across the globe. Chinese, Italian, Indonesian, Lebanese, Persian, Sri Lankan - you name it and you can taste it.

Bangalore has turned into an international food centre. Call it the IT boom or the increased awareness among people about the global cuisines you don’t need to go to Italy to have a yummy pasta.

People, who have travelled all the way from across India and the world to settle down in Bangalore, have more than the pleasant climate to give as reason. Sam and Mary, law students from Kenya, say, “We can enjoy our own tastes here. We do try out the variety of Indian dishes, but it gets very spicy.”

Every year many food festivals are organised in the city. Ranging from Italian, Continental, Mughalai, Thai, Chinese, Arabian including the desi cuisines like Kashmiri, Gujarati, Punjabi, et al.

“We organise new promotions according to the likes and dislikes of the consumers,” says Suren, restaurant manager of the Taj Group of Hotels. He explains, “People like Lebanese food as dinner and for buffets we serve Italian dishes. During weekends the crowd is much larger compared to week days.”

While the upper middle-class is busy with this food culture, the lower middle class too is fast catching up in terms of their habits. A few of them visit the food carnivals as it works out cheaper, while they feel the festivals are for the elite.

The concept of vegetarianism and home-made food is, however, still popular among some people.

“I prefer variety in my food, but it should be pure vegetarian,” says Govinda Pai, a retired army personal. He strongly believes that home-made food is not boring at all, instead it “carries love and care that is not available outside”.

H.K. Swami, a lecturer in a city college, prefers food that has a homely taste and is served amidst a homely ambience. “Home is the best place to have my kind of food,” he says, “So, if any restaurant, no matter which cuisine they serve, has that authentic touch and feel, then I don’t mind trying it out.”

Even Lt. Anandapa’s food concept is vegetarian. But he is calorie and health conscious as well. The management at Pizza Hut and Chung’s claims that they get a good mix of veg and non-veg crowd.

Youngsters like Mitra and Shruti believe in good presentation. “I cannot have food that does not appeal to the eye and tongue,” says Shruthi. Mitra adds that junk food is an outdated trend today. “People are becoming more health and figure conscious. Hygiene and health comes first before anything else,” Mitra clarifies.

Not to forget, brand identity is a concept that is not restricted to apparel and accessories alone. These days, youngsters prefer branded food like Mc Donalds, KFC, among others.

“I spent my childhood with typical South Indian food but my son is growing up with a Mc Donald’s burger,” says Harish, a businessman about his 10-year-old son. Biotech student, Krishna, has faith on branded food as he thinks, “Here, I can trust the quality with my eyes closed.”

Though different people think and eat differently, most admit that it’s health quotient and willingness to experiment with your tastebuds has contributed to the change in food habits for Bangaloreans.


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