The Indian food is also what makes India great, said no one but is true!
The rich diversity and many options for vegetarians, non-vegetarians and even vegans make Indian food the best in the whole world. The amazing thing about the Indian food culture is that nothing needs to be ‘invented’ but simply ‘discovered’ and ‘repackaged’ for the benefit of mankind.
So, it was natural that such an important aspect of the Indian culture recently found itself surface in the Lok Sabha recently.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) was put this question to and he replied that government is aware that India has a rich culinary heritage.
He also said that most of our traditional food has evolved over centuries, transferred from one generation to the next and that the Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Almost all states have their unique recipes. He also underlined the importance of traditional Indian food when he said that they are often based on a holistic approach to nutrition, as required by local people.
Clearly, there could be no better explanation than what the Minister gave on the need for promoting Indian food.
Later he even said that Indian food is prepared with locally available ingredients and is found to have its own therapeutic and nutritional benefits.
But while his explanation was praiseworthy, let’s admit that India is doing very little to promote Indian food culture. Here are the two steps that the Government recently took for the preservation and promotion of food culture of India:
• A collaborative project on National Directory of Traditional Food Recipes of India initiated.
• The launch of a book focusing on the regional cuisine of India.
Clearly, this is not enough.
What’s needed to promote Indian food culture is an extensive and exhaustive marketing scheme that targets international as well as domestic tourists especially at a time when people are willing to go an extra mile to try new flavors and India is seeing a surge in the number of tourists.
In a recent survey conducted by Tripadvisor, it was revealed that close to 73% of Indians will consider food while planning their 2017 vacations. And a whopping 63% Indians will be planning a gastronomic getaway in the year 2017. India can gain from this new found love and promote new destinations for travel-loving Indians and earn from domestic as well as international tourists.
India has the distinction of being a vegetarian and a vegan paradise and even leading food critic Guy Dimond ranked it at the top for a meatless experience. Dimond called the vegetarian South Indian food as “nourishing, beautifully spiced and incredibly delicious dishes.” And to lure vegans we have the non-dairy options as well. So yes, India is a heaven (not my word, humbly borrowed from the Lonely Planet) when it comes to vegetarian food.
But hey, let’s be fair! There is a huge, roaring population that eats non-veg and India boasts of thousands of varieties of meat dishes as well. From dog meat to goat meat, India has it all and no one will have a problem when out on a budget travel in India.
Therefore, promoting Indian food as part of the tourism package will likely lure foodies from across the world but what is important is that India is able to package it well. The quality of cooking, promoting local cuisines, and especially bread and breakfasts must be encouraged. The taste of our Indian cuisine would do the rest!
By Namta Gupta
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