“To know a city well, travel through the foods it has to offer” – (my made-up quote)
Years ago, culinary travel was an unknown concept concerning the Indian subcontinent. A country with many stereotypes, India is emerging to be a destination for culinary tourists and that too thanks to innovative chefs, regional restaurants and food professionals. It is hard to admit, but India is quite a package, especially when it comes to food. With an array of states and within those states, the communities inhabit these regions and interpretations of local dishes that change every 100 km. Well-known for its unique flavors and spices, Indian cuisine is popular worldwide and its evolution of the tourism sector, the culinary tourism is becoming a prospering market.
It is known that food is an integral part of any culture and with tourists coming in flux into a country, it is normal that the cuisine will travel miles with them. The more states you travel, the more complex and dynamic menu you get and this encourages the thrill of discovery. Culinary travel is the ideal setting as it introduces a genre that is evolving as people travel the world and keep bringing Indian cuisine on the international level. India’s culinary ambassadors like Vikas Khanna, Manish Mehrotra and not forgetting the formidable Gaggan Anand, are showcasing the regional flavors in innovative and scrumptious ways, that moves Indian food away from the greasy butter naans or tasty briani stereotypes. Gaggan Anand, a Kolkata born, has his restaurant ranked number five among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Spain.
India is not only the place for writers or travel show hosts to come, but it has seen celebrities like Gordon Ramsay, David Rocco and more who began to explore and celebrate the different faces of the ever changing country. There are many cuisines in India that are adapting to the palate of the culinary travelers and this has created a niche within India itself. It is normal to see that some bookings say that they do not want spicy and by spicy they mean the chilli hot. A medium spice for these travelers is needed as they want to taste everything that is in the cuisine and not only the chilli. Every spices is venerated by the culinary tourists for these are what brings the real taste to the foods. Normally, most tourists are acquainted with the North Indian cuisine as Delhi and Rajasthan are emerging as the most favorable destinations for culinary tourism. The maharaja thalis and the 1kg paranthas are somehow the cause of this confluence towards these two cities.
However, some culinary travelers are moving to all the states to taste the amazing dishes that will make them dream of the Edible India instead of the Incredible India. With most people turning vegans or vegetarians, India is the sole country where you are sure to get vegetarian food without even questioning it. The seasoned vegetarians agree that most of the delicious meat free dishes in the world come from India and there is more than just paneer makhani or dal. You don’t have to compromise your palate to adapt to this amazing cuisine, instead it does adapt to yours.
Culinary travelers are changing the world view of the Indian cuisine and that is something that is bringing more highlight to the world. Most people have their first of Indian food through the array of street food that is presented to them during their transit. Street foods raise the question of quality, hygiene and provenance of ingredients. The importance of hygiene when it comes to food is accentuated as more people focus on the places where hygiene is maintained and respected.
In conclusion, culinary tourism is making Indian food travel more and be found in more than one country. According to me, every traveler or tourist has to come to India once in their life to have the authentic taste of Indian food.