Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Authentically Ethnic!

"Tell me, is there any restaurant in Hyderabad which serves authentic Hyderabadi vegetarian food!" I dropped my spoon. Hyderabad and vegetarian? That too authentic. I looked at the zeera rice I was eating and wondered if it was even authentic to India. I couldn't care less. I just like it and I am eating it.

Then followed the comments. "This guy says he likes Hyderabad and doesn't know any local food." Does there need to be some authentic food item to the place to love it.

For instance, do I, being from Guntur, need to be proud of the red chilli or cotton or tobacco production there? True. According to the area and the availability of resources, there are certain things unique to that place. There might be places where there is nothing unique to it. That makes the place no less special. I love Hyderabad because of the cultural mixture of the city. Nowhere in the country, I can tell you that you find such a diverse mix of people. Maybe the reason is the deccan area. It is neither North India nor exactly the south of India. Naturally, one can find a find a mixture of all Indians in Hyderabad like nowhere else.

The double ka meetha..originally from Hyderabad :P

Hyderabad cuisine has a lot to offer and I never really bothered to know if it was unique to the city. Appam originated in Kerala. Pesarattu originated in Andhra Pradesh. I will sit in Hyderabad and eat both. And does it matter that puli-hora originated in Andhra Pradesh as puli derived from pulupu meaning sour and hora derived from origam meaning rice and is now hijacked by other states into saying its their creation? It is still the same recipe and I enjoy it if it is made tasty. I regularly go to a cafe in Lingampally in Hyderabad with my friends and enjoy the Irani-chai with biscuit osmania there. I never even cared to wonder why Irani-chai is "authentic" to Hyderabad. In fact, if I ever live somewhere outside Hyderabad, I would love it if someone sells irani-chai there. I like the item and don't link the food item to a particular place. In fact, when I was in Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram, I struggled to find food I really liked. This authentic food - business is just a marketing strategy followed by the restaurants to increase their sales. I won't fall for it.  

Irani chai with osmania biscuit

Dating back to the independence time, we divided ourselves based on religion. After attaining freedom, going back in time, as old as from 1953, we have been further dividing ourselves into smaller states. If in the beginning it was linguistic differences, it later turned into tribal clashes, terrain based, infrastructure and development, real estate and mainly political needs. Do we still need further bias based on food? I don't think so.

FootNote: This doesn't stop me or anyone in general from searching for Vada pav in Pune, Bhel Puri in Mumbai, Dhokla in Gujarat, Puchka in Kolkata or the famous Dum Biriyani in Hyderabad.