Friday, July 29, 2016
AUTHOR Kalyan Panja
One of the most important aspects of any trip, in my opinion, is the food. Savoring new dishes, tasting the unique flavors of the place, I love to try everything, even a mouthful, but it's everything. There are few things you talk about the culture of a place as the food. It must be said that I would spend my life being able to eat. Indeed to taste everything.
Having to choose only one dish on the menu makes me go mad. I love to try a small amount of everything. That is why I always try to convince my fellow diners to choose a dish different from mine so I can taste a bit of everything. Eating is an integral part of the trip. Flavors and culture are intertwined in one bite that the traveler cannot get lost.
I speak not only of the food itself, but also the rites everywhere which are created around the eating with the conviviality at the table In Kolkata, the cakes in front of the TV with friends in Shillong, afternoon tea in Bangalore and Chennai, the tandoori food, biryani and raita in Hyderabad and Amritsar, which is the symbol of hospitality.
From these habits, you understand many aspects of a culture from the extrovertness of the Bengali people to the importance of family in Bangalore and Chennai, the elegance of the Marathis, the Punjabi determination, vitality and warmth of the Gujaratis, the composure and courtesy of Malayalees.
Observing people through the lens of food teaches you so much more about their culture. There are places to eat which are just an excuse to get together, others where it is normal to book a table for one person. There are places where they stay in a kitchen full day for the person they love, others where they always eat outside the home and do not go shopping for weeks.
There are places where they are at the table for hours chatting, others where they eat on the move walking alone between the office and home. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, a trip without going at least once (but believe me, it will be many more) to the local street vendor in Mumbai is unthinkable and eating freshly cooked food in front of you, as well as the fun to watch in the presence of the public, where the cooks duty is exalted, sneaking in improbable wacky culinary stunts, where you can see the preparation right in front of you.
While traveling, for me, it is essential to eat the local dishes, which is like taking a bite of a piece of the world.