Times have changed. The world has changed and India, connected with the world, has also changed immensely. Gone are the days we would enjoy Doordarshan with family on chai and some simple traditional local snacks. We would visit a local Indian hotel with our family relishing basic Indian yummy cuisine. During vacations we would visit our villages and our granny would indulge us in the local favorites. As a South Indian, I remember we had vadaam, vetthal etc. That was 'The Local' phase. When India was independent. We imbibed the old culture and relished it.
It was sometime in the 90s that India underwent liberalization. Although I don't have recollections of such early days, I still remember my dad would get chole bature on a Saturday and we would eat it while reading some tinkle or readers digest. Or go for a masala dosa dinner at one of the few eateries nearby, and we used to stay in a posh neighborhood of Delhi.
India opened its doors to the world in 1992, and the first set of international players Wimpy's, as I remember came in. And the rest, as they say is history!
This was the global phase.
It became cooler to go to a mcd, or a pizza place, during school years. The talk of the town was always these new fangled foreign stores and eating joints with their glitzy interiors and swanky services.Their location used to be awesome, band in the middle of the cannaught place circle.
It is sometimes strange we give ourselves so less credit when we are not much different from our foreign counterparts. Rajma is same as mexican beans which is staple in a taco. A vada pav is not much different from a burger. A Khakhra is very similar to a lavash. A crepe or rice pancake, is nothing less or more than a dosa. A puff, is very much a patty.
Becase deep down, we all are Indians! There is nothing better than Idli, dosa and Sambhar as a good breakfast for most South Indians and now pretty much the whole of India. Poha remains a favorite despite a plethora of options. And what to say about rajma chawal!
Not only global players came in, India too traveled abroad a lot. Travel shot up substantially and suddenly a 'made in xyz' product became a 'whatever' from a 'wow'. Everything started becoming available in India when all global players decided that 1/6th of the world's population was too big a market to be giving a pass.
We got introduced to the burgers, the tacos, the pizzas, the pastas, the fancy coffees, the doritos, nachos etc etc. We also got to feast on a whole new flavour list in potato chips - barbecue, sour cream, sweet chilli etc. And what's to say about cookies? Absolutely delightful flavours with even better sounding names came on the palette.
Then came the era of Glocal. It came about sometime late 2000s.
Because we are so deeply rooted to our traditions and customs, and a foreign player can't change overnight what we have had over decades and centuries, we can't relish a foreign product daily. We need to go back to what we like best, to something as simple as daal chawal. Even film stars have sworn by daal chawal, despite their immense spends and travels to exotic places and locations for their shoots.
Glocal became the flavour. Go global, but remain local! And hence we saw a aloo tikki burger. A makhani pizza. And of course, we all know the chinese we get is highly punjabi! Strong, spicy and delectable.
That phase stayed on for a long time. It still continues to be a flavour.
And now, we have discovered 'LOBAL'. Something sort of opposite to Glocal, lobal means take a local favoute and give it a global twist.
And there you have it. From the schezwan dosa to the peri peri Khakhra #periperikhakhra, from the barbeque panneer to the #makhanamumbaiya, the 'Lobal' flavours are on the cards and are finding even more takers than you can imagine!!!
In all these, our love for traditional remains. Because we are like that. We remain rooted, proud and possessive about our identity.
As we move into the welcoming and promising new year, we, as the truly food loving, spice craving and sweet toothed Indians, will continue to demand, as we always have. We will continue to push the boundaries of innovation. We will not stop asking for more and asking for different. We are a disparate group of unified people and we may be different in our cultures, traditions and thoughts but we are the same when we want our food. We want to stick to our roots.
Guest column, www.snaximum.com
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