Wednesday, 20 January 2010

On South Indian Food And Other Living Memories



                An after-church breakfast in Bangalore, 2009

So my post today is on South Indian food. For the longest time, I believed that Indian food was, outside the Goan/non-veg/hybrid/somewhat-bland concoctions we feasted on at home, entirely made up of South Indian fare and a few outliers like sizzlers.

Now my reason for believing this is because I spent my childhood in Muscat, where everytime we ate out, which incidentally was at least once a week, we would either drive to a fast food outlet like KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Wendy's, etc; or visit one of the numerous Indian restaurants in the city, like Kairali when we were younger, and Venus and Indian Express in later years.

The fast food outlets were what they were - bland - but we didn't have anything to compare them to then. To us they constituted delicious non-Indian food. I wouldn't eat there now. And as for the Indian joints, we'd always eat the same thing - chicken corn soup, or something South Indian like dosas, along with sambar and coconut chutney.

I still remember Indian Express, that typical Udipi like joint that we'd lunch at after church on Fridays, where I'd only have Sada Dosas, sometimes two at a time. I'm sure that most somewhat fancy Indian restaurants had a Chinese section as well, or Indian Chinese rather, and other varieties, but we didn't think of trying those. My family never strayed from the safety zone, what we were comfortable eating, what we were familiar with. Which explains why most of our visits to restaurants ended up with me having the same thing over and over - dosas, chicken corn soup or the occasional sizzler. And that was it. That was the limit of what constituted Indian food to me.

And then I came to Mumbai, and started eating out with friends, and my world changed forever. I discovered Punjabi food, which you could actually eat with something called naan. And different subjis and curries. And Konkan, Mughlai, Gujarati, Hyderabadi, and North Indian cuisine. I don't eat South Indian food any more, except on Sunday mornings maybe, or when I have no other choice.

Have you made any changes in food habits or the way you view food as you've gotten older?


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10 comments:

Vineeta said...

Oh yes.. how can i forget pani puri, dabeli, vada pav on the lari :D Fast food in India is incomparable :D yummmm!!

Daniel D'Mello said...

Incomparable maybe, but most Indian fast food isn't always healthy. South Indian seems to be the best in terms of health, I think.

karan a said...

Nice post...few adjustments keep on happening on food-front, on may be half yearly basis...

Roshmi Sinha said...

I'm feeling hungry already...

Daniel D'Mello said...

Half yearly? That's pretty frequent, isn't it?

Daniel D'Mello said...

@Roshmi: Which part made you hungry?

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Just finished Breakfast And your post -
Ohhh, I am hungry again.

Daniel D'Mello said...

I had written this post out of nostalgia, but it seems to be making everyone hungry!

The knife said...

The dosa pictures made me yearn for one :)

I travelled a slightly funny path. I was born abroad and wouldn't have 'Indian' food when I came to India. Then I did so under duress. Started appreciating my native Bengali food only after I left Calcutta for Mumbai.

Now its a toss up between that and Oriental cuisines for me

Daniel D'Mello said...

@The Knife: Ah, glad to see you appreciate Indian food.

Btw, I've been following your blogs for a while. I don't know anyone else who's as crazy about 'Candies' as you are.

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