Lucknow Food

One of the stories you’ll read in every account of Lucknow of yore, is the one where its best known nawab, Asaf-ud-Daula, ordered the construction of the city’s most prominent edifice – the Bara Imambara. There was a famine in 1784 and the people of Lucknow faced the danger of starvation. The tens of thousands…

Delhi’s Dining Scene

Delhi is, according to those who track such matters, the restaurant capital of the country. There is plenty of choice in every cuisine, including such seemingly obscure ones like Nepalese and Naga. Not only are there restaurants serving Japanese food, there are Japanese nationals who make and sell futomaki rolls and Japanese-style sweets out of…

Smell the Coffee

What does the land of Reggae have to do with a fine cup of coffee? For that matter, how does a weasel-like mammal improve the flavour of coffee? Or is it the musty winds of the south-western monsoon that I’m thinking of? The coffee bean grows in many countries – in fact, ever since a…

The Mystique of Mangoes

On my first visit to the Louvre in Paris, I was determined to look at the Mona Lisa in its original form. I was unprepared for the crowds in the Italian Art section of the museum, which were far greater than in any other part of the Louvre. After attaching myself to the longest line…

Dying cuisines: Kashmir’s dried vegetables

Mughlai food (the real McCoy that is, not the upstart version you get in restaurants) started its decline because of the richness of its ingredients and the intricacy of the preparations. Bengali widows’ food is on its way out because society is becoming less and less traditional. Many of India’s micro-cuisines are in danger of…

Seafood

Understanding the top segment of the seafood market Farmed versus natural: there’s no doubt about it, wild seafood is in another class altogether. Wild fish (and other creatures of the deep) have specific habitats and feeding patterns. Some tuna, for instance, swim for hundreds of miles during their lifetime, often against the current. Not a…

Jaunpur’s Fading Cuisine

New Delhi’s Crowne Plaza has just had an irresistible food festival. It showcased the cuisine of Jaunpur in UP. I myself heard many guests asking the staff in the restaurant how Jaunpur was spelt. It was clear that this faded little town was not in the forefront of public memory: for one reason or another,…

The Mysteries of Japanese Food

Sa Shi Su Soy So are the five “vowels” of a Japanese meal. They refer respectively to sato (sugar), shio (salt), su (vinegar), shoyu (soya) and miso, the five most common flavours of Japanese food. The components of a kaiseki meal include Kobachi or appetizer, usually cold Sashimi or raw fish Mishimono or steamed custard-like…