India is as diverse as its culture, cuisine, traditions and heritage. This country is known in the world for its hospitality. Till the year 1990, it was not realized that food was a part of hospitality services for tourists.
With the advent of technology, aviation and tourism sectors have seen greater growth than other industries. Many foreign hotels are opening their hotels in India because of positive Government policy towards foreign direct investments. Therefore India is a hot destination among all types of tourists.
Regional cuisine & tourism in India
Regional cuisine plays a prominent role in tourists’ experience, particularly in a destination. In a destination, tourists enjoy authentic and indigenous local food and drink which may not be available in other places of interest.
A tourist always gets firsthand cultural experience by consuming local foods & beverages in a tourist destination. Regional cuisine acts as a source of motivation for the tourists to travel to a particular tourist destination. Regional cuisine acts as a driving force to recall the cultural heritage of a destination.
Colonial and Geographic influences on Indian Cusine
Anyone can experience and explore Indian culture through its regional cuisine. Every state of India is something unique to offer to its tourists. Several invaders like Mughals, Nawabs, Nizams, French, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese and the British colonialists invaded India and left their food habits or cultures and resulting in the availability of diverse food in different parts of India.
Regional cuisine varies from region to region because of geographical location, climatic conditions, staple diet and availability of local ingredients. In the restaurant menu of all leading hotels in India, one can find the availability of authentic regional cuisine dishes. As every region of India offers its unique dishes similarly every festival celebrated has a unique dish to offer.
For example, a variety of sweets like jalebi, barfi, gulab jamun, and halwas are prepared during Diwali in every household in India. Similarly, Khechedi in Dussehra, halwa in Janmastahmi, Modak in Ganesh Chaturthi, Karha Prasad in Gurupurab, Sago Khir in Hanuman Jayanti, boondi ka Ladoo in Basant Panchami, Nawabi Biryani in Eidul Fitre, Payasam in Onam, Makki ki Roti & Sarson ka saag in Baisakhi, Haleem and Mutton Curry during Eid etc.
These varieties of foods available provide a unique and memorable dining experience to the tourists visiting India during these festivity occasions.
Diverse Indian cuisine and regional specialities
Herbs and spices play an important role in the regional cuisines of India. Wheat is the staple diet of the northern region of India. Hence gravies are thicker to eat with varieties of flatbreads like Naan, Roti & Paratha.
Dhokla, Dhansak, Khandvi, and Thepla are important dishes from Gujarat. Thalipeeth, Modak, Pao Bhaji, Vada Pao, Puranpoli & Shrikhand are important regional cuisine dishes from m Maharashtra. Similarly, Liti Chokha, Tilkut & Sattu Paratha are famous dishes from the state of Bihar. Laal Maans, Dal Baati Churma, Safed Maans, Pyaaz kachori, Gatte ki Sabzi and Ghevar are some of the popular dishes from the state of Rajasthan.
In the southern region of India, rice is the staple diet due to which gravies are thinner so that it can be easily taken with the rice dishes. Similarly, Bengalis and Odiya are famous for their sweet teeth or sweet dishes. Panch Phoron is an important spice from eastern India which is mostly used in many dishes.
Some of the important dishes are Ghee Bhaat, Kanika, Macher Jhol, Aloo Posto, Sukhto, Daab Chingri, Rasogola, Misti Doi, and Sandesh are simply mouth-watering.
Northeastern states have important dishes like Thukpa, Momos, Dimsums, Gundruk and Sael Roti which are very popular. Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Mirchi ka Salan, Baghare Baigan, and Double ka Meetha are famous dishes from Andhra Pradesh. Kashmiri Wazwan includes Rishta, Gushtaba, Dum Aloo, Noon Chai, Tabak Maaz, Yakhni, Rogan Josh and Kahwa are very famous among tourists.
Finally, south Indian dishes like Idli, Dosa, Appam, Uttapam, Sambhar, Chutneys, Bisi Bele Bhaat, Chettinad Chicken and varieties of Payasam showcase the food culture, traditions and way of life of south Indian people.
India has a lot to offer in its regional cuisine and to attract tourists, especially domestic tourists for the growth and development of the domestic tourism industry.
- Dr Susanta Ranjan Chaini
(Dean, Faculty of Hotel &Tourism Management)
- Raj Samjetsabam
(Research Scholar, Faculty of Hotel & Tourism Management)