Travel and food are complementary to each other. The two are like Juno’s swans complete and inseparable. While the former is about quenching the thirst of the eyes and soul the latter quenches the desire of the taste buds. The time I started my travel was the season of Durga Puja. “Food”, a thing deeply connected to you. I don’t know about you, but at least when I don’t get my kind of food I get frustrated! So was my situation, having come from Jamshedpur to a hostel in Bangalore to study, the thing I crave is good food. And food was the only thing on  my mind when I  started thinking about my travel project. Oh, how much I craved for good food!

Food and travel – you get a taste of the place you visit and the culture of that place. Every place has its own unique culture, food contributing to a major part of it. Think of Rosogollas and fresh water fishes, Ah! Kolkata comes to mind, of fafda and thepla, well the place we think of is Gujarat. While the former gives the traveler a feel for non vegetarian habits , a part of their culture, the latter a taste of the vegetarian one.

My first day on this food journey was amazing! I along with my family planned to go to Lazeez,  a food spot in Koramangla 5th phase where you get palatable Awadhi biryani and great North Indian food. My initial preparation was to look for the review of the place. Zomato rated it 3.5 and food Panda 3. We left home at eight thirty pm on a Sunday. On the way to the place, I spotted a Hanuman Mandir, Anandam Mandapam and Masjide Noor standing close to each other giving me a feeling of oneness and tolerance. In this area, one can spot different kind of restaurants with different cuisines. Some which I saw were ChettiNadu serving South Indian cuisine, Nagarjuna serving authentic Andhra style food, Darshinis serving pure vegetarian food, The Italian restaurant which by its name says serves Italian food. Eating out has become common in India as both men and women  have started working  ,which was not common two decades ago. Now restaurants such as Darshinis  cater to the working class and students, who are in a rush. Since people have started to write food blogs and travel articles, it is easy to search for one’s type of restaurant without the hassle caused otherwise.

fnaazKormangala is the spot which has commercial buildings, colleges, hospital. Hence, to cater to these groups more and more restaurants and restrobars have started to mushroom. The best thing to spot was a Krishna temple and a Durga puja pandal in the middle of the eateries. We ordered Biryani. The owner of Lazeez told us that” the place was mostly frequented by  north Indians, Muslims and Bengalis”. I was curious on knowing the reason which he said was Awadhi Biryani served in Kolkata and the north Indian food. They admitted that the taste of the food did not much appeal to the south Indians. As it was the festive season we could spot Bengali families enjoying quality time out.  We ordered Biryani, Chicken Reshmi kebab, and chicken Peshawari kebab. The place has good food, normal price but lacks ambience to which my co-traveller said that the main reason was to attract large no of customers. Since both men and women have started working, eating out with family has become an easy way of spending quality time together. Although travel lets you venture different cultures and cuisines but it is different for some like me to adjust to a new taste suddenly. As I have come from north India  going to Lazeez was a breathtaking experience. Bored with the hostel food, this was the place where I found salvation. Well salvation from what? Salvation from the punishment of not having my kind of food.

Food gives one experience of the culture and tradition of the place you travel. For me it is very mysterious as to how eateries have taken advantage of it.  Food has always had a close connection to religion and religious places to eateries. The kind of place you visit, that kind of eateries you find. Near a mosque, one finds non vegetarian stuff as non veg is permitted to the Muslims but you never find a restaurant selling pork nearby. As for a temple you find food spots to cater to the temple visitors. As the dietary habits of Hindus differ from caste to caste and region to region the kind of restaurants are relative. But you don’t find a hotel serving beef as Hindus worship cow considering it as a God. Here we could spot a mixed range of restaurants for pure vegetarian to non vegetarian. Near Jains and Buddhist worship place you find pure vegetarian food as meat is denied in their religion. With this I would quote news from the Telegraph that Mc Donald’s had opened a purely vegetarian outlet in Karta ,Jammu and Kashmir, near the pilgrimage site, Vaishno Devi’s temple and in Amritsar near Golden temple. After facing resentment from the locals for it serving non vegetarian, it decided to go vegetarian in these two spots. As for Lazeez ,they said that to attract customers from different ethnic groups they did not serve Beef. I asked,” why do you think some restaurants don’t sell pork or Beef”. Owner “Restaurants which want to increase the customers, not restricting them to a certain religious group , find it safer in not serving the two”. By this  a traveller gets to know the religious practices of the place. And yes, a traveller always needs to know how to behave in a place. So you cannot expect Wine near a Muslim pilgrimage site, and pork in  a Hindu pilgrimage site. So eateries give you a general idea of the religious belief of the people and place you are visiting to . In turn giving you a flavour of their religious practices. So my advice to you is “Go to the eateries of the place you visit to”. This will give you a feel of what to expect and what to curtail from doing. So You dare not hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

On the fifth day of my vacation, we went to Hakuna Matata, a restrobar in J.P Nagar 2nd phase, Brigade Millenium road opposite to Palms springs. It is a residential area so they have made it in a semi-circular pattern with lots of parking space and a bit interior. So you immediately don’t recognize that it is a restrobar. We went there at around 4 o’ clock so there were not many customers. We ordered Singapore Hakka Noodles  succulent in taste , one plate enough for two people. The noodles were cooked with sprinkling of Prawns, egg, chicken and mutton. The whole food would make one feel like a king and the environment too. There are two eating areas and one built on built a little high for partying, so you need to climb the stairs for it.

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The place is very spacious, with greenery around giving you the touch of nature. The prices are a bit high so not everyone can afford to go there. I asked the owner as to why he chose the name. to which he said that Hakuna Matata  means no worries . The phrase became famous by the movie “The Lion King”. He said that since it was taken from an English movie, it portrayed class. The kind of people that came into the restaurant according to the owner were mainly educated, middle class and upper middle class. Later to which my co traveller said that by keeping prices high and by the name they aim to cut down people who are uneducated and poor. As stereotypically, it is considered that with education comes manners and they do want to create a ruckus as people would eat and consume alcohol and tobacco at the same time. They also want to maintain a certain standard and as per zomato, they have been given four out of five points. Eating out has become common as Restaurants are offering international cuisines, suited to the spicy Indians at an affordable price.

“well, then a new experience for me”, price-class-manners, a new knowledge altogether”. Till now I  had heard measures of showing caste division. Well, this was interestingly a method of class division. Although, this is a prejudice yet unfortunately concerns nobody. Ha! that is why no one talks about eradicating it

But with the kind of location and structure I could recognize that the place had been so built to suit the residential setup. The owner has completely planned to accentuate the demand of the place juxtaposing quantity with quality. The structure of the building is semi-circular and spacious so that the residential people don’t get disturbed by it.

Pubs, restaurants, Bars and commercial buildings have been acquisitioning residential places time and again in Bangalore. They have faced constant resentment from the residential people but are brazenly unwilling to listen and respond to. According to an online blog, citizen matters in Bangalore, 17th January 2012, a petition had been filed by the citizen action forum and twelve other people against the constant coming of pubs, restaurants and commercial spaces in residential areas.

This shows that such spaces cause a lot of noise and are responsible for the decadence of residential spaces. They create an atmosphere unsuitable for living and a PIL filed against such activities bear proof of the suffering. Hakuna  Matata has taken into consideration and tried not to disturb the people by its activities but one could surely say that it has acquired  a residential space to convert into a commercial, denying access to people could have lived there.

“Food is a central activity of Mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of culture” by Marks Kurlansky, can most appropriately summarize my passage. As you travel , you come across different kinds of culture, food being the most significant trademark of the culture you visited. Food and travel are a whole new experience in themselves. It is astonishing how every cuisine has a different story to tell. Interestingly, It is not just people who have travelled. Food has also travelled with people. As the Chinese food we all relish in India, is an Indian version of Chinese food called “Indo-Chinese”. So travel and food have always been interconnected, sometimes you travel and eat to get a taste of the new culture. And at times the food travels with you and is made your own.

NAME -FARKHANDA NAAZ

GMAIL ADDRESS- naazfarro@gmail.com

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