Cities and the eating out culture- Sep 9, 2012
Eating out is a big big part of urban culture worldwide. One sign of India’s urbanisation has been the huge increase in restaurants and eateries. And a breed of people who are hungry, literally, for new culinary experiences.
If we didn’t have young children, we would be in that lot of people that tried every new restaurant and were up to date with the latest in the world of gastronomy. That’s thanks to Rahul, who is quite a foodie. His only two rules for eating out are- avoid Indian food and it must be non veg!
Tonight we caught the last day of the Pakistani food festival on at the Great Kebab Factory at Gurgaon’s Park Plaza Hotel. For starters, we waited over an hour to get in, chatting at the bar working up an appetite. Once inside, we were presented with a fixed menu of several kababs, none surprising but all tasty. Now fixed menus are worse than buffets. You stay put and people just bring you stuff. In this place, we realised we needed to stay focused on conversation as there were long gaps between rounds of food. The only good thing is you don’t need to think, only decide between a yes and no for everything offered.
The food was good, but not superb. North Indian and Pakistani cuisine must be really similar for it held no novelty for me at all. The quality of meat was excellent though and I wondered if they procured equally good meat for their regular buffet.
As we ate, I pondered the close relationship between food, drink and friendship. Can you be close friends with someone who doesn’t share your food preferences in today’s city life, where food has become a pivot around which our social life revolves? I wonder.
In a sense, food becomes an opportunity to interact and engage with other people. In a restaurant, it’s always fun to watch people at other tables and guess the relationships, conversation, circumstances. When you call people home, you offer them a peek into your palate and your life. When you bond over food, you take the focus away from the relationship and find the taste, the price, the presentation of the food to be great subjects to build a friendship on.
What would life be without being able to go out and eat? Boring indeed.