Being a south Indian the standard veggies cooked by my mom when I was a kid were bhindi, red pumpkin, cauliflower, red-eyed beans, dal, suran, tendli and brinjal. Thankfully, we are non-vegetarians so chicken; mutton & seafood were also occasionally cooked (especially on Sundays). Even the spices were standard nothing innovative. Gradually as mom started expanding her friend circle, some cross cuisines were cooked at home but again very very safe dishes i.e. food to suit the taste buds of our typical south Indian family. My parents never encouraged us to eat out as a result of which street food was alien to us. I remember the first time I tasted paneer was at a reception party of one of our family friends. We were awed by the texture and taste of this new food.
As time passed by thanks to the advent of new channels, my mother started experimenting with new dishes & slowly we had new dishes on the menu. Paneer became a part & parcel of lives. North Indian savories like gajar ka halwa, mapluri, sevai kheer were applauded at my place. These were followed with chats like sev puri, pani puri, bhel & food from various states. Non-veg dishes like Biryani, fish tikka, chicken tikka and Kheema kept getting better by the day at my home. Believe me life was never better and I thought to myself, India is really blessed we have so many varieties of food here. Little did I know that I was in for a big surprise! My introduction to international food was Chinese which was soon becoming a rage.
However, the real experimentation with food began when I started working. I got an opportunity to taste global cuisine ranging from Italian, continental, Mexican, Lebanese & others among few. The first one I had was the classic roast chicken. Believe me it was heaven. Then I tasted chicken quiche, stuffed chicken, fish-n-chips, fried squids, pastas, ravioli’s, shwarma, satays, roasted duck etc. The best experience that I hate to love is when I had sushi. The very thought of having raw fish deterred me from venturing close to any sushi counter. Nevertheless, I told myself what the heck! I need to try this. When I put it in my mouth, and started chewing, I could feel the slimy fish meat melt in my mouth, but at the end of it, the flavors and texture of the entire combination was awesome! I must say I hated the thought of having raw meat…but loved the experience.
For all those who are deterred to try new cuisines, taste it this once if and only if you have mentally prepared yourself. Honestly, you need to enjoy the food and if you have apprehensions, the beauty of the experience is lost. Take that leap and don’t hesitate to visit places that offer global cuisine. Enjoy the world of food.