India Tourism: Learn from your Food!

It might sound strange, but does it? I feel Indian Tourism can pick some learning’s from its food. The secret formula is there. The formula of how should the Indian tourism experience, be offered to the world.

Food served in major part of the world is so monotonous, where the first bite and the last bite taste the same (except for the temperature may be). But the Indian Food, it’s different! 


 Let’s observe the images above of a Gujarati Thali and a South Indian Thali, taken for reference. What do we notice? There is rice, roti, different green vegetables, fresh fruits, dal, curd, ghee, pickles, chutney, salt, salad, green chili, lemon, papad, sweet dishes and many more. Some are cooked in steam, while some are fried in oil. I have at times wondered, that why should an Indian meal consist of such a big palette of tastes. Moreover, irrespective of the different regions, where there are variations but on a broader term of taste, a meal served in Indian home has many elements of uniqueness. When served to a group of people, I can bet that no two people would have enjoyed the same taste, from the same food served.

For the world, the taste of food is limited to five basics – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami (savory). Is the Indian Meal cooked in this limitation?  The experiment done with flavors or smell in an Indian Meal is humongous. Thanks to the rich Indian spice collection, even a modest vegetarian meal offered in less than $ 2, would take you to a roller coaster of taste. That’s the Indian uniqueness, which I feel has some learning’s to offer to the Indian Tourism.

I would like to share my observations of Indian Food, leading to my inferences or lessons drawn for Indian Tourism.

  • Option of a Variety of tastes: Even the modest food we eat in our home has a variety of tastes, spiced up. Unlike the western option of “Salt and pepper to taste”, the Indian meal offers a reasonably large option is a fact. Taking the clue, our each Indian Tourism destination needs to be packed with options (with unique tastes!)? I mean that even religious destinations like Haridwar or Ajmer, need to have more tourism products.
  • Specialize in a vernacular flavor: While the Incredible India advertisement shows the entire gamete of experiences offered in India, it is upon the states to choose for a particular flavor. If the thali’s of Rajasthan, Andhra, Bengal, Kashmir, Gujarat etc are so different, why should the amusement park in all these places be same. I feel the local “Tadka” is important! The varied tourism products may be planned “of the place”.  There is also learning for some states like Himachal, Jharkhand etc, who do not have a popular Thali (read Tourism Theme or Image), to introspect and discover their uniqueness.
  • Scope for Customization: USP of an Indian Meal is customization. People mix different elements of an Indian Meal and create their own tastes. Some might mix rice with dal then add some mango pickle and for the next bite some rice with vegetables and a bite of green chili and in very next bite, have some papad to add the crunchiness. One should really observe, how you eat your Indian meal and may be count the different tastes you had, in our food bites. Believe me, it’s amazing!

 I wonder if there can be any guide book of how to eat an Indian meal; what to mix, when and how?  There cannot be any one defined way to experience Indian meal (please read Indian Tourism). Similarly, Indian Tourism should create different tastes (tourism products) in a destination and leave on the tourist to customize their experience.

Do not bother about a planned sequence. Instead, let’s create experiences, and let the tourist plan on how he customizes “a rainfall of tastes”, in one single meal.

12 responses to “India Tourism: Learn from your Food!

  1. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out a lot.

    I’m hoping to present something again and help others such as you aided

  2. One of the best features of any India Tour is the chance to try REAL Indian food, the way it was supposed to be prepared, with local ingredients and spices. Indian food is widely copied all over the world, but the genuine experience you have only if you travel to India.

  3. Dear Maamubhai,
    it was delicious to read this post. I would like to take analogies from different fields here:
    1. The Indian Food is like mixed land use, no zoning like Western 3-course or 4 course meal.
    2. The design options within Indian thali are infinite (with quantity as one more dimension), as one can design each bite, as Yatin Pandya says, each bite of pizza tastes same.
    3. Indian Thali is truly a Postmodern phenomenon, as it can incorporate a bowl of daal and a scoop of ice-cream on one plate.


  4. Dear Friend!
    My I make a gentle suggestion to help visitors and a better exposure:
    Could you replce “Just another site” with a short subtitle?
    Something like ” For a better understanding of the Joys of Tourism in India!”? (only a suggestion!)

    • Dear Mr Gilles,

      Thank your for your feedback. I have made some changes for better, hopefully. I have started blogging only last week and thus, seek need your guidance to improvise.

      One thing, which you may suggest. I wish to have a home page, where one can see my profile and the number of people visited the site. It should also have the links to my posts. How can I do it? Can you help me.

      with regards,

      Vikash Chandra

  5. Dear Friend!
    I totally agree, when it comes to Tourism, be it India, Japan, France or any country, food and gastronomy are its main pillars!
    In the case of India I’m sure it is an unending discovery, given the size of the country and its unequalled diversity!
    Indian gastronomy is heard of all over the World but people have only vague idea of its history and plurality. Your Government would do well by making a big push towrds its international promotion!
    I definitely agree with Neeraj’s comments!
    Looking forward to visiting you again!
    Best regards,

  6. how to eat and in what sequence… reminds me of Andhra meal.. nothing like it… nothing else could impress my taste buds as andhra meals..

  7. Agree 100%. and thats why say, that the Local Tadka is Important.

  8. With rising globalization and junk food seeping slowing down our food pipe, the authentic taste of regionally-grown, taste rich, crops has vanished or is on the verge. And the worst part – even the spices have started to lose the flavour. But this globalization has yet not reached far off places and the local delicacies are almost intact. While some upmarket restaurant in a metro may come up with a menu that bring local delicacies of far off regions in one place. But not matter how hard they try, the simple pleasure of having that food in its native place is no match. And that itself is a travel proposition. Success of TV shows like ‘Highway on my plate’ or Vinod Dua’s ‘Zaayka India ka’, confirm that local delicacies will remain local and for a foodie, the only way to relish that is travel. They say Scotch tastes best in Scotland, I say ‘litti-chokha’ tastes the best in Bihar. And if you don’t believe me – you just need a trip to that place. Remember ‘food’ and ‘taste’ are two different things, and the only place they meet is the place where they originate.

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