International holidays and observances are slowly but surely finding a place on our calendars
Today as Americans sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner with chicken pot pie, parsnip fritters, mashed potato, and stuffed roast turkey, there are a whole lot of expats and foodies in town giving them company.
Halloween just went by with Bangaloreans living it up with ghoulish treats and spooky dos. International holidays and observances are slowly but surely finding a place on our calendars.
Amit Wadhawan, Executive Chef, The Oberoi, Bangalore, says: “This city is now a major global hub of businesses dealing with IT, IT support , knowledge based, R&D oriented and even bio-engineering, pharmaceuticals, as well as defence technology. Thus, business travellers from across the world have made Bangalore either their short term or long term home. There are a substantial number of expatriates who live in Bangalore both as transient workforce to some even staying on for longer durations. Therefore, celebrating international holidays are a natural extension of this cultural assimilation. It can be seen in the many world cuisine restaurants opening up in the city, from Korean to Greek, and in the wonderful array of international ingredients available in major super or hypermarkets from cheese to coffee.”
According to Viren Singh, who co-owns a fine dining restaurant in the city, “For us restaurateurs and hoteliers, days like this create the perfect chance to increase footfalls. All this while, the focus was on Valentine’s Day but with the increasing popularity of Halloween among youngsters, and Thanksgiving Day among Indian families and the expat community in Bangalore, we see no reason why we shouldn’t capitalise on such festivals. It’s a win-win situation for us as well as our customers.”
On St. Patrick’s Day, the pub Blimey, hosted a bash that had everyone dressed in green and leprechauns.
Amit Roy of Blimey, says: “The food and beverage business is expanding. The main reasons being the clientele is also growing and is multinational. At Blimey, we do regular celebrations of international holidays/events. We try and keep it as authentic as possible but add a bit of flavour to cater to the locals too.”
Chef Wadhawan says: “Each year we have had an increased response to our Thanksgiving celebration. A few guests even order marinated and stuffed turkey from us for their home parties. Thus, inclusion of such culinary celebrations has a wonderful ripple effect, not only do our foreign guests get to enjoy a bit of home, but local diners get an opportunity to try a new cuisine.”
From the customer’s viewpoint, Nikita Bose, a collegian, says: “I love to party and Halloween is the best excuse to shop for some wacky costumes and makeup and celebrate at a hip watering hole. It’s so much fun to see what others come dressed as and with competitions hosted for best costume, I work extra hard. It’s really not about celebrating an international festival. It’s only about having a good time.”
“The time has come when everybody is embracing other cultures. If we’re celebrating V-Day and Thanksgiving, I know of many non-Indians half way around the globe who celebrate Deepavali and play Holi. It’s all a sign of globalisation and the changing times,” finds Anurup Rajan, an advertising professional.
Given that festivals (whether desi or videshi), are a time of fun, food and togetherness if sage-stuffed turkey and gravy beckons tonight, go on and dig right in!