Pakistan’s acclaimed restaurateur Shahid Bundoo Khan is an aggrieved man. Mr. Khan, who is participating at the ongoing “India International Trade Fair-2013”, is sad that he has not given a bigger space to prepare food to cater to his large following .
Mr. Khan, whose grandfather migrated from Meerut to Pakistan during the Partition, told The Hindu: “I have been participating at the IITF for the past six years. But this year, I have got a raw deal from the India Trade Promotion Organisation. It has allotted me a stall outside Hall No. 6 without an empty space where I can prepare food for a large number of visitors.”
Saying that he had been participating regularly at the IITF in order to improve friendly relations with India, Mr. Khan emphasised the need for people-to-people contact between the two neighbouring countries.
“I have deliberately kept the price of food items at the IITF equal to what I charge in Pakistan. The reason for keeping the price of Mughlai food low is because I want to foster friendly relations with Indian customers. Over the years, I have made a number of Indian friends, especially those who come to the trade fair to taste my mutton bihari botti.” In Pakistan, his clientele includes “Pakistani cricketers Imran Khan and Javed Miandad as well as those in the political establishment”.
While Mr. Khan has refused a lucrative offer from an Indian five-star hotel to reveal the secret of his recipe, he is open to start a restaurant in India.
“But I need to get visa and work permit. I will also have to send my trusted khansamas who can cook my dishes without revealing my recipe. They can train local chefs here. But if the relationship with India deteriorates, then my business will get affected. The business community in both countries wants the political establishments to have friendly relations.”
Apart from traditional spices, he has brought chefs as well as kitchen equipment, including skewers, cauldron and knives from Pakistan.