BENGALURU: These days, you simply cannot miss the new social media fad trending under hashtag #10yearchallenge. People are busy posting side-by-side pictures of themselves showing how much they have changed over a decade or, maybe not. Inspired by this viral internet phenomenon, we decided to stop for a moment and review how much our food and eating habits have changed over the past decade or so.
It was not long ago when fine-dining ruled the restaurant tables across India, dining-out options were mainly limited to star restaurant’s and a handful of standalone’s, families dined together without cameras in tow, chefs occasionally popped out of their kitchens to meet guests and diversity of food meant Indian, Chinese, Western, and maybe a smattering of exotic cuisines. Today, the food world around us has changed and how!
Rise of the millennials: Young Indians are eating out more frequently as compared to their mums and dads many years ago. The millennials have better spending powers, they are digitally savvy, well travelled, and exposed to current food trends making them a profitable target audience for the restaurant business.
Dining options galore: To cater to this growing demand, restauranteurs are pushing the envelope and offering cuisines which were fairly unfamiliar until a few years ago - Korean, Nikkei, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Burmese, as well as a revival of the forgotten foods of India. Also, the number of stand alone restaurants are multiplying at a frenetic pace than we have ever seen before.
Design and decor: Restaurants look more stunning these days with great attention to detail on a themed ambience, music, furnishings and lighting. They are hip, funky, and most have a light contemporary feel for an easy dining experience without the fine-dine fuss. No stopping the microbreweries: Beers were synonymous with bottles from as far back as we can remember. However, craft beer is now the order of the day. On last count, namma Bengaluru clocked over 50 breweries and we’re still counting.Gin revival: This clear spirit has seen a major return to destination bars with cocktails boasting exotic herb-infused tonic waters with limitless gin choices.
Gourmet produce: Kale, moringa, millets, and ragi are big rediscoveries in the recent past with a great emphasis on its regular consumption for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With the advent of the third wave of coffee a couple of years ago, we now have access to single-origin beans sourced from home-grown estates and small batch roasters for that perfect cup of joe.
Food tech revolution: This is the age of food delivery apps, restaurant discovery apps, dining discount apps, digital menus, online table reservation systems and more. Though the dining out culture is still huge, it sure faces a unique threat from food delivery apps who are ensuring people stay indoors. Diet fads: Atkins, Keto, South Beach, Paleo are some of the diet plans that gained popularity last few years to help weight management. Some may agree and others disagree on this rapid weight loss programs, however, they are not going away very soon.
Celebrity chefs: Over the last few years chefs have increasingly started steeping out of their kitchens and engaging with the dining community and we’re loving it. Its great to see chefs turn stars authoring cook books, appearing on television shows, hosting sold-out cooking workshops, and travelling with signature food pop-ups around the globe.
Social media onslaught: We’re eating a lot more with our eyes than with our mouth thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and such. Most often the presentation of food takes precedence over flavours with cameras in motion no sooner the food is put on the table. If our e-friends can’t see what we’re eating then its not worth the trouble. The past couple of years also saw the rise of the social media food critic praising or thrashing restaurants armed with a mobile phone camera.
Aslam Gafoor is a Bengaluru-based hospitality professional,food lover and travel enthusiast.