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Native flavours are travelling far and wide, serving nostalgia on a plate at your current home. So next time you travel to Indore, and while coming back if you forget to pack tomato-flavoured sev, you may not be censured by family and friends. For, a smorgasbord of regional foods—from sweets, namkeens, staples, health foods, pickles to spices—is available on a host of online marketplaces. And the trend is catching up as millions of people, who migrate for jobs and due to marriage, miss the food of their place of birth.
So, be it banana chips from Calicut, guava bar from Goa, sohan halwa from Jaipur or Karachi biscuits of Hyderabad, the internet is bringing them all home—bridging the great Indian food divide. Every place is rich with specialities, which makes it stand out in the country’s vast culinary map. For example, while Kolkata is known for its sandesh variety, Pune for its biscuits and Odisha for its chhena poda, namkeens are synonymous with Indore. These ethnic foods are no more limited to their geographical boundaries; the e-commerce platforms source them from their authentic outlets to deliver at your doorstep.
Snacks and namkeens apart, the websites also spice up your kitchen with their range of condiments—from Bhallapur chilli powder from Andhra Pradesh, Tezpur chilli from Assam, Nagaland’s famous cinnamon and black pepper to cardamom from Wayanad.
Startups such as placeoforigin.com and flavorsofmycity.com act as link between sellers and buyers, there are stores such as Om Namkeen of Indore, which sell their products on their websites. This is a win-win situation for both the food lovers who whet their appetite for hometown foods, and the sellers who see an expansion of their customer base due to online presence.
So missing Dulal’s tal mishri (palm candy) from Kolkata, Banarasi jackfruit pickle from Sardarji Papadwale in Varanasi or Malabar tapioca slices from Altom foods in Thrissur? Here’s a list of websites that are ready to tickle your longing tastebuds.
Their promises make you long for the food: Authentic regional savoury, indigenous to that place; rare products, not easily available everywhere. You can search by cities, themes, categories, stores, bestsellers, new arrivals. For example, their ‘Flavours for our Bappa’ section offers ukadiche (steamed) modak from Dodbole’s Modak, Pune, to make your Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations a palatably affair.
You name the pickles, jams, namkeens, dry fruits from your place of choice, placeoforigin.com has them. With a wide range of products from over 450 brands, this is a marketplace of all things capable of triggering fond memories. Craving the juicy and delicious dhokla from Ahmedabad, authentic tea from Darjeeling and stick jaws from Dehradun? Just click the mouse. And it’s worth the wait.
Their owners gave up cushy jobs abroad to realise their dream of bringing the native specials to your doorstep. And now they deal in delicacies as localised as Tirunelveli Halwa, popular as Iruttu Kadai Halwa, Manapparai Murukku, Thoothukudi Macaroons, a French delicacy made in Indian style, etc. For the health-conscious customers, there are items such as Karuppatti Nei Mysorepak, Karuppatti Mysorepak, made of Karuppatti, one of the oldest sweeteners used by mankind, Kombu Thaen, from the hills of Nilgiris, etc. And they reach homes the world over.
Be it Agra’s petha, Ahmedabad’s khakra, Bengaluru’s chocolates, Salebhai.com not only caters to thousands living away from home but also to a growing number of well-travelled foodies who can tell an authentic Mysore Pak from an imitation. They source sweets, savouries, dry fruits and even spices, tea and coffee from across the country and deliver them to customers in 195 countries.
They began in 1984 as a small shop that sold namkeen and snacks in Indore. Subsequently, their wafers sold like hot cakes. Be it specialties such as aam jalebi (aam papad made of mango pulp in jalebi form) or the unique chutney sev, Om Namkeen has carved a gastronomic niche for itself in snacks and munchies.
If you are craving Bhavnagar gaathiye or lehsun sev, Namkeenwale.in is the website to be logged in to. It operates from the cradle of namkeens and snacks—Indore. Founded in 2013 by a team of self-proclaimed foodies, it offers best of all at reasonable prices.
Yes, it lives up to its name. From sev bhujiya to Jain namkeen, cookies, dry fruits and squashes, Khaochatpata has everything at an affordable price. You can shop by brands too. So the namkeens from Bikaner’s Bhikaram Chandmal or the famed Jain Misthan Bhandar of Indore are a click away.