Hyderabad: Just as Hyderabad absorbed people from across the world, so is the city drawing influences from international cuisine.
While biryani and Irani chai remain ever popular, the newer areas of the city are increasingly receptive to Japanese, Vietnamese, Turkish, Arabian and Lebanese cuisine.
Jubilee Hills and Madhapur are where food lover can find restaurants serving cuisines from different countries. Japanese and Mexican eateries are limited to Banjara Hills, Jubilee hills and Hitec City. But those serving Arabian and Turkish cuisines are spread across the city including Tolichowki and Nampally due to the influences the city has from the past.
Popular eateries serving Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese food are found in malls around the western part of the city in Kondapur, Hitec City, Miyapur and KPHB.
Mr Yashwanth Kumar, a foodie, said, “The Arabian Mandi restaurants are nice places to enjoy and bond, and Tolichowki or Masab Tank are the places for fine dining. Even though some restaurants often boast of authenticity, they offer many other things. A Japanese restaurant has some Thai or Chinese food to offer and Arabian restaurant offers Manchurian.”
Italian influences in the form of pizza and pasta have become part of the domestic palate with eateries in every nook and corner of the city. American influences of burger and buffalo wings have taken as well.
A techie working in Hitec City, Mr K. Srinivas, said, “When I found buffalo wings in Hyderabad, I couldn’t help but compare it to the Wild Wings chain in the US. One of the major differences is pricing as it is that of a premium food joint. But in the US it is just an ordinary eatery. Secondly, the presentation makes it look like you are shelling out more money for some tiny looking wings with hard texture.” Experts opine that the city’s openness to new cuisine comes from the dissemination of information, increase in buying capacity and the number of people travelling abroad.
Masterchef fame chef Smita Dugar said, “The palette of citizens is now more receptive to diversity. People are becoming more aware of international cuisines due to increase in international travel, social media and popular shows like MasterChef.” She said the availability of international ingredients like specific greens and wasabi was adding to the acceptance of the global cuisine.
However, the Indianisation of cuisine continues to happen with uniquely Indian versions. Celebrity chef Puneet Mehta said, “The versions of food served in India are 30-40 per cent of the actual version. People in the city will not be able to accept the sushi made in Japan. But there is a small segment in the city which actually enjoys the authentic version. This niche segment is increasing in the city because of the increasing travel opportunities people are getting due to work and the standards of living.”
He said that ultimately the people would start embracing authentic versions of the dishes. Since people have accepted the desi version of American and Italian food, the authentic versions in form of Buffalo Wings and Little Italy are slowly penetrating into the city.
Mr Mehta said, “People tend to try new cuisine when served as part of a buffet and nobody objects. But when it is a la carte, people tend to read the entire menu and settle on Indian cuisine. Fusion will help soup up acceptance of international cuisine.”
Nonetheless, experts opine that love for Indian food will never fade and it will continue to stay. Ms Dugar said, “International cuisines are evolving in the city, but these will only be adding to the new varieties. Irani chai and Hyderabadi biryani were there and will continue to be there.”
At service of insomniacs’ cravings
It won’t be uncommon to find people primarily in the age group of 18-40 years awake at 1 am, cramming for and stressing over deliverables. Often late-night working and clubbing leads to late-night snacking.
Eating spots that are open at that hour provide comfort to the stressed mind and satisfy the hungry stomach. Streets at DLF Gachibowli, Madhapur, Yousufguda and Ameerpet are a great escape for late-night workers and insomniacs to satisfy their odd-hour cravings.
Both vegan and non-vegan snack food, be it chocolate maggie, dosa, shawarma, bread omelette, bread jam or chicken tikkas, midnight eateries have everything to offer and certainly do not disappoint. Irani chai, water and fruit juices are also readily available.
Mr Surya Vamsi, a resident of Madhapur, said, “We often visit DLF or Madhapur for night food. The price is affordable, and it is not so light on the stomach. Due to the distance, we do not go often to Charminar to have dosa. But the little snack and bite we get each night is a ritual which our roomies wouldn’t want to give a miss”.
Techies who work in night shifts and people who enjoy a drink or clubbing, tend to make a hard stop at these outlets. Those feeling extra stressed tend to treat themselves to some ice-cream. Night life is not just restricted to festive seasons but has now become a year-round saga.
People are often seen satisfying the late night cravings through tiffin primarily. Even big cars like BMWs and Benzs tend to make a stop to relish the delicacies.
Techies pointed that the eateries are closing down early Mr Shankar Reddy, a techie, said, “Earlier we used to get food till 3 am but these days they shut it by 12:30 or 1 am.”