The Five Types of Foodies You Meet at Mumbai’s Food Festivals

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The Five Types of Foodies You Meet at Mumbai’s Food Festivals

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

This weekend, alongside spoken word nights in sushi bars, and Ladies’ Nights with 300 men in sunglasses, Mumbai will also host its very own food festival. Featuring a spread inspired by cuisines from all over the country (including the miss adventurous stuff like fried silkworms), the Isuzu XFood festival will be held at Mahalaxmi Race Course, and is bound to be welcomed by hundreds of hungry Mumbaikars asking for more ketchup on their fries. 

As you make your way to this two-day festival, however, you may find yourself feeling slightly out of depth, having consumed most of your other meals in your pajamas in front of the TV. So, to help guide you through the day, refer to this handy list of every kind of person you might bump into, and exactly how to react in these situations. 

The Too-Full-Too-Soon

This guy was so excited to be at a food festival he’s eaten three parathas, two eggs, and half a portion of butter chicken at the very first stall. Now for the next few hours he’ll sluggishly follow everyone else around, clutching his stomach, and wishing he had enough space for just a couple of more momos. He is also very likely to be found a few minutes later running around the perimeter of the lawn, trying to work up a second appetite. 

Local-Seafood

Vegetarians will eat the fish from the fish curry, and the gravy of the pork curry, all the while maintaining that they were vegetarian all along.

Isuzu XFood Festival

This group of festival-goers, suffers from the fairly common disease known as “premature ingestion” — it affects 4 out of 10 attendees at every food festival. Symptoms include saying, “Yaar I wish I could eat this right now,” and Googling “how long does it take to digest butter chicken”.

The Still Somehow Hungry

Sumo wrestlers eat too little in comparison with this food festival regular. They’ve paid the ₹500 entry and they aren’t going to stop until they’ve got their money’s worth, down to the last paisa. Usually seated in a corner, sweating from their foreheads, this sort didn’t come here to socialise or take in the view. They’re here to eat everything they can get their hands and feet on, so make sure you’re not standing too close to the fish curry stall. You can often find them still seated in the same spot up to thirty minutes after the festival has ended, powering through their ninth course as the staff clean up around them. 

The Self-Proclaimed World-Class Chef

Look out for this kind of food festival regular because there’s only so much time you can spend listening to very detailed recipes of dishes you’re never going to make. This chef doesn’t care much for any of the food being served at the venue, because they make better — and honestly more complex — versions of the exact same dishes every weekend. 

The best kind of food festival is one where the sound of chewing drowns out the chatter of conversation.

They can fillet a fennel seed, and poach a milkshake faster than you can book tickets on insider.com. Of course, they never invite you to try these dishes for yourself, so you’re just going to have to take their word for it when they say Sanjeev Kapoor once praised their cooking. Do yourself a favour and steer clear of this crowd if you don’t like hearing where your food comes from.

The Vegetarian (But Not Really)

This person is pure-veg, at least until they smell three chickens in a tandoor. After that it’s a free-for-all. Their dietary restrictions follow an odd-even pattern, depending on the stall they visit. They’ll eat the fish from the fish curry, and the gravy of the pork curry, all the while maintaining that they were vegetarian all along. Play along with them, because nothing ruins the mood at a food festival like you accusing someone of lying about their food habits. 

The Food Extremist 

Unless the food festival features a menu of duck liver, octopus, or snails, the food extremist is very unlikely to be impressed. This person has eaten grasshoppers fresh from a field in Thailand, gutted their own puffer fish in Japan, and de-scaled a crocodile in Australia. They’ll enthrall you with tales about how all these meats tasted like chicken, before going on to shame you for only being experimental enough to eat the chicken. “What’s wrong with you,” they might ask, “Do you hate good food?”

Lucknowi-Tundey-Kebabs

The food extremist will enthrall you with tales about how all these meats tasted like chicken, before going on to shame you for only being experimental enough to eat the chicken.

Isuzu XFood Festival

Of course, if your visit to the food festival goes the way it’s meant to, you won’t even register any of these people’s presence, since you’ll be too focused on your plate. The best kind of food festival is one where the sound of chewing drowns out the chatter of conversation.

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(Head down to the Isuzu XFood festival this weekend to sample exotic cuisines from almost every part of the country. Book your tickets here.)

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