A Chronicle of a Culinary Clusterfuck

Grub

A Chronicle of a Culinary Clusterfuck

I

didn’t really know about the Great Indian Buffet until I went to the United States. In Silicon Valley, that land of kale, quinoa salad, and artisanal toast, I discovered that for as little as $12.99, you could gorge alongside Indian techies and their non-Indian co-workers on coma-inducing lunches: all-you-can-eat saag paneer, chicken tikka masala, and lamb biryani. Back then, I would fall upon this all-Indian (OK, all-Punjabi-Mughlai) buffet in deep gratitude. But now that I’m home, I can’t help cringing at the sight of that assembly-line bastardised food.

The multi-cuisine buffet is the pride of modern India. It is also the bane of good dining. It takes several perfectly good, culturally sound, and clearly differentiated cuisines and mashes them to unrecognisable pulp. There is no Chinese-Mughlai-Italian, people. Just like there is no chef in the world who specialises in Bengali-Lebanese-Thai. A certificate on a restaurant wall bragging about awards for multi-cuisine offerings is not a badge of honour. It is a culinary tramp stamp. It’s like putting “Jack of all trades” on your CV. You will never get hired, I assure you.

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