Traditional Food - The Lost Glory

May 20


Jenny Jonson

Jenny Jonson

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Gone are the days when our favorite meals were ‘rajmah chawal’ or ‘kadi chawal’, when ‘paav bhaaji’ and ‘gol-gappa’ were perennial delicacies, and when kheer was an irresistible sweet temptation. Today, the allure of Italian and Thai cuisines has overshadowed the rich tapestry of Indian traditional food, leading to a significant decline in its glory.

The Shift from Traditional to Global Cuisines

In the past,Traditional Food - The Lost Glory Articles dishes like ‘rajmah chawal’ and ‘kadi chawal’ were staples in Indian households. ‘Paav bhaaji’ and ‘gol-gappa’ were not just street food but cultural icons, and kheer was a beloved dessert. However, the modern palate has shifted towards international cuisines, often perceived as more sophisticated. This shift has led to a decline in the appreciation of traditional Indian food, which is now often considered less prestigious.

The Rich Heritage of Indian Cuisine

India is renowned for its rich heritage, diverse traditions, and, notably, its varied and delectable food. Each state and culture in India boasts its unique culinary delights. For instance:

  • Mumbai: Famous for its ‘paav-bhaaji’
  • Rajasthan: Known for ‘daal-baati-churma’
  • Bengal: Celebrated for ‘maacher jhol bhaat’
  • Punjab: Renowned for ‘makke ki roti’ and ‘sarson da saag’

Indian cuisine has evolved over 5,000 years, influenced by Persian, Islamic, and other cultural ties. Historical events such as foreign invasions, trade relations, and colonialism have also shaped the diverse flavors and spices found in Indian regional cuisines today.

Influence of Historical Events

The Persian and Islamic influences brought new cooking techniques and ingredients, enriching the Indian culinary landscape. Colonialism introduced new vegetables and fruits, which were seamlessly integrated into traditional recipes. This historical amalgamation has resulted in a cuisine that is both diverse and rich in flavors.

The Rise of Fast Food and Fusion Cuisines

Fast food chains and quick delivery systems have become immensely popular, posing a threat to traditional Indian eating habits. However, these fast-food chains have adapted by creating fusion cuisines, such as Indian Chinese and Tandoori pizza, blending traditional flavors with modern convenience.

Statistics on Fast Food Consumption

According to a report by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), the Indian food service industry was valued at INR 4.23 trillion in 2020, with a significant portion attributed to fast food and quick service restaurants (QSRs) source.

Preserving Traditional Eating Habits

Despite the western influence, some Indian restaurants have remained steadfast in preserving traditional eating habits. These establishments often serve food on banana leaves or in small metal handis, maintaining the essence of Indian culture. Traditional cooking and serving methods are still practiced, ensuring that the rich heritage of Indian cuisine is not forgotten.

Interesting Statistics

  • Global Popularity: Indian cuisine is the fourth most popular ethnic cuisine in the United States, following Mexican, Chinese, and Italian source.
  • Spice Usage: India is the largest producer of spices globally, contributing to 75% of the world's spice production source.

Indian Cuisine on the Global Stage

Restaurants worldwide have recognized the appeal of traditional Indian food and have started reinventing it for foreign palates. Dishes like tandoori chicken have gained mass appeal globally. The use of diverse spices, herbs, fruits, and vegetables makes Indian cuisine a culinary favorite for many.

Global Influence

The global influence of Indian cuisine is evident in the popularity of dishes like chicken tikka masala in the UK, which has been dubbed a "true British national dish" source.


While the allure of global cuisines is undeniable, the rich and diverse heritage of traditional Indian food deserves to be celebrated and preserved. By appreciating and promoting our culinary roots, we can ensure that the lost glory of traditional Indian food is restored and cherished for generations to come.

This article highlights the importance of traditional Indian cuisine, its historical influences, and the modern challenges it faces. By understanding and valuing our culinary heritage, we can keep the essence of Indian food alive in a rapidly globalizing world.