Apr 09, 2020
It’s no secret that we’re going through this pandemic because of what happened in a small city of Wuhan in China! It was the epicentre of where all of this began. A disease that spread like wildfire across the world & now we’re all dealing with it through the lockdown. This lockdown has given us time to reskill, learn & empathize for sure, in that order. But one thing I’m noticing as a pattern here is the conscious refrain from using Chinese ingredients! Isn’t that a shocker because we Indians love Chinese food! We love Manchurian, Hakka noodles & spring rolls. Yes, I know all of that is really not authentic Chinese but ingredients that make up these dishes are indeed Chinese, Soy Sauce for instance.
So many of you would argue that India anyway never ate authentic Chinese food! We couldn’t ever eat it because we don’t have the affinity towards reptiles, insects or mammals. But, even soy sauce is in question here! We’re looking at it with scrutiny so much so that even desi-Chinese cooking in Indian households has been put to hold!
My trip to the grocery store made me realize that anything Chinese, from spices to sauces & noodles were just lying there. No one to pick them up, no one to take them home! Soy sauce, schezwan sauce & chilli sauces were stacked up in a neat row, untouched. I was surprised.
Later that day, I asked people around and they definitely had their qualms around anything to do with Chinese ingredients for now at least. But I ask, how is this connected to anything being produced right here in India? The only answer I got & would agree with is, “It is better to be safe than sorry!”
Our minds have become defensive in manners we can’t totally gauge but understandably, we’d like to stay away from anything Chinese right now! And, the proof that we’re are running 100 miles away from these products is on our social media pages. None of the chefs is talking about making anything Chinese. No one is cooking with Chinese-ingredients or even anything inspired from it.
In an article by Times of India, Amit Lohani, founder-director, Forum of Indian Food Importer said, “People have halted their food shipments from China and are avoiding travelling there. It may have a long term ripple effect & prices may shoot up in the long run.” Of course, this was way before the lockdown became mandatory. The restaurants serving Chinese cuisine had already taken a hit! The most popular foreign fare in India faced the brunt of it on a whole new level. People stopped eating Chinese food, ordering it or cooking it, even if it was totally Indianized.
It has come to times when we can’t find any Maggi, maida or rava on the shelves, but we’re most likely to find soy sauce, chilli sauce & schezwan sauce along with packets that read, ‘Chinese Noodles’! But, the real question here is, will India avoid eating Chinese food even after the lockdown is lifted?