Italian cuisine has become a popular choice among Indians in recent years. From pizzas and pastas to risottos and lasagnas, Italian food has found a special place in the hearts of Indians. But how did this foreign cuisine become so popular in India? Let’s find out.
The Introduction of Pizza
Pizza was introduced to India in the 1980s, with the first pizza restaurant opening in Mumbai in 1986. Initially, pizza was considered a luxury food item and was primarily consumed by the affluent class. However, with time, pizza gained popularity and became more accessible to the masses.
The introduction of pizza chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut in the 1990s further popularised the dish in India. These chains adapted their menus to suit Indian tastes by introducing vegetarian options and adding local spices and toppings.
Today, pizza is a popular fast food item in India, with many local pizza chains and independent pizzerias offering a wide range of options to suit different tastes and preferences. The introduction of pizza in India has not only provided a new food option but has also contributed to the growing popularity of fast food culture in the country.
The Rise of Italian Restaurants
Italian cuisine is known for its simplicity, fresh ingredients, and bold flavors. It has gradually become a favorite among Indians, who have developed a taste for pasta, pizza, lasagna, and other Italian delicacies. Italian food is also considered to be healthy, as it includes a lot of vegetables, olive oil, and herbs.
The rise of Italian restaurants in India has also been driven by the growth of the urban population and the increase in disposable income. People are willing to spend more on dining out and trying new cuisines, which has created a demand for Italian food.
Moreover, Italian restaurants in India have adapted to the local palate by adding Indian flavors and spices to their dishes. This fusion has created a unique blend of Italian and Indian cuisine that appeals to the taste buds of both locals and tourists.
The Influence of Bollywood
Bollywood has had a significant influence on Indian culture, including its food. Italian cuisine has become increasingly popular in India, and there are several reasons for this trend.
Firstly, Italian food is seen as exotic and sophisticated, which makes it appealing to many Indians. This is largely due to the way it has been portrayed in Bollywood films. Many Bollywood movies feature scenes of characters enjoying Italian food in fancy restaurants or cafes, which has helped to create a perception of Italian cuisine as being high-end and aspirational.
Secondly, Italian food is also relatively easy to adapt to Indian tastes. Many Italian dishes include ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, and onions, which are commonly used in Indian cooking. Indian chefs have been able to put their own spin on Italian dishes, incorporating local spices and flavors to create unique fusion dishes that appeal to both Indian and Italian palates.
Lastly, the growth of the Italian food industry in India has been driven by the rise of fast-food chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s. These chains have made Italian food more accessible to the masses, with their affordable prices and widespread locations. As a result, Italian food has become a regular part of many Indians’ diets.
Indian chefs have started incorporating Italian flavours and techniques into traditional Indian dishes. This fusion of two cuisines has resulted in unique dishes that are both delicious and visually appealing. For example, butter chicken pasta and tandoori chicken pizza are now popular dishes in many Indian restaurants.
One of the most popular Italian-Indian fusion dishes is the naan pizza. This dish combines classic Italian pizza with Indian spices and flavours. The naan bread serves as the pizza base, and it is topped with a tomato sauce infused with Indian spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. The pizza is then topped with mozzarella cheese, diced onions, bell peppers, and chicken tikka.
Another popular Italian-Indian fusion dish is the biryani risotto. This dish combines the classic Indian biryani with Italian risotto. The rice is cooked with Indian spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves, and then mixed with Arborio rice, Parmesan cheese, and cream. The result is a creamy, flavorful dish that is sure to impress.
Lastly, the Tandoori Chicken Alfredo is another popular Italian-Indian fusion dish. This dish combines classic Italian Alfredo sauce with Indian Tandoori chicken. The chicken is marinated in a mixture of yogurt, ginger, garlic, and Indian spices such as cumin and coriander. The chicken is then grilled and served on a bed of creamy Alfredo sauce. You can try some of these in restaurants here.
The Advent of Social Media
The advent of social media has certainly played a significant role in popularizing Italian cuisine in India. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have given food bloggers, influencers, and chefs a platform to showcase their creations to a wider audience. Additionally, the use of hashtags, geotags, and location tags have made it easier for people to find Italian restaurants and dishes in their area.
Many Italian restaurants in India have also leveraged social media to advertise their menus, promotions, and events. They have created visually appealing posts and videos that entice viewers to try their food. Social media has also allowed for easy communication between restaurants and customers, with online reviews and feedback helping to improve the quality of the food and service.
Furthermore, cooking shows and food channels on social media have also contributed to the popularity of Italian cuisine in India. These channels showcase the preparation of Italian dishes, making it easier for people to replicate the recipes at home.
Italian cuisine has become an integral part of the Indian food scene. From pizzas and pastas to fusion dishes, Italian food has found a special place in the hearts of Indians. The introduction of pizza, the rise of Italian restaurants, the influence of Bollywood, fusion food, and the advent of social media have all contributed to the popularity of Italian cuisine in India.