The Food and Beverage (F&B) service industry operating in
India is one of the most vibrant industries that has consistently seen a rapid,
unprecedented growth in the recent years and continues to expand rapidly. This
can be attributed to the changing demographics, increase in disposable incomes,
urbanisation and growth of organised retail. The Food and Beverage service
industry is one of the most vibrant service industries within India with over
25% yearly growth. (FICCI, 2015). Expenditure
on food constitutes the majority of our consumption basket and with an
increasing young population, eating out will only grow. Eating out has evolved
from an occasion driven activity to an occasion in itself for the youth for
whom eating out is the most favoured activity besides hanging out with friends.
Moreover, people are travelling now more than ever. Food
shows are now becoming mainstream too. The fact that we now have multiple
television channels dedicated to food- be it just plain old recipes or about
how various food are sourced and manufactured and which are the new restaurants
breaking barriers, is evidence enough of how food is more than just something
to eat for the current generation. These have lead to people trying out new
food by eating out, take away, home delivery or cooking it themselves. There’s
a 68% increase in YouTube channels subscriptions which are based on food and
recipes (Jocelyn Delgado, Brad Johnsmeyer, Stan Balanovskiy Jun 2014). These
all have resulted in increased hunger of trying out new food and people are now
more interested in trying out ethnic food too.
Another change is that Indian families that are now are
predominantly nuclear and not the joint family we are used to seeing have
increased and are expected to keep on increasing. As a result, food habits have
changed due to changes in family structures. Since the food habits have
changed, there is an increased preference for convenience and higher instances
of eating out. Certain section has been exploring culinary experiences due to
the global mobility of the Indian consumer. The foray of Indian restaurants
into a variety of global cuisines is having a positive impact on the F
sector. Customers are more willing to experiment with different cuisines
because it is now easily accessible in the cities they live in, and this trend
could also increase Indian consumers’ frequency of eating out. This encouraged
to try ethnic food too.
Restaurants market to a wide diversity of individuals –
including those highly interested in ethnic foods and flavours. In a narrow
sense, ethnic foods are defined as foods originating from a heritage and
culture of an ethnic group who use their knowledge of local ingredients of
plants and/or animal sources. For example, Hindu food from India, Mexican food
from Mexico, and Farsi food from Iran are all considered ethnic foods. However,
the term ethnic food is ambiguous. Thus, in a broader sense, ethnic food can be
defined as an ethnic group’s or a country’s cuisine that is culturally and socially
accepted by consumers outside of the respective ethnic group. For example,
Greek food, Indian food, Italian food, Thai food, Arabic food and Korean food
are all considered ethnic food outside of their own countries. Furthermore,
foods eaten by people of different religions are also considered ethnic food.
For example, traditional Buddhist cuisine, Traditional Jain cuisine, Christian
cuisine, and Muslim cuisine are also included in the category of ethnic food (DY
Kwon, Journal of Ethnic Foods, 2017)
Manipal being a university town has a lot of diversity in the
students. The students here are students from all parts of India and there are
many from Malaysia, the Middle East, the USA and Netherlands too. This has
naturally led to opening up of restaurants that cater the cuisines of these
students and also cuisines that are popular among the students. Thus, there is
a vibrant ethnic food culture in Manipal.
The most sought after ethnic cuisine here is the Udupi
cuisine. Majority of the students in Manipal don’t belong to the quaint little
town. This makes them try the local cuisine of the place and help absorb and
understand the culture more. The humble dosa, a favourite throughout India was
invented in the restaurant Mitra Samaj located in the Krishna Mutt of Udupi.
The Udupi cuisine has a distinct character of being Sattvic and not using
onions and garlic. The fact that many ethnic restaurants like Kamath, La
Shangri La, Sheela’s, Pangala, Woodlands etc. are always full of students shows
the popularity of this ethnic cuisine. Students often have meals that serve
authentic fare like brown rice, sambhar rasam, buttermilk, etc. Mangalore buns,
goli bajje and filter coffee re staples too.
Chinese cuisine is another ethnic food that is very sought
after and the people seeking out Chinese food are well catered for. There
plenty of restaurants serving Chinses food like Yo! Dragon, Chayu’s, Chinese
Ethnic food from Italy is sought after and varieties are available.
However, they are limited to just the staples like pizzas, pastas and pastries
as these are what are in constant high demand. Onesta, Zzabar, Pizza Hut,
Domino’s Pizza, etc. serve Italian food.
A new ethnic cuisine taking by storm is the Mexican cuisine.
There is now a specialised Mexican restaurant in Manipal. Authentic Mexican
fare like burritos, quesadillas, tortillas, tostadas, enchiladas, etc. are
served at Mexican Burrito, Basil Café, etc. More and more people are trying
this authentic cuisine.
Arabic cuisine is also huge in demand. There are many NRIs
from the Middle East along with students belonging from Arabic countries.
Shawarmas, falafel, kabsa rice, Arabic milk shakes, etc. are found in the many
Arabic restaurants like Dishes, Danish, Flavours of Arabia, etc. The only thing
lacking however is any shop selling Arabic desserts.
Fast food of American cuisine is again found in Manipal. KFC,
McDonald’s, Johnny Rockets serve the original American fast food like burgers,
French fries, onion rings, floats, thick milkshakes, etc. and students can
easily fulfil their cravings for this cuisine’s desserts in Manipal by visiting
the bakeries like Crumbs, Just Bake, etc.
Ethnic Rajasthani food has been available since quite some
time. Students can visit the Rajasthani Mess in Ananthnagar and enjoy the
famous daal, baati, churma over here.
Mughlai cosine’s tandoori delights can be savoured in many
restaurants that serve delicious kebabs and curries. Charcoal, Maana the
Tandoor Destiny, Hotspot, etc. are the ones serving this cuisine
There are plenty of Malay students in Manipal and this led to
the other students trying their cuisine too. Malay cuisine like kwateoh,
sambal, curries etc. can be found at Asian K Flavours, KMC Foodcourt, etc.