Wondering how a pizza can be made on a handcart, Chaudhary also sees humour in the name of the vendor. “It is called Tripal sandwich. Maybe he wanted to write triple,” he adds with a guffaw. Local flavours dominate here and the city has 150 good eating joints that can be reached in 15 to 20 minutes from any direction, says Abhishek Deshpande, a software entrepreneur. “Now this closed group is educating us further about what to eat and where,” he says. The group brushes up the list of most popular dhabas by adding Puransingh dhaba on Wardha Road, Kartar in Gaddigodam and Sharma on Katol Road to it. Param ki dal in Itwari is also mentioned as a must. Coming to the ubiquitous samosa, the group agrees that the type available in Nagpur is different. “Nowhere else in the world will you get a samosa with sambhar,” informs Baldev Singh Rawat, an engineer. “Try it out at Preeti’s corner or even at Shankar Ashram near Medical Square where they are selling it since 1931,” he adds. Another inference drawn is that this city has a spicy palette. “Just check out the poha sold here. I had always thought poha is food for the ailing as it is light and low on spice, till I tried it in Nagpur,” says Tushar Soni, another engineering student who as a Mumbaikar was missing vada pav and pav missal. “This city has its own version of poha served with a spicy tari. The Saoji poha sold at Mate Chowk is the ultimate,” he informs.
Bonded by food
The brinjal resembles the texture of a squid, and the jack fruit is like fish. Even a gourmand would not mind a Pizza with South east Asian herbs such as lemon grass and sage, says Limaye, who serves a Basil Mushroom puff stuffed with goat cheese, Asian herbs, soy and ginger. It maybe a baked American puff, but the aftertaste will give you a pure South East Asian experience, claims Limaye. His dessert menu in fact pushes home the point. The humble Samosa is transformed here into a chocolate and mint molten lava. I have taken the samosa and created my version of the gooey molten lava. The filling is soft, chocolate-minty and devoid of cake and egg, he says. Global village Indeed the mash-up trend seems to have gone viral, helped along the way by each chef or restaurateurs personal background. Chef Dharmesh Karmokar for instance, is half Gujarati, half Bengali and this influences his cooking style at Nom Nom, where he is employed. Fusion food often has a negative connotation, but if you leave it to a chef, he will create something a lot more sensible. At Nom Nom, I serve my version of the popular Parsi dish, Patra Ni Machi. It is basically steamed fish, stuffed with South East Asian herbs, topped with Prawn Crackers in Honey Chilli sauce.
Food Prices: One Year After
The outlook for international food markets finally looks brighter today, at least for consumers. The FAO Food Price Index has fallen for the last five months and cereal prices are around 20 percent lower than in August 2012 thanks to a better supply outlook and healthier stock levels. FAO is forecasting an 8 percent increase in world cereal production this year. Higher production allows for rebuilding of stocks, which had fallen to historically low levels. An expected 13 percent increase in world cereal closing stocks should drive up the global stock-to-use ratio to 23.3 percent, the highest since 2003. If the expected increases in stock-to-use ratios are confirmed, then the markets will have greater resilience to any shocks and price volatility should be restrained It is also important to recognize the role of global governance in this positive development, by increasing transparency, market information and helping control factors that had led to price spikes before. The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) played an important role in making this happen. Set up by the G20 in 2011 with a multi-agency secretariat hosted by FAO, AMIS provided timely and reliable information, increasing transparency in the international food market and assuring better coordination between the main players to reduce market instability and unilateral action. The United Nations System also granted the issue high priority. The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security repeatedly and energetically called for calm and coordination, contributing to contain price increases. The reformed Committee on World Food Security — that will session starting Monday October 7 — has proven its value as the most inclusive forum to discuss food security and, in a landmark achievement, endorsed last year the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security . Among many other initiatives, last October FAO hosted a ministerial summit to discuss food prices, co-organized with the Government of France who played a leading role in establishing AMIS. In 2007-8, increased use of maize for biofuel production was pressuring food prices, excessive speculation on futures markets accentuated price volatility and panic buying and export restrictions led to prices spinning out of control. But, in 2012, these elements were generally controlled and good sense prevailed in markets. The importance of linkages between food and energy markets has been recognized and the costly biofuel policies implicated in pushing up food prices in recent years are being questioned in a number of countries, including the USA.