Its fair to say that 80-90% of the "Indian restaurants" outside of India feature the cuisine of Northern India (Particularly the state of Punjab),
Pakistan and Bangladesh. And of course, they are really 'South East Asian' restaurants since
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and others are individual
countries. Just think of your all time favourites - Tandoori chicken (New Delhi) Butter chicken, Saag paneer and naan
(Punjab and Chandigarh, Biriyani kebabs (Pakistan and Bangladesh). There are far fewer restaurants showcasing the dishes of other regional Indian
cuisines from the many states and of course, you can sometimes find a few selected dishes on restaurant menus, particularly dishes from Goa
(Lamb vindaloo and Chicken xacuti) as well as Tamil Nadu (Dosa and Idli).
The joke in my South Indian Kerala family is "North Indians create wonderful restaurants abroad, while South Indians typically become engineers,
doctors and nurses" Majority of Indian nurses which you see around are from South India - especially from the state of Kerala. It's the only state in
India which has a 100 % literacy rate and has 4 international airports.
In terms of geographic size, the Indian subcontinent is similar in size as of continental Europe. There are 28 states in India and 50 countries in
Europe. In many ways, Indian states are like individual countries, with their own unique language, attire and cuisine. Think of the sharp differences
between Germany and Greece spread over such a vast area of land, cradled by the Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal with the Indian ocean flowing
around south india, its geography, climate, vegetables, fruits and herbs are native to certain regional and local areas that all play a part. Just as
grapes flourish in the champagne region of France and black truffles thrive in northern Italy certain things are native to different geographic
regions of India.
Indian Chinese cuisine was born in Tangra, located on the east of Kolkata, the only China Town in India. The Chinese of Kolkata were best known for
leather shoe manufacturers, beauty parlor owners and dentists. Thousands of Hakka Chinese focused their business mainly on leather tanneries at Tangra.
Hardworking and ambitious, they would not spare any field, so, why food? Influenced by local culture and taste, they opened restaurants for Bengalis
by spicing the bland sauces with hot fresh green chillies. As Bengalis love to eat and explore anything new, they found a new and addictive taste with
a perfect balance of hot, sweet and sourness in the dishes. With this identity, the Indian Chinese food spread to almost all street corners of
Kolkata. Within a short span of time, it spread to the whole of India with the regional influence of food habits. The green chillies in Kolkata's
chili chicken might have got replaced by dry red chili in Delhi's chili chicken, but the Indian Chinese food fever did not spare any Indian from
their great grandchildren to their great grandparents. You may find Indians not knowing about many regionally popular Indian dishes but you cannot
find an Indian not knowing about Hakka Chow Mein, Chili Chicken and Gobi Manchurian. Indian Chinese food transformed into a complete cuisine when
thousands of Tibetans migrated to India. India is home to a large number of Tibetan refugees from Tibet.
So Radio Malabar is all about amalgamation of South Indian Kerala cuisine with an Indo Chinese twist.