Dabba project to give tourists taste of Indian cuisine

New Delhi: The flavour of India captured through its food is the next big idea in tourism, with the local Indian `dabba` going glam, under a project that seeks to showcase the variety in the country`s cuisine as well as attract tourists.

The "Incredible Tiffin" project by the Cuisine India Society launched here recently provides a tiffin packaged with local food for people outside the country, to help them get an idea of the choices of food available in India.

The project is part of the Tourism Ministry`s popular "Incredible India" campaign that was launched initially to attract more foreign tourists and has now successfully established India as a high-end tourist destination.

"Food has much more pleasure, joy and happiness attached to it rather than any other art form. Indian cuisine reflects spirit of India. When we have such wide varieties of exquisite cuisines to offer then why not let our tourists nurture a life long passion for Indian food," says Anil Rajput, Senior Vice President, ITC Maurya which hosted the project launch inaugurated by Tourism Minster, Subodh Kant Sahay here.

"We got food experts like Manisha Bhasin, Pushpesh Pant, Narendra Bhui and Gautam Anand who have done a wonderful job in providing a package `tiffin` which will not only spread awareness about Indian food but will make them fall for it," says Rajput. .

"Incredible Tiffin" an initiative put forward by Cuisine Society of India took four years to develop as a concept.

"Foreign tourists have a limited idea about Indian food. Unlike other countries the specifications of Indian food change every 100 kilometers and with each region, community and ethnic household kitchen. The basic idea was to gather huge spread of culinary offerings under one umbrella of Indian dabba," says Manisha Bhasin, Executive Chef, ITC Maurya.

She adds that the "Incredible Tiffin" project is also an initiative to document the history of food so that rare dishes are not lost to future generations.

"Incredible Tiffin" offers a well packaged platter of choicest offerings answering the question of what foreign tourists should look for Indian food while they are traveling to India.

Use of different tiffin carriers denotes different region and communities. The first to roll out in the Incredible Tiffin project is the rich Delhvi cuisine. Food from Delhi has been divided into Farmaishi (royal) cuisine and Saadgi (common man`s) food. In a sample Delhi tiffin four prevalent cuisines including Kayasthas, Vaish, Muslim and Punjabi have been included.

"Indian cuisine has spirit, influence, passion and zeal to attract tourists. With `Incredible Tiffin` being launched, we aim to attract 5 million more tourists to India" says Tourism Minister Sahay.

Applauding the Cuisine Society of India he adds "Food has already evolved significantly over 100 years. We are waiting for the day when chefs will also start getting ` Bharat Ratnas` and will be treated at par with musicians, authors and sports stars."

The man behind the concept V Sunil, Creative Director, `Incredible Tiffin` says "We can`t keep selling the Taj Mahal again and again in name of tourism. We need to explore wider areas and hence we decided to go deeper in to the food culture."

Sunil who was also the creative director of the Incredible India campaign adds "Packaging has always ruled the market. We have rich variety of cuisines but they needed to be packaged and presented well. So we decided to come up with something which had contemporary packaging with local connect and appeal".

Under the "Incredible Tiffin" campaign there will be Indian food weeks all over the world, tiffin boxes and food maps as well as books and pamphlets would be available for sale as memorabilia.