Val­ley un­rest takes the flavour out of Kash­miri fare

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Ab­hi­nav Verma

The con­flict in Kash­mir is weigh­ing down restau­rants serv­ing Kash­miri fare in the Cap­i­tal. With cooks stuck in Kash­mir due to the lock­down and chal­lenges in sourc­ing au­then­tic ingredients, many Kash­miri res­tau­rant own­ers fear that they might have to shut shop tem­po­rar­ily. “You can make au­then­tic Kash­miri food only if you have wazas (tra­di­tional Kash­miri chefs) in your kitchen. My chefs went to Kash­mir for sum­mer va­ca­tion and they are stuck there. It’s be­com­ing al­most im­pos­si­ble to run my eatery,” says Mo­ham­mad Shafi, owner of Ahad Sons, a Kash­miri res­tau­rant in Uday Park. An­other res­tau­rant owner says that he has lost many loyal cus­tomers in the last few days. “The cur­few has caused ma­jor losses. I can’t serve au­then­tic del­i­ca­cies such as Dhani­wal Ko­rma and Rista any­more as they re­quire spe­cial spices that I pro­cure from Kash­mir. My regular cus­tomers have stopped com­ing be­cause of that. I used to buy 50kg of meat daily, but now I get only 3kg,” says Ghu­lam Hus­sain, owner, Kash­miri Res­tau­rant in Old Delhi.

How­ever, some be­lieve that it’s the ‘gen­eral neg­a­tiv­ity to­wards Kash­miris’ that’s lead­ing to sud­den loss of cus­tomers. “The strife has cre­ated a neg­a­tive im­age of Kash­miris. There’s a lot of mis­placed ha­tred. This is why peo­ple have stopped com­ing,” says owner of a Kash­miri res­tau­rant, who doesn’t want to be named.

In­dus­try ex­perts sym­pa­thise with the plight of the res­tau­rant own­ers. “Kash­miri cui­sine is very popular in Delhi. It’s sad to see the busi­ness of Kash­miri restau­rants suf­fer due to neg­a­tiv­ity brought by the cri­sis,” says Push­pesh Pant, food his­to­rian and critic.

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The cri­sis has caused ma­jor losses. I can’t serve au­then­tic Kash­miri fare any­more GHU­LAM HUS­SAIN, OWNER, KASH­MIRI RES­TAU­RANT, JAMA MASJID

PHOTO: SHIVAM SAX­ENA /HT

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