Ever since the recessionary clouds have been hovering over the economies of the world, we have been listening to every analyst forecasting or repeating that China and India would be taking the lead in showing the world a way out of the dark times. I don’t want to get into probing or analysing, how much of that is happening, and (if it indeed is taking place, then) how. Instead of looking into already known facts and figures, I will be sharing an observation that resulted into this claim – while India is still in the process of becoming developed from developing economy, China has moved ahead. (A few days back, the Indian Prime Minister admitted that China have moved ahead of India in research and development. This might be one of the aspects of the larger picture.)
While growing up in India, the most common snacks that I (and lots of people) have grown up to is samosa. It is fried or baked triangular pastry shell with a savory filling, which may include spiced potatoes, onions, peas, coriander and lentils. From high-end shops to local kiosks, whosoever serves samosa, never runs into loss. It is an all-season hit. Samosa is likened by both the rich and the poor. However, the rich people became global long before the aam aadmi or the common man. He had cultivated tastes for lots of exotic stuffs. Continental food in this part of the world might have its fans, but it’s the recipes of the Far East that was unanimously likened by the taste buds of rich here as well as the West. Among the preferences for delicacies of the East, the Chinese food tops the list.
Once upon a time, eating Chinese was considered a big affair. Think about eating momos or dumplings in the late 90s. Where did you go to eat it and how much did it cost? (De Paul’s is the word that might pop up in the mind of the readers living in Delhi. Hence, I have included the second question. :P) However, like other Chinese items, availing Chinese food is no longer an extravagant affair.
Lately, Chinese food joints mushroomed in this country as engineering and medical colleges have – in every town, on every street. From good, cozy, fancy restaurants to kiosks, nowadays, you can avail good Chinese food pretty easily without burning a hole in your pocket. You might find it difficult to get good Punjabi food these days.
At this juncture, I remember a situation from a Bollywood movie, Kal Ho Na Ho. The hero – Shah Rukh Khan – plans to attract customers from a Chinese restaurant to his friend’s by offering samosa on the menu. The plan works there. I see a same sort of competition being offered by one of the Chinese cuisines, momos or dumplings, to our dear evening snacks, samosa.
It is really surprising to see a vendor selling momos at every 100-200 metres these days. (If you stay in Delhi or Noida, you definitely have seen it. You might prefer the momos available 200m away to the 100m one because of your taste buds.) And it is easy on your pocket, health (calories numbers), and amazingly, they don’t leave you with upsetting stomach either. For samosa, you might have to travel a little more than 200 metres.
So, by being easily accessible and economical, momo is certainly giving good competition to samosa. And my reason for saying so is that if the business was bad, vendors would have vanished long back and new ones wouldn’t have mushroomed.
Just like electronic items (do I need to provide a list? Remember, once upon a time expensive VCR, washing machine, heater, electric rod, sandwich maker, blender, etc., from stables of big companies and the really good, cheap Chinese variants of the same. :P) and other stuffs – from national flag, utensils to lights for Diwali decorations – whenever we want a lasting (not necessarily longlasting), budget stuff with value for money, we rely on ‘Made in China’ materials.
Is how momos have become a popular evening snacks an extension of one the Chinese way of leading the world?
Pause. Think over it.