Chandigarh: The all-pervasive "tandoori chicken" is being slowly nudged away from the plates of food connoisseurs in Punjab and Prawns and lobsters are taking its place.
This seems evident from the response of a large number food lovers who are thronging the ongoing seafood festival in Chandigarh these days.
Punjab, which has catered to the gourmets' palates with the delicious "butter chicken" and "tandoori chicken", the two much relished varieties of poultry, is the most happening place for all food freaks. Fishing nets and colorful paintings from the Goa are attracting visitors to a popular hotel in the city, but the real bait lies inside.
Freshly cooked tiger prawns and steaming lobsters appear to be too appetizing to risk leaving. "Our sales have gone up two to three times more as compared to what we generally serve over here. We usually serve poultry and red meat but people are now going away from red meat. They prefer to go in for these fish. And besides these fish, we have a variety of seafood like crab which serves as a good variety for people. They are thrilled to order for crabs and lobsters and do take a risk in ordering for these seafood," says Rajiv Kakkar, General Manager of the hotel hosting the festival.
Kakkar has invited a master chef from Goa to tickle the taste buds of Punjabis who are traditionally considered very devoted to their own cuisine. But times seem to be changing. Prawns cooked in garlic and white wine appear to be an out-of-the-world experience for Punjabis.
"It's a good change from daily eating chicken and mutton. We usually order chicken and mutton when we go out to eat but sea food is very different from other Indian food," said Sarika Sharma, a visitor.
There were many who believed seafood should in fact be encouraged considering its health benefits compared to red meat and even poultry. "It is not a change, its actually required to get away from the butter chicken culture. Seafood is definitely healthier and must be encouraged," said Deepak Shah, another visitor.
Besides the Amritsar Pomfret, a local fish delicacy, the 15-day festival features the choicest Thai, French and Mexican seafood delights as well.