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Culinary Escapism

Well, dear reader, as you may have noticed, we’ve been wheeling around Bangalore with our dear India Bureau Chief, Nikhil Kulkarni, conducting a special report on entrepreneurship and innovation in that most interesting Indian city. And while we’ve been sharing those reports with you, we are also quite aware that many of you rely on AsiaWheeling as a source of data on interesting Asian foods. And, as you won’t be surprised to hear, we’ve been doing plenty of research on that as well here in Bangalore.

In fact, before we share some of those experiences with you, it might be relevant to mention an interesting phenomenon that we have been experiencing while eating and relaxing with our friends living in India. Namely, that many of them practice something I will define here as culinary escapism.

Culinary escapism, for the purposes of this piece of correspondence, is the propensity of an individual to pursue culinary experiences with the aim of escaping from his or her current surroundings. This can manifest itself in a few ways, but in AsiaWheeling’s experience it almost always means expensive food. Be it Indian or of some other ethnic variant, we have found that all of our friends in India use meals as a means of temporarily relieving themselves of the many stressful jolts that spice this country.

We, here at AsiaWheeling, being in pursuit of the extremes of experience and generally agreeable fellows, have been happy to follow suit and engage in, even foot the bill for, some quite flagrantly escapist meals. So, dear reader, you may find the following series of images to be startling in their lavish nature. We did too.

We have little need for culinary escapism here at AsiaWheeling, since the local cuisine refreshes itself every few days, and we are, after all, in search of, among other things, presence and lucidity within our surroundings (hence all the coffee).

Nonetheless, this phenomenon is worth taking a second to discuss, because it plays a very important role in both the lives of wealthy expatriates and anyone else here who can afford to eat food from a different culture. I imagine most of the non-immigrant clientele at an Ethiopian restaurant in Boulder, Colorado are practicing (an albeit diluted form of) culinary escapism as well. I dare say even many of you out there, dear readers, engage in a little bit of it while reading AsiaWheeling.  Of course, one may even argue that AsiaWheeling’s entire gastronomic adventure is an extended bout of culinary escapism.

What makes it so particularly interesting here in India is its prevalence and its intensity. As we dine with our friends here, we are without exception, also engaging in some of the most extraordinary escapism I have ever seen.

Is it India? Is it our friends? Likely a little of both, but while our budget for Bangalore lies in tattered rags at our feet, rejoice with us in the myriad of interesting places where we joined our friends to seek shelter from the reality outside.


  1. Rohan | March 18th, 2010 | 2:39 pm

    Mmm…delicious poori…

  2. Brandon | March 18th, 2010 | 3:32 pm

    That is a great passage on the water bottle

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