Take your taste buds on a culinary adventure of a lifetime in exotic India. If the Maharajas ruled ancient kingdoms, then spices reign supreme in Indian cuisine. Witness a food demonstration by a Maharaja, and dine with an erstwhile royal family while on this one-of-a-kind trip.

In celebration of Deepavali, Travel Researcher Intern, Shaikha Shaima has penned a special tribute article on the intricacies of Indian cuisine. Read on.

India’s Melting Pot

Indian cuisine is a feast for the senses. A single meal has the ability to ignite your sense of taste, smell, sight and touch simultaneously. Personally, I’ve always been fond of a good plate of dum briyani or the perfectly crispy puri. But what we see here in Singapore is just the tip of the iceberg; Indian cuisine is so much more diverse. Stroll down the streets of Little India, and you would pass by many north or south Indian restaurants. This has inadvertently formed a common misconception. Truth is: unique to every region, city, district and even village is their very own significant flavour.

Courtesy of a colleague, I recently had the privilege of indulging in a traditional Diwali meal, with dishes that run the gamut from briyani and idly, to naan and pappadum. For me, the highlight of the meal was the pani puri – a street snack that consists of a bite-sized puri, which is filled with a mixture of water (pani), tamarind, chilli, masala and potato.

The elaborate meal sparked my interest in Indian cuisine. Piqued, I looked up the dishes we enjoyed at the Diwali lunch and realised that the dishes were not simply random recipes, but a result of centuries of continuous evolution. Over the years, traders, immigrants and rulers passed through the country, bringing along with them many different culinary influences. Persian and Arabic influences led to the Mughal cooking style with thick gravies, as well as the use of dried fruits and nuts. While the country’s British colonial history, deeply influenced  their love affair with tea, or ‘chai’, as well as sparked the birthing of  the Anglo-Indian cuisine. And of course, we can also thank the Portuguese without whom we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our delicious Vindaloo today.

While I can go on expounding on the virtues of India’s culinary heritage, it wouldn’t really compare to making your own personal food pilgrimage to the motherland of spices. Imagine a journey through Delhi, Udaipur, Deogarh, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Agra to experience the true diversity of Indian cuisine, discovering the true gems of India’s cuisine; from street-side food to luxurious fine-dining meals inspired directly by the royal kitchens of the Maharajas.

Come 9 March 2013, we will be bringing an exclusive small group on an 11-day culinary adventure of India. We will be tracking down the almost forgotten recipes of the Maharajas, while enjoying an opulent travel style that only India can offer. Find out more here.

By Shaikha Shaima, Travel Researcher Intern