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Burger-Pizza culture versus Kachalu-Kulcha
By Pallavi Sareen
A little way away from the famous Kulcha shop of Sardar jee is McDonald's, the U.S based fast food chain. Domino's Pizza has opened up several outlets in Jammu city, yet Vimpi's Pizza, Lali Shah di Kulfee, Banta shop of Fattu Chowgan, Kaladi Kulcha of Parade and Girdhari Kachalu wala see a rush of young and old every day while McDonald's complains of low customers.

What is it about these local food joints that has kept the people of Jammu attracted even after most people in metropolitan cities quickly adapted to the western cuisines as much as they did to the western language, attire and culture? One point in favour of these traditional local shops would have to be the quantity to price ratio while not compromising with the quality at all.

The taste of that kulcha and that banta drink has not changed over the years and there has been a minimum to no changes in the price as well while McDonald's and Domino's are seen to be a costly affair. Even the school going students, depending on their pocket money, can afford these local snacks far more easily. One can find the kulcha walas on almost every nook and corner, but it has taken five years for McDonald's to open another branch in Jammu. One reason for that may also be the deep-rooted culture and tradition that people of Jammu do not want to trade for the new westernized life. While the youngsters may get attracted to the big fast food chains, the old generation still prefers the taste of their childhood.

Health consciousness may be another factor that accounts for the higher popularity of desi fast food since the local food joints gather the fresh ingredients from nearby places and thus are deemed more trustworthy as far as health is concerned. People in this town care more about the trust and credibility of the person preparing the food than the gloves and sterile atmosphere. If they can't see the whole process of their food being made, then the paranoia that it is bad for health is always there.

Now the point is, is this a good thing? One way of looking at this would be that Jammu city still chooses to stay on its traditional path and is reticent to modern changes. But the other aspect is that it is a good thing to stick to one's own culture. There is a nostalgic factor that comes in when people think of these local shops that have been there since their childhood and are now being carried on by generations of the same family.

Since people are opting for the indigenous cuisines, it sustains the livelihood of these local vendors, keeping them self-sustaining. A wave of change may be seen coming with the younger generation as they get allured by advertisements and marketing strategies of these food giants but as long as the Kulcha wala, Banta wala and Kachalu wala still roam in every street, reaching out to every person at a reasonable cost and providing the occasional taste of India, it will be a long time before the Burger Pizza culture spreads its roots in the town of Jammu.

News Updated at : Friday, June 8, 2018
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