Indians Go For Familiar Cuisine, Stresses “Halal”
By RICHARD A. RAMOS
Since the Philippines continues to explore new and burgeoning tourism markets, stakeholders need to familiarize with specific food and dietary preferences of certain nationalities to minimize possible misunderstandings and culture shock between host and guests.
In the case of India, not many Filipinos are aware that Indian tourists also patronize international cuisine such as Italian, Chinese, and Thai dishes which have gained global acceptance for their overall fine quality and certain food handling methods.
This may be an indirect way of saying that Indians may hesitate to taste Filipino cuisine due to their unfamiliarity with the ingredients, composition, and the cooking methods as a whole.
A glaring factor here is the need for more “halal-certified establishments” which advocates mercy killing of the animals with the least amount of pain.
Such concerns were raised by Glenn Agustin, DOT Head of India, in a recent tourism forum held in Cebu where he served as the main speaker for the Indian market.
He cautioned that Indian aficionados of such global dishes may go more for chicken or fish dishes while avoiding pork and beef due to deep-rooted cultural practices.
“The best approach,” he declared, “for the food and beverage outlets that target Indians is to work with travel and tour operators to include them in tour packages so as to be familiarized with their food habits.”
This way the food handlers would be exposed first-hand with the dining particulars of Indians, bearing in mind the sensitive preferences.
Such an issue is a foremost concern since food plays a major part in determining repeat visits.
“We should also keep in mind that a large number of Indians are vegetarians—thus the need for easy access to non-meat dishes and establishments that comply with their specifications and preferences,” Agustin continued.
In such a case, the hotel already contacts the halal-certified establishments in the city, buys their viands, and probably sends its kitchen staff over to observe the particular cooking practices of the establishment.