People’s Taste Preferences

It is very common to find that an individual likes sweet over salty or vice-versa; some don’t like to eat fruit or salad. This is due to the mindset that they have acquired from their childhood and which people, in general, think not possible to change. It is a very common practice in our country that many families eat very less salt without knowing the real requirement. Similarly, there are certain people who have a typical eating pattern and are reluctant to change when advised. But this perception that the eating habits can’t be changed is completely wrong as if an individual prepares himself or herself mentally, the change can be brought about very easily.

Along with environmental and cultural factors affecting our food choices, there is evidence that genetic makeup influences how we experience taste. The basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami are detected when chemicals that produce those tastes bind with certain receptors on our tongues. We all have different amounts of these various receptors, depending on our DNA, and research has shown that sensitivity to one particular bitter compound (which is easy to measure and is a marker of overall taste sensitivity) varies wildly between different countries.
If a person is not used to eat a particular food it would be difficult to change with a bang but slow and gradual shifts are possible in which liking for something new which a person is not used to can be developed. The mindset of the people plays an important role in liking and being habitual to a certain type of food. Mindset is developed following the family trend, duplicating the practices practised by elders of the family, geographical requirement and availability and also the peer pressure, especially in children and teenagers. In context to taste preferences and food culture, it is seen that different parts of the world have their signature food.

Food from Different Places

WESTERN FOOD

McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut, Pizza Square, Dominos are the few western food brand names that are famous all over the world, even in India. These food joints sell junk food like pizza, burger, French fries, hot dogs etc. with high-calorie content and full of fats and trans-fats (bad quality fat formed due to repeated heating of fats) and are low in fibre content.

CHINESE FOOD

Chinese food are better than the rest of the junks but still, they are modified to suit the Indian taste so there is the inclusion of refined cereal that are less in fibre and use of oil is high making it bad for consumption. Some Chinese food popular in our country include noodles, dumplings, momos, fried rice, Manchurian etc. On an Indian context also the mindset of the population is found to be inclined towards their regional food.

NORTHERN CUISINE

North cuisine cover states like – Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttaranchal, U.P., Haryana, M.P. North Indians seem to prefer Indian bread over rice. This region is home to the tandoori roti and naans (bread made in a clay tandoor/oven), stuffed parathas and kulchas (bread made from the fermented dough). Rice is also popular and made into elaborate like biryanis and pulao. Popular dishes in north India are matar paneer, briyani, pulao, daal makhani, dahi gosht, butter chicken, chicken tikka, fish amritsari, samosa, chat, motichoor ladoo etc.

SOUTHERN CUISINE

Tamil Nadu is one of the important states of South India. Besides its rich cultural past, it reminds us that the unique taste of cuisines such as idli, dosa, uttapam, rasam, sambhar, vada etc. Kerala is another significant state of south India. Here, the staple food of localities is fish accompanied by steaming rice of usually large size grains. The people here prepare special snacks with these fruits like banana chips and jackfruits chips. Which is equally liked and appreciated by the outsiders who came here they make sure they have at least a few bags of these items in there carry home luggage. Homemade pickles, papads and dry chutney powders to be used with dosa or idli or rice are the famous culinary tradition of the region.

WESTERN CUISINE

Western Indian cuisine has three major regions: Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. Maharashtrian cuisine has mainly two sections defined by the geographical sections. The coastal region, geographically similar to Goa depends more on rice, coconut and fish. The hilly region of the Western Ghats and Deccan plateau regions use groundnut in place of coconut and depend more on jowar(sorghum) and bajra( millet) as staples. On various special occasions sweets like pooran poli, shrikhand, modak etc. are prepared. Maharashtrian fast food includes one of the most popular dishes called pav bhaji. Gujrati cuisine is predominantly vegetarian. Many Gujarati dishes have a hint of sweetness due to the use of sugar or brown sugar or gur (jaggerey). Gujarati cuisine offers wide range of vegetarian delicacies because of Hinduism practiced by majority of Gujarati population, encouraging vegetarian diet.

Though non-vegetarian foods and fried foods of different places are mentioned here but SAAOL strictly restricts any kind of animal food.