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Untapped Potential Of Relishable Delhi

Delhi witnessed a restaurant boom like no other city in the world. From the days when we could count top notch restaurant on our fingertips, today we have numerous standalone concepts today that would be a jewel in any city's culinary crown

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Australia is attracting tourists from across the world. It is enticing people to come and experience their bustling restaurant scene. This is one unique tourism initiative where a country buoyed by the popularity of its food based reality show Masterchef Australia is tapping the potential of its restaurant industry. Same for Singapore that wants the world to dine at its multi cuisine offerings and ditto for London where the Mayor Sadiq Khan is himself listing out some of the must try restaurants.

Closer home, the culinary capital of our country that boasts of some of the best concept eateries is not able to promote itself to the world. Delhi has arguably the best modern Indian and fusion Asian dining scene in the country. Our European menus and café concepts are at par if not better than many across the world. Yet why we are not able to promote this as major tourist attraction just shows how out of sync our laws and lawmakers are with present times.

Delhi witnessed a restaurant boom like no other city in the world. From the days when we could count top notch restaurant on our fingertips, today we have numerous standalone concepts today that would be a jewel in any city's culinary crown. The industry was no longer a private playing field being exploited by handful of caterers and five star spaces. It brought in many first timers who having travelled the world wanted their city too to sample best of global grub. Just as one was witnessing a vibrant food and nightlife scene that defied all slowdowns, the governments failed to be the support that would have allowed this industry to tap its full potential.

Delhi restaurants being featured among world's best and chefs being regarded as culinary doyens was a celebration of city's evolving dining scene. But the state government rather than being the big brother that allowed this sunshine industry to flourish chickened out at the prospect of being seen as promoting liquor. As a result many new spaces that opened in the city recently were not and are not yet being issued liquor licenses. If that was not enough, open spaces were denied permission to serve even food, let alone alcohol. This move coupled with demonetization is well and truly taking wind off this smooth sail.

The mindset that sees bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants as a rich man's indulgence where rich invest to set up the sin points and rich only spend their ill-gotten wealth is a thought that is as anachronistic as the mindset that black money hoarders still sleep on cash mattresses. Well paved pavements that let you enjoy a meal and a drink while catching majestic views of the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb or a Central Park is an idea that needs promotion than being curbed. More food and beverage joints open till late only add to city's image and safety. A black out in the night only pushes people to drink in dark alleys and leaves them vulnerable to anti-social elements.

While the heritage of any city was the biggest attraction till a few years, new age travelers boast of their experiences of admiring the Harbour Bridge in Sydney while sipping a beer or watching Venice while enjoying a pizza. We need to seriously look at the way we promote our city to international audience. If our governments need to seriously promote tourism, create jobs and invite investment, then they need to take a cue from global trends. Delhi being the hub of culture and cuisine can take a lead and show the way to rest of the country. It is time our authorities took it seriously as they are sitting on a goldmine. As an avid foodie and a traveler, I just hope they don't end up slaying the goose that has not yet even laid golden eggs.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Amna Mirza

The author is an alumini of DPS Mathura Road, St.Stephens College (Bachelors Degree), Hindu College (Masters Degree), M.Phil & PhD from University of Delhi where she is currently Assistant Professor of Political Studies. An avid traveller, voracious reader, her academic initiatives took her to University of Duisburg Essen (Germany), University of Fribourg (Switzerland) amongst others. She is recipient of 'Godfray Philips Golden Ovary Award', St.Stephens College Centenary Medal for 'character combined with learning', amongst others. She has three books to her credit which were well received by academic and others alike.

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