Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Street Food

February 21, 2013

It all began as a source of cheap food for poor people, but the rich taste of street food has taken the world by storm. Every country, every city is known for its special street food. This food has evolved over the years due to various influences, be it changing ingredients, immigrants etc.
In India one has always grown up with ‘Chaat’. You may call it ‘Golguppa’ in Delhi, ‘Paanipuri’ in Mumbai or ‘Puchka’ in Kolkatta; but the sweet, tangy, spicy and crunchy treat is a classic. Delhi remains most famous for its ‘Chaat’, Mumbai will always be the ‘Pao bhaji’ capital of the world. What is most fascinating is that the same ingredients come together to create such unique experiences all through the country. So while Mumbai might serve up an amazing ‘Bhelpuri’, Bengal’s seemingly similar ‘Jhaal muri’ is a treat for the senses. Of course, with growing global influences you can now find ‘Chinese chaat’, ‘Lebanese shwarmas’ and American ‘hot dogs’ available on Indian city streets today.
The street food culture in the USA is perhaps the only one that can be compared to the street food in India. It all began in New York, where the hustle and bustle of the city lent itself well to quick tasty food. The result was hot dogs on the go. From there its grown to a multimillion dollar industry that includes immigrant food traditions like the Middle Eastern ‘Falaffel rolls’, Italian pizzas, Mexican burritos and Greek gyros! Of course, in the US a new street food phenomena is brewing, that of gourmet street food. So it won’t be odd to see trucks parked on the street selling fancy french crepes and frog’s legs and Peruvian stir fry’s!
Street food in the UK is a more recent phenomena. There wasn’t much else besides fish and chips and bar food that Britain could claim by way to pedestrian fare; but all that is about to change. A big influence comes from our very own India. All sorts of curries and tikkas find favor amongst the British population. Its the same immigrant culture that has influenced America, which is taking the UK streets by storm. So today you will find everything from Southern Pulled pork sandwiches to Korean comfort food on a Londoner’s platter!
So wherever in the world you may be, street foods seems to offer up the world on a plate!


Managing Expenses Abroad

June 25, 2012

When I left Punjab and came to the UK, it was not under ideal circumstances. My father had passed away suddenly. His business was taken over by his partners. My younger sister, my mother and I found ourselves, quite literally, on the road. The only way out, the little money we had saved, would be ‘invested’ in my education so that I could make something of myself and support the family.

And this is not my isolated story. It may not be under duress as it was the case with me; but an overwhelming majority of young Indians leave their beloved home towns and come away abroad, for one thing and one thing only – to improve their lot and that of their families back home. Very few people want to voluntarily just leave India. It’s with a clear focus, of earning well, and saving even more.

And that’s what I want to share with you today – my experiences post my education here in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. It’s been two years now since I started working here in London. Fortunately, my very first job was good, at least in terms of salary. I could have comfortably rented a place of my own from the word go. But I never lost sight of my goal and of the larger picture and chose to stay in a cheap hostel. Slowly but regularly, I would save money each month. It was the kind of money management that no school or programmer could teach. Cook myself in the hostel pantry and deep freeze the daal rather than eating out or ordering for a take away – change three trains to get to work rather than taking one cab.

These, and many other frugal money management steps made me save a substantial sum of my salary each month. Even the money transfer service I chose was selected after a careful scrutiny of all the available options. Indus Fast Remit, from day one, is what I used to send money home each month. Slowly but surely, my mother with the help of an elderly uncle, was able to pay off all our creditors and got our share of the business back!

Thanks to those savings and savings that I continue to make, we have got my sister married as well. We have renovated our ancestral home. A lot has been accomplished. And while I know you may be thinking that I am showing off, the truth is, I am. Because, I am very proud of the sacrifices I have made, because that money management has helped put my family back on its feet. And that to me, and to several others like myself, Indians working the world over, is the biggest joy in the face of leaving our beloved homeland.

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