Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing

Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing

Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing By Rebecca Rosman • 10 hours ago View Slideshow 1 of 3 Boman Kohinoor, 97, has spent the past eight decades committed to his beloved Britannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafes. Here, he proudly holds up a photo of himself with two members of the British royal family: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Chicken berry pulao is the signature dish at Britannia and Co. Listen / Listen to the Story
The brown walls are peeling at all ends. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. And the cash register — if you can call it that — is just a series of old wooden drawers.
“I’m going to put up a sign that says ‘Enter at your own risk.’ Otherwise someone is going to hold me liable,” says Romin Kohinoor, one of the owners of the nearly century-oldBritannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafes.
Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors have long been seen as more of an attraction than a liability.
Parsi cafes like Britannia & Co. started popping up around Mumbai in the late 19th century. They were founded by Parsis — Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in their native Persia. The cafes became popular among many in India because, in a society where caste systems and long-standing taboos remain omnipresent, these cafes offered a place where various parts of Indian society mingled freely.
They are, in a word, cosmopolitan. They are also, in two words, dying out.
One of the world’s oldest religions, Zoroastrianism began thousands of years ago in what is now Iran, and the faith predates Islam. A central ethical tenet of the faith is to promote “good words, good thoughts and good deeds.” The Zoroastrian migrants brought to India not only their religious traditions but also their unique cuisine, offering a table to people of all classes, religions and ethnicities in an atmosphere scented with Iranian and Gujarati spices. Parsi cafes are emblems of tolerance, a core teaching of the Prophet Zoroaster, and their affordable food and snug tables attest to their place as servers of the common man.
At one point, there were around 400 Parsi cafes scattered across Mumbai. Today, there are less than 40.
A dwindling Parsi population, combined with little interest from newer generations to take over these family-owned businesses, means that there may not be any Parsi cafes in just a few decades.
But Britannia & Co. has a secret to standing strong amid a sea of dying neighbors: the 97-year-old owner, Boman Kohinoor, who has spent the past eight decades committed to his beloved cafe.
“They say habit is second nature,” the bespectacled owner tells me over a generous plate of chicken berry pulao, the restaurant’s signature dish. “And habit has kept me coming here every day now for the last 80 years.”
Every day during the busy lunch hour, Kohinoor slowly makes his way around each table to partake in one of his favorite activities: schmoozing. Current favorite topics include the British monarchy, U.S. politics and his longevity plans. (He plans on breaking the Guinness World Record for oldest living person.)
India was still under British rule when Kohinoor’s father opened the cafe in 1923, which inspired the cafe’s name. “My father wanted to please the local commissioner, who was handing out leases at the time,” says Kohinoor.
When the restaurant opened, the menu consisted mostly of lighter European fare. It wasn’t until after independence from the British in 1947 that Kohinoor decided to revamp the menu, adding a slew of Iranian comfort food options that have since become the favorites here — dishes like sali boti, a lamb curry stewed with tomatoes, jaggery and onions and topped with fried potato strings.
Or the chicken berry pulao — moist chunks of chicken cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce, mixed with a rice pilaf and garnished with Iranian sour barberries. Downed with a fresh lime soda and crème caramel, it’s hard not to indulge.
Most items on the menu today follow the original recipes of Kohinoor’s late wife, Bacha — and they remain a fiercely guarded secret.
A small black-and-white photo of Bacha hangs on the wall alongside the restaurant’s entrance. On the other side of the room is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II next to a painting of Gandhi. Several depictions of the Prophet Zoroaster, cloaked in white robes, are also on display. Each serves as a reminder of the cafe’s unique cultural heritage.
Zoroastrians started arriving in India around 1,300 years ago to escape religious persecution from Arab invaders in their native Persia. By the mid-20th century, around 120,000 Parsis lived in India. Today there are less than half that. Zoroastrians don’t believe in conversion, making it hard to keep the religion alive.
But the more immediate problem for families like Kohinoor’s is a generational one.
Younger generations don’t want to inherit the long hours — and the risk of low returns — that come with running a restaurant.
“I’m only doing this for my dad,” admits Kohinoor’s 58-year-old son Romin, who has been working the register at Britannia & Co. for four decades. “He doesn’t want to close this place down. He doesn’t want to sell it at all.”
Romin has a 27-year-old daughter, Diana, who comes in at the end of each day to do the restaurant’s books.
She was studying law at university but didn’t really like it.
Now, “I would not want it to end because of me. So let’s take it forward,” she says.
But with her grandfather still going strong, her promotion from accountant to owner may be a while.
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WNIN

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Me Oh My Oh, Just Like The Bayou – Is Belize’s Cuisine The Cajun Cooking of Latin America?

Me Oh My Oh, Just Like The Bayou – Is Belize’s Cuisine The Cajun Cooking of Latin America? 180 Print Mail The Uk’s Telegraph seems to think so…
First, full disclosure – we happen to think the Great State of Louisiana has more culture in its little finger than many other places combined.
The music scene – from Delta Blues to pumping Zydeco to the richly textured jazz of New Orleans – is beyond compare. We’re talking about a town where people line the streets to dance and jive when an orchestrated funeral passes, and every second door seems to open into a club or music venue, where the very language is richly poetic, and the Mardi Gras has been copied the world over, but never equalled.
And then there’s the food… from Beignets for breakfast to shrimp po’boys for lunch to Jambalaya, Gumbos and Etouffee for dinner, there’s nothing like Cajun.
So when one of the world’s most well known newspapers, England’s Daily Telegraph, put Belizean food in the same class as Cajun cuisine, our appetites for another helping of news was as sharp as a French Quarter waiter’s attire.
In an article titled The English-speaking country with ancient ruins, spectacular wildlife – but hardly any tourists, we found this tasty morsel:
“Belizean food stands out in Latin American as much as Cajun food does in the United States. It’s spicy, usually stewed, heavy on seafood, usually comes with beans and rice, and is often topped with Marie Sharp’s famous hot sauce…. As a bonus that can only lead you to better food, there are no McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Starbucks, or KFC’s in the entire country. Check out our Top 9 Belizean Eats blog:
Of course! It had been staring us in the face for years!
Belizean cuisine is to Central and South America what Cajun is to North American dining – totally unique, totally awesome, and in a class of its own.
When you think about it, it makes sense. Belize and Louisiana are both multicultural melting pots with incredibly colourful histories, such as being ports of call for pirates, rumrunners and other interesting characters.
So, no wonder there are similarities. Cajun draws on a mixture of French styles with indigenous ingredients, while Belize’s cuisine incorporates Spanish influences with indigenous Maya. And both are influenced by Africa and the various spices sailors brought from around the world.
And both are uniquely, some may say insanely, delicious.
Just as a few years back Cajun food was all the rage, Belizean cuisine is finally getting the respect it deserves as more and more visitors return home with glowing reports about dining in Belize. And, more to the point, dining at Chaa Creek .
Situated in the Heartland of the Maya in the multicultural Cayo District of Western Belize, Chaa Creek began life in the 1970s as a farm whose young owners shared an interest in the local environment and culture. Before long, Mick and Lucy Fleming were offering farm-to-table dining before they even heard the term, and with cooks and staff hailing from Maya, Creole, Mestizo, Garifuna, East Indian , North American and other backgrounds, what is now known as Nouvelle Belizean and Belizean Fusion took off.
As Chaa Creek grew with the Fleming siblings Bryony and Piers, the family opened another eatery in nearby San Ignacio Town – the award-winning Guava Limb Café. And more recently Bryony, now as managing director, hit upon an idea that has become one of Chaa Creek’s most popular onsite attractions – The Open Hearth .
Just like Belizean cuisine, there’s nothing quite like the Open Hearth. Inside a traditional, representational thatched roof Belizean bush kitchen, guests receive a crash course in the individual cultures that make up Belize’s multicultural melting pot while learning to cook authentic ethnic meals under the care of local cooks.
During Mestizo Mondays, East-Indian Tuesdays, Creole Wednesdays, Garifuna Thursdays and Maya Friday, Chaa Creek guests have the rare opportunity to learn the various ethnic styles that make Belizean cuisine such a richly rewarding culinary experience. One can even visit the traditional Maya Organic Farm to learn how farming practices thousand of years old now supply the onsite Mariposa Restaurant and San Ignacio’s Guava Limb Restaurant & Café .
So – in addition to priceless experiences, photographs and memories, Chaa Creek’s guests can now return home with new cooking skills and recipes guaranteed to enhance their culinary repertoire and take their dinner parties to a whole new level.
In kitchens across Louisiana, cooks sing that Hank Williams classic while creating magic:
“Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me o my oh Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the Bayou
Jambalaya and a Crawfish pie, and filé gumbo,
Son of a gun, we’ll have fun, down on the Bayou”
Now, with Belizean cuisine taking off, we may soon be hearing:
“Adios Jose, me gonna go, me oh my oh Me gotta paddle me canoe down the Macal –oh
Rice and beans, tamales, garnaches and a boyo
Now I’m pining, to go back to Belize For more dining” JOIN THE COMMUNITY! Enjoyed this article? Join over 1,700 readers and get the best Belize travel content, tips, and deals delivered to your inbox each week. Enter your name and email below. 100% privacy. Your information will never be shared. You may also like:

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Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing

Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing By Rebecca Rosman • 15 hours ago Boman Kohinoor, 97, has spent the past eight decades committed to his beloved Britannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafes. Here, he proudly holds up a photo of himself with two members of the British royal family: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and the former Kate Middleton. Rebecca Rosman for NPR / Originally published on June 2, 2019 11:55 am
The brown walls are peeling at all ends. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. And the cash register — if you can call it that — is just a series of old wooden drawers.
“I’m going to put up a sign that says ‘Enter at your own risk.’ Otherwise someone is going to hold me liable,” says Romin Kohinoor, one of the owners of the nearly century-oldBritannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafes.
Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors have long been seen as more of an attraction than a liability.
Parsi cafes like Britannia & Co. started popping up around Mumbai in the late 19th century. They were founded by Parsis — Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in their native Persia. The cafes became popular among many in India because, in a society where caste systems and long-standing taboos remain omnipresent, these cafes offered a place where various parts of Indian society mingled freely.
They are, in a word, cosmopolitan. They are also, in two words, dying out.
One of the world’s oldest religions, Zoroastrianism began thousands of years ago in what is now Iran, and the faith predates Islam. A central ethical tenet of the faith is to promote “good words, good thoughts and good deeds.” The Zoroastrian migrants brought to India not only their religious traditions but also their unique cuisine, offering a table to people of all classes, religions and ethnicities in an atmosphere scented with Iranian and Gujarati spices. Parsi cafes are emblems of tolerance, a core teaching of the Prophet Zoroaster, and their affordable food and snug tables attest to their place as servers of the common man.
At one point, there were around 400 Parsi cafes scattered across Mumbai. Today, there are less than 40.
A dwindling Parsi population, combined with little interest from newer generations to take over these family-owned businesses, means that there may not be any Parsi cafes in just a few decades.
But Britannia & Co. has a secret to standing strong amid a sea of dying neighbors: the 97-year-old owner, Boman Kohinoor, who has spent the past eight decades committed to his beloved cafe. On one wall of Britannia & Co. is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Next to her is a painting of Gandhi. Each serves as a reminder of the cafe’s unique cultural heritage. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
“They say habit is second nature,” the bespectacled owner tells me over a generous plate of chicken berry pulao, the restaurant’s signature dish. “And habit has kept me coming here every day now for the last 80 years.”
Every day during the busy lunch hour, Kohinoor slowly makes his way around each table to partake in one of his favorite activities: schmoozing. Current favorite topics include the British monarchy, U.S. politics and his longevity plans. (He plans on breaking the Guinness World Record for oldest living person.)
India was still under British rule when Kohinoor’s father opened the cafe in 1923, which inspired the cafe’s name. “My father wanted to please the local commissioner, who was handing out leases at the time,” says Kohinoor.
When the restaurant opened, the menu consisted mostly of lighter European fare. It wasn’t until after independence from the British in 1947 that Kohinoor decided to revamp the menu, adding a slew of Iranian comfort food options that have since become the favorites here — dishes like sali boti, a lamb curry stewed with tomatoes, jaggery and onions and topped with fried potato strings.
Or the chicken berry pulao — moist chunks of chicken cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce, mixed with a rice pilaf and garnished with Iranian sour barberries. Downed with a fresh lime soda and crème caramel, it’s hard not to indulge.
Most items on the menu today follow the original recipes of Kohinoor’s late wife, Bacha — and they remain a fiercely guarded secret.
A small black-and-white photo of Bacha hangs on the wall alongside the restaurant’s entrance. On the other side of the room is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II next to a painting of Gandhi. Several depictions of the Prophet Zoroaster, cloaked in white robes, are also on display. Each serves as a reminder of the cafe’s unique cultural heritage. Chicken berry pulao is the signature dish at Britannia & Co. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
Zoroastrians started arriving in India around 1,300 years ago to escape religious persecution from Arab invaders in their native Persia. By the mid-20th century, around 120,000 Parsis lived in India. Today there are less than half that. Zoroastrians don’t believe in conversion, making it hard to keep the religion alive.
But the more immediate problem for families like Kohinoor’s is a generational one.
Younger generations don’t want to inherit the long hours — and the risk of low returns — that come with running a restaurant.
“I’m only doing this for my dad,” admits Kohinoor’s 58-year-old son Romin, who has been working the register at Britannia & Co. for four decades. “He doesn’t want to close this place down. He doesn’t want to sell it at all.”
Romin has a 27-year-old daughter, Diana, who comes in at the end of each day to do the restaurant’s books.
She was studying law at university but didn’t really like it.
Now, “I would not want it to end because of me. So let’s take it forward,” she says.
But with her grandfather still going strong, her promotion from accountant to owner may be a while. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Mumbai, India, has been at the crossroads of cultures for millennia. In the 19th century, refugees from Iran fleeing religious persecution opened what came to be called Parsi cafes. At one point, there were 400 of them. Today, there are fewer than 40. Rebecca Rosman visited one of the last Parsi cafes.
REBECCA ROSMAN, BYLINE: The first thing you notice when you walk into Britannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s most popular Parsi cafes, is that the place is kind of falling apart. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. The brown walls are peeling. And the cash register, if you can call it that, is just a series of old wooden drawers.
ROMIN KOHINOOR: Very old-fashioned, very old-fashioned, see. And I don’t want to change it because I’ve got so used to it.
ROSMAN: Fifty-eight-year-old Romin Kohinoor has been working behind this register for four decades.
R KOHINOOR: This is my grandfather’s counter bell.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
R KOHINOOR: It’s 98 years old, and it is made from British gun metal. See the echo. See the echo.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
R KOHINOOR: Even the restaurant is very old-fashioned – 96 years old. It’s all peeling out. It’s all dropping. I’m going to put up a board now that you enter at own risk because if something happens, somebody’ll hold me liable.
ROSMAN: Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors are seen as more of an attraction than a liability and so is the food – Iranian comfort food. One of the most popular menu items is a dish called chicken berry pulao – a rice pilaf topped with moist chunks of chicken and stewed in a fragrant tomato sauce, garnished with sour barberries, giving the dish a sweet and sour punch, and served with fresh lime soda. But one of the biggest draws here is the owner.
BOMAN KOHINOOR: I come here every day from 12 o’clock till 4:30. I have been coming here now nearly about 80 years.
ROSMAN: That’s Romin’s 97-year-old father Boman Kohinoor. Boman’s father opened the restaurant in 1923. But every day since Boman was about 16, the chattier Kohinoor has slowly made his way around each table to partake in one of his favorite activities – schmoozing. Today’s topics for the endearing owner include Hillary Clinton, the British monarchy and his longevity plans.
B KOHINOOR: You know, the oldest man in the world, he died one year ago. How old was he? One hundred Forty-Six.
ROSMAN: One hundred forty-six.
ROSMAN: Oh, in Indonesia.
B KOHINOOR: Indonesia – I’m going to break his record.
ROSMAN: Kohinoor’s great-grandparents came to Mumbai more than 180 years ago after fleeing religious persecution from the dominant religion in Persia – Islam. They were Zoroastrians, one of the oldest religions in the world, founded on three main principles.
B KOHINOOR: Good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
ROSMAN: The hundreds of thousands of Zoroastrians who fled to India became known as Parsis. And in the 19th century, many started opening up these cafes. Now most are gone.
B KOHINOOR: In another 20 years or 30 years, there won’t be none.
ROSMAN: The Parsi population is dwindling. Today in India, there are just over 60,000 Parsis. You have to be born into the religion. Zoroastrians don’t believe in conversion. But the more immediate problem for families like Kohinoor’s is a generational one. Younger people don’t want to inherit the long hours and risk of low returns that come with running a restaurant. Even Boman’s 58-year-old son Romin Kohinoor admits he is only helping to keep the business going for one reason.
R KOHINOOR: I’m doing this only for my dad. He doesn’t want to close this place down. He doesn’t want to sell it out. I’m doing it just for him.
ROSMAN: Romin has a 27-year-old daughter Diana. She comes in at the end of each day to do the restaurant’s books, a job that requires a computer, meaning it’s too techie for anyone else in the family. Diana was studying law at university but didn’t really like it. I asked if she would have any interest in taking over the family business.
DIANA KOHINOOR: I would like to because we make good money out here. It’s like a set business. It’s there since 1923, and I would not want it to end because of me. So let’s take it ahead – forward.
ROSMAN: But with her grandfather still going strong, her promotion from accountant to owner may take a while.
For NPR News, I’m Rebecca Rosman in Mumbai. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR. © 2019 KUNM

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The Canadian Compromise: Immigration and Food Access

The Canadian Compromise: Immigration and Food Access Over 250,000 immigrants from around the world come to Canada every year seeking a better life which has established our country’s “open arms” attitude. Immigration, or as I like to call it a “new chapter of opportunity” allows families and individuals to live in a country that is safer and more stable than the circumstances they faced back home. Although Canada is trying its best to help settle newcomers, there are still issuesbetween immigration and food access . Factors that have contributed to food insecurity include high immigrant unemployment rates, dilution and misrepresentation of cultural identity, and scarcity. Immigrants face relatively higher unemployment rates than average which is why they only make up 26 percent of the entire Canadian workforce. This results in financial instability and food insecurity for many immigrant families and individuals. With such low incomes, many immigrants are unable to afford fresh or healthy foods because they are more expensive and are therefore forced to eat unhealthy options such as fast or frozen foods. Food and health are directly related which is why many immigrants face greater diet-related health issues compared to most Canadians. Low paying jobs denies immigrants access to quality foods and fresh ingredients which increases their risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease just to name a few. Paulina Rodriguez who was a graduate from Waterloo in the urban planning program made a very eye-opening statement regarding social justice issues on immigrants and food access. Rodriguez said, “Addressing diet-related health inequalities is a moral imperative, as access to high-quality food is a fundamental human right”. It is almost impossible to balance the costs of day to day life as an immigrant with the costs of healthy eating. Many immigrants have low incomes and have to sacrifice quality over quantity to survive. Immigrants have made Canada the very diverse country that it is today. Although many people from different cultures and ethnicities live in our country, we have not adapted an accurate representation of their foods. Canada offers a variety of options to choose from such as shawarma, sushi, Indian and Mediterranean foods. However, when compared with the traditional cuisine immigrants make back home, our versions of these foods are often comparatively diminished relative to the original food versions. Thus many of these foods are misrepresented and diluted through multiple ingredient substitutions and non-traditional techniques. Authenticity is also a big concern for immigrants as a majority of their cultures are tied to religious beliefs that have specific food requirements such as kosher and halal. Restaurants and grocers in Canada offer little variety of halal and kosher foods which is what immigrants rely on when eating and making traditional dishes. This creates a culture shock for immigrants because they are so used to having these ingredients and foods readily available back home. Immigrants typically would rather adapt and incorporate their cultural identity and traditions rather than conform to the most common Canadian food cultures. It’s important that immigrants continue to keep their cultural identity alive through traditional foods in order to avoid being caught in the melting pot of our country’s food culture. Immigrants continue to face limited availability to resources due to scarcity which remains a common issue among specialty and healthy foods across Canada. Farmers’ markets for example, lack cultural diversity because they only grow and sell foods that Canadians usually consume with little regard to immigrant consumption. There are relatively few ethnic supermarkets scattered across Canada and considering over 20 percent of our population consists of immigrants (Statcan, 2016) at least half of the supermarkets should be more ethnically representative. Integration into Canadian communities can be extremely difficult for newcomers because “food plays on identity, highlighting that food is both physical and symbolic: when we eat food, our bodies react to nutrients of the ingredients. At the same time, the food also conveys meaning to ourselves and others about who we are” (Soo, 2010, pg, 1). Lack of availability of cultural foods makes “it difficult for immigrants to feel at home, welcomed, or valued and be able to integrate into and contribute to Canadian society” (Soo, 2010, pg, 2). Popular Asian supermarket with only two locations in Canada: North York and London Ontario. It is imperative that our country address the issues immigrants face when coming to Canada for a better life. Food insecurity continues to be a problem due to high unemployment rates, misrepresentation of cultural traditions, and scarcity in specialty ingredients. Providing greater employment opportunities and training for newcomers will result in a stronger and more diverse representation amongst our country’s food industry. We should also allocate more ethnic supermarkets in geographic areas that have large immigrant communities to decrease scarcity. Lastly, it is vital that we provide greater selection and capacity of halal and kosher foods in grocers and restaurants across Canada. References Research reveals immigrants’ struggle with food access. (2016, October 18). Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/environment/news/research-reveals-immigrants-struggle-food-access Soo, K. Newcomers and food insecurity: A critical literature review on immigration and food security. (2012). Major Research Paper (MRP), Ryerson University. Alessandra Larosa-Fox, Research Assistant, ECVOntario, University of Guelph. No comments:

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Best private dining spots in Singapore, Lifestyle, Singapore News – AsiaOne

Best private dining spots in Singapore PHOTO: Pixabay Burpple Jun 02, 2019
It’s about time we talked about this! Private dining has been the latest exciting thing for us food-obsessed Singaporeans, mostly because it offers alternative and sometimes unexpected dining experiences. In the comfort of the cook’s home, Singaporeans have been feasting on Peranakan dishes inspired by the travels of a writer-turned-chef, indulging in Omakase dinners where local dishes are approached with a Kaiseki style, and much more. With more indie home dining experiences popping up all over the island, it can be hard to decide which are worth trying and even reserving months in advance. So, here are eight we think you should check out!
THE BATTLE OF THE NYONYAS
FOR CLASSIC PERANAKAN CUISINE AT AMPANG KITCHEN Assam Fish with Lady’s Finger. Photo: Burpple
Burppler Kenneth Lee recommends that you pull your friends together fast if you want a taste of this father-son duo’s authentic Penang-style Peranakan food (min. eight pax per party, $60 for a 6-Course Lunch). Burppler Veronica Phua raves about their unique Buah Keluak Fried Rice that boasts an intense wok hei and is best paired with the crunchy, refreshing Banana Flower Kechai that is tossed in spicy sambal and coconut cream. Read also 9 halal places with 1-for-1 deals to Buka Puasa this Ramadan
On desserts, look forward to Kueh Dadar, where crepes are flavoured with pure pandan juice and filled with a delicious gula melaka and grated coconut filling. Other noteworthy dishes include the Assam Fish with Lady’s Finger and the Ayam Buah Keluak.
Contact Raymond at 9618 7107 or David at 9029 3884 for bookings, or slide into their Facebook DMs for more information.
FOR UNPRETENTIOUS, KAMPONG-STYLE PERANAKAN FAVOURITES AT TINOQ PRIVATE DINING Ngoh Hiang Photo: Burpple
Run by celebrity make-up artist, Tinoq Russell Goh, and his partner, Dylan, expect a dining experience that is as visually stunning as it is delicious ($100 for 7-8 Course Menu). Come to their homey vintage Tiong Bahru abode for Kampong-style Nyonya dishes done right. Expect succulent Char Siew and crispy Ngoh Hiang with a juicy filling of minced pork, prawn, chestnut and candied winter melon. Burppler SG Food on Foot adores the Sweet Potato Leaves with Hei Bee Hiam and the appetizing Ikan Assam Pedas, where the fiery sour gravy will have you going for seconds, thirds and fourths.
For reservations, send a text to 9338 6439 or send an email to for more information.
FOR POLISHED NYONYA DISHES AT LYNNETTE’S KITCHEN Buah Keluak Prime Pork Ribs. Photo: Burpple
As one of the pioneers in the private dining scene, the internationally acclaimed Singaporean violinist-turned-chef runs a tight ship in her Tiong Bahru HDB flat. This super exclusive space may require you to get a reference from a friend in order to secure a spot, but this extra step pays off when you taste her pristine cooking. Chef Lynnette’s fragrant Sugee Cake is a must-try with its crumbly texture, gula melaka cream cheese frosting and a choice of roasted coconut or chopped almonds on top. Star dishes include her moist and flavourful Buah Keluak Prime Pork Ribs and spicy Assam Pedas Snapper Fillet with Honey Pineapple with flaky fish fillet. While her forte lies in Peranakan cooking, she offers European, Seafood and Dessert menus as well ($120 for 6 Course Menu). The meal comes with dessert and complimentary coffee or tea. Treat your dinner party to an elevated experience by requesting for wine pairing ($60 per bottle).
For reservations, text Chef Lynnette at 9297 4710 or check out her website for more information.
FOR HEARTFELT COOKING AT FATFUKU’S Homebaked Sugee Cake. Photo: Burpple
With a name that basically means good fortune, be prepared to take a number before you and your mates get a spot at this popular private kitchen ($95 per pax, min. party of 6). Be sure to book two-weeks in advance to get a taste of her Crispy Mee Siam with Prawn Sambal and Quail Eggs. This dish is a unique adaptation of her family’s beloved recipe, featuring bee hoon fried in a spice paste till uber crispy and topped with prawns, quail eggs and sambal. Save space for her famous buttery Homebaked Sugee Cake (or take some home for $30 a loaf) that is lightly toasted and served with malted corn ice cream, caramel drizzle and little white crunchy chocolate balls. Extra perfect when paired with black coffee.
For more info check out her website or slide into Chef Annette’s Instagram DMs for more info.
ONE-OF-A-KIND THEMED ADVENTURES
FOR INTIMATE DINNERS FOR TWO AT THE MIXTAPE CHEF Chicken, Chorizo and Rosemary Paella. Photo: Burpple
Fuelled by their passion for bringing people together over food, husband and wife Kenneth Yong and Laureen Goh customise menus to communicate their love for feeding others, kinda like an edible surprise mixtape. Bring your date for an intimate experience for two – you’ll be greeted with a welcome cocktail and have the place all to yourselves ($180/pax for “Chef’s Table” Ingredient Theme Dinner, weekdays only). Alternatively, gather your ‘Friends and Family’ for a private dining experience for six and enjoy a customised 4-Course menu, or go solo and make new friends at a 12 pax mixer. Expect flavour-packed dishes from around the world like Paella, Porchetta, fragrant Marrakesh-style Chicken Tagine and savoury sweet Sicilian Pistachio Souffle.
For bookings, click here, or slide into their Facebook DMs for more information.
FOR EXPLORATORY THEMED DINNERS AT OWNSELF MAKE CHEF Luxe Hae Mee Tng. Photo: Burpple
Situated in the west is Chef Shen Tan’s (of Wok & Barrel and Ujong fame) kitchen that produces unique themed menus centred around a protein ($99 for 8 Course Menu) or the exploration of certain culinary ideas. For example, past dinner themes include aPORKalyse, What the Duck, Sinfully Seafood, Sweet Surrender and more. From the seafood menu, the Luxe Hae Mee Tng saw housemade oyster noodles in a rich broth of seafood and pork. With her culinary roots set firmly in Nasi Lemak, it’s no surprise that the Green Curry Clams With Nasi Lemak featured perfectly rich steamed coconut rice and thick green curry infused with kampot green peppercorns. If you’re unable to pull a group together, attend her Public dinners on Saturdays where no minimum number of diners are required. Alternatively, book out the entire space for a Private dinner fit for a celebration (min. 8 pax, max. 12 pax).
For more info on themed Menus and reservations check out Chef Shen Tan’s website.
LOCAL LUXURIES
FOR FOOL-PROOF CANTONESE DISHES AT LUCKY HOUSE PRIVATE KITCHEN Crayfish Omelette. Photo: Burpple
Come for Chef Sam’s hospitality and specialised Cantonese cooking (min. 6 pax, $60 for 6-Course Lunch) in his rustic home and take a walk through his organic vegetable garden where he grows his own greens. His focus on the personalised touch translates into his dishes to produce food that is one of a kind and painstakingly prepared. The super popular Concubine Chicken is bathed in a genius gravy concoction of coconut nectar, lemongrass and caramelised onions, and the Crayfish Omelette is served on a big platter, where generous chunks of crayfish are folded into fluffy egg.
Contact Chef Sam at 9823 7268 for bookings, or slide into his Facebook DMs for more information.
FOR SINGAPOREAN DISHES TURNT UP BY KAISEKI COOKING AT THE MUSTARD SEED POP-UP Superior Stock Chawanmushi. Photo: Burpple
In the months of June or July 2019, Chef Ming will be opening his very own 10-seater restaurant. A U-shaped counter and an open-plan kitchen will give visitors an intimate experience similar to his current private dining room. Look forward to his refined cooking inspired by his Singaporean roots and kaiseki training (restaurant menu yet to be released). While the menu changes monthly, dishes like Garoupa soaked in a sticky collagen-rich pig-trotter and chicken-feet broth or tender Wagyu cutlets steeped in a steaming curry are examples of Chef Ming’s brilliance. Burppler Karl Ng raves about the umami-rich Superior Stock Chawanmushi for its delicately complex flavour and silky texture.
Find out more from Chef Ming’s website or slide into his Facebook DMs for more information.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY EXPERIENCES:
Ben Fatto 95: For Delizioso Handmade Pastas (Min. 4 pax, from $70/pax)
Dearborn Supper Club: For Modern American Cuisine (Min. 6 pax, from $138/pax)
Bombay Howrah Dining Car: For a Authentic Indian Cuisine and Culture ($69/pax for 6-Course Menu)
The Wood Ear: Local Favourites Made Deliciously Architectural ($50/pax for 9-Course Menu, Saturdays only)
Wei Private Kitchen: Indie Modern Nanyang Cuisine (Min. 8 pax, from $100/pax)
This article was first published in Burpple . More about

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Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing

Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing By Rebecca Rosman • 13 hours ago Boman Kohinoor, 97, has spent the past eight decades committed to his beloved Britannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafes. Here, he proudly holds up a photo of himself with two members of the British royal family: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and the former Kate Middleton. Rebecca Rosman for NPR / Originally published on June 2, 2019 12:55 pm
The brown walls are peeling at all ends. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. And the cash register — if you can call it that — is just a series of old wooden drawers.
“I’m going to put up a sign that says ‘Enter at your own risk.’ Otherwise someone is going to hold me liable,” says Romin Kohinoor, one of the owners of the nearly century-oldBritannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafes.
Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors have long been seen as more of an attraction than a liability.
Parsi cafes like Britannia & Co. started popping up around Mumbai in the late 19th century. They were founded by Parsis — Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in their native Persia. The cafes became popular among many in India because, in a society where caste systems and long-standing taboos remain omnipresent, these cafes offered a place where various parts of Indian society mingled freely.
They are, in a word, cosmopolitan. They are also, in two words, dying out.
One of the world’s oldest religions, Zoroastrianism began thousands of years ago in what is now Iran, and the faith predates Islam. A central ethical tenet of the faith is to promote “good words, good thoughts and good deeds.” The Zoroastrian migrants brought to India not only their religious traditions but also their unique cuisine, offering a table to people of all classes, religions and ethnicities in an atmosphere scented with Iranian and Gujarati spices. Parsi cafes are emblems of tolerance, a core teaching of the Prophet Zoroaster, and their affordable food and snug tables attest to their place as servers of the common man.
At one point, there were around 400 Parsi cafes scattered across Mumbai. Today, there are less than 40.
A dwindling Parsi population, combined with little interest from newer generations to take over these family-owned businesses, means that there may not be any Parsi cafes in just a few decades.
But Britannia & Co. has a secret to standing strong amid a sea of dying neighbors: the 97-year-old owner, Boman Kohinoor, who has spent the past eight decades committed to his beloved cafe. On one wall of Britannia & Co. is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Next to her is a painting of Gandhi. Each serves as a reminder of the cafe’s unique cultural heritage. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
“They say habit is second nature,” the bespectacled owner tells me over a generous plate of chicken berry pulao, the restaurant’s signature dish. “And habit has kept me coming here every day now for the last 80 years.”
Every day during the busy lunch hour, Kohinoor slowly makes his way around each table to partake in one of his favorite activities: schmoozing. Current favorite topics include the British monarchy, U.S. politics and his longevity plans. (He plans on breaking the Guinness World Record for oldest living person.)
India was still under British rule when Kohinoor’s father opened the cafe in 1923, which inspired the cafe’s name. “My father wanted to please the local commissioner, who was handing out leases at the time,” says Kohinoor.
When the restaurant opened, the menu consisted mostly of lighter European fare. It wasn’t until after independence from the British in 1947 that Kohinoor decided to revamp the menu, adding a slew of Iranian comfort food options that have since become the favorites here — dishes like sali boti, a lamb curry stewed with tomatoes, jaggery and onions and topped with fried potato strings.
Or the chicken berry pulao — moist chunks of chicken cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce, mixed with a rice pilaf and garnished with Iranian sour barberries. Downed with a fresh lime soda and crème caramel, it’s hard not to indulge.
Most items on the menu today follow the original recipes of Kohinoor’s late wife, Bacha — and they remain a fiercely guarded secret.
A small black-and-white photo of Bacha hangs on the wall alongside the restaurant’s entrance. On the other side of the room is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II next to a painting of Gandhi. Several depictions of the Prophet Zoroaster, cloaked in white robes, are also on display. Each serves as a reminder of the cafe’s unique cultural heritage. Chicken berry pulao is the signature dish at Britannia & Co. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
Zoroastrians started arriving in India around 1,300 years ago to escape religious persecution from Arab invaders in their native Persia. By the mid-20th century, around 120,000 Parsis lived in India. Today there are less than half that. Zoroastrians don’t believe in conversion, making it hard to keep the religion alive.
But the more immediate problem for families like Kohinoor’s is a generational one.
Younger generations don’t want to inherit the long hours — and the risk of low returns — that come with running a restaurant.
“I’m only doing this for my dad,” admits Kohinoor’s 58-year-old son Romin, who has been working the register at Britannia & Co. for four decades. “He doesn’t want to close this place down. He doesn’t want to sell it at all.”
Romin has a 27-year-old daughter, Diana, who comes in at the end of each day to do the restaurant’s books.
She was studying law at university but didn’t really like it.
Now, “I would not want it to end because of me. So let’s take it forward,” she says.
But with her grandfather still going strong, her promotion from accountant to owner may be a while. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Mumbai, India, has been at the crossroads of cultures for millennia. In the 19th century, refugees from Iran fleeing religious persecution opened what came to be called Parsi cafes. At one point, there were 400 of them. Today, there are fewer than 40. Rebecca Rosman visited one of the last Parsi cafes.
REBECCA ROSMAN, BYLINE: The first thing you notice when you walk into Britannia & Co., one of Mumbai’s most popular Parsi cafes, is that the place is kind of falling apart. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. The brown walls are peeling. And the cash register, if you can call it that, is just a series of old wooden drawers.
ROMIN KOHINOOR: Very old-fashioned, very old-fashioned, see. And I don’t want to change it because I’ve got so used to it.
ROSMAN: Fifty-eight-year-old Romin Kohinoor has been working behind this register for four decades.
R KOHINOOR: This is my grandfather’s counter bell.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
R KOHINOOR: It’s 98 years old, and it is made from British gun metal. See the echo. See the echo.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
R KOHINOOR: Even the restaurant is very old-fashioned – 96 years old. It’s all peeling out. It’s all dropping. I’m going to put up a board now that you enter at own risk because if something happens, somebody’ll hold me liable.
ROSMAN: Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors are seen as more of an attraction than a liability and so is the food – Iranian comfort food. One of the most popular menu items is a dish called chicken berry pulao – a rice pilaf topped with moist chunks of chicken and stewed in a fragrant tomato sauce, garnished with sour barberries, giving the dish a sweet and sour punch, and served with fresh lime soda. But one of the biggest draws here is the owner.
BOMAN KOHINOOR: I come here every day from 12 o’clock till 4:30. I have been coming here now nearly about 80 years.
ROSMAN: That’s Romin’s 97-year-old father Boman Kohinoor. Boman’s father opened the restaurant in 1923. But every day since Boman was about 16, the chattier Kohinoor has slowly made his way around each table to partake in one of his favorite activities – schmoozing. Today’s topics for the endearing owner include Hillary Clinton, the British monarchy and his longevity plans.
B KOHINOOR: You know, the oldest man in the world, he died one year ago. How old was he? One hundred Forty-Six.
ROSMAN: One hundred forty-six.
ROSMAN: Oh, in Indonesia.
B KOHINOOR: Indonesia – I’m going to break his record.
ROSMAN: Kohinoor’s great-grandparents came to Mumbai more than 180 years ago after fleeing religious persecution from the dominant religion in Persia – Islam. They were Zoroastrians, one of the oldest religions in the world, founded on three main principles.
B KOHINOOR: Good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
ROSMAN: The hundreds of thousands of Zoroastrians who fled to India became known as Parsis. And in the 19th century, many started opening up these cafes. Now most are gone.
B KOHINOOR: In another 20 years or 30 years, there won’t be none.
ROSMAN: The Parsi population is dwindling. Today in India, there are just over 60,000 Parsis. You have to be born into the religion. Zoroastrians don’t believe in conversion. But the more immediate problem for families like Kohinoor’s is a generational one. Younger people don’t want to inherit the long hours and risk of low returns that come with running a restaurant. Even Boman’s 58-year-old son Romin Kohinoor admits he is only helping to keep the business going for one reason.
R KOHINOOR: I’m doing this only for my dad. He doesn’t want to close this place down. He doesn’t want to sell it out. I’m doing it just for him.
ROSMAN: Romin has a 27-year-old daughter Diana. She comes in at the end of each day to do the restaurant’s books, a job that requires a computer, meaning it’s too techie for anyone else in the family. Diana was studying law at university but didn’t really like it. I asked if she would have any interest in taking over the family business.
DIANA KOHINOOR: I would like to because we make good money out here. It’s like a set business. It’s there since 1923, and I would not want it to end because of me. So let’s take it ahead – forward.
ROSMAN: But with her grandfather still going strong, her promotion from accountant to owner may take a while.
For NPR News, I’m Rebecca Rosman in Mumbai. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR. © 2019 KWIT 4647 Stone Avenue, Sioux City, Iowa 51106 712-274-6406 business line . 1-800-251-3690 studio Email: info@kwit.org

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Free outdoor food festival to kick off 11-day programme

IT is one of the highlights of the year in Lymm.
And the 11-day Lymm Festival launches on Thursday, June 20, offering a spectacular programme of events.
Ann Johnstone is one of the organisers.
“I’m a bit like a swan – doing all my pedalling underwater,” Ann admits, “but everything is in hand. I organise Foodfest, which is the first event on our 11-day programme; it sets the tone for the whole festival. It’s like a giant outdoor café– serving street food with fun and free entertainment. Come rain or shine it goes ahead and we get thousands of outside visitors.”
Only local traders are permitted to have a stall at Foodfest. There are 17 taking part this year and each one gets two trestle tables from which to sell their wares – including Italian, Turkish, Indian and Chinese cuisine.
“We’ll be selling local ice cream from Cheshire Farm and possibly wraps,” says restaurant-owner Fikret Aslan, who has lived in Lymm for 11 years. “Lymm Festival is the best advert for Lymm businesses. There’s no substitute for having people able to come and physically try your food.”
Preparations for the festival began, as always, in September with the committee members only taking two months off throughout July and August. Ann is already looking forward to welcoming her son for a visit from Norway this summer, but there is much to be done before then.
“I’ve lived in Lymm since 1979 and it was a quainter, quieter village back then!” she recalls. “What hasn’t changed is the community spirit you see in action. We have around 50 festival volunteers – all of whom are unpaid. We bring a big group together – teachers, accountants, you name it – and use their skills from other areas of their lives.”
Ann’s own contribution makes best use of her expertise in PR and marketing. Having worked with the outdoor leisure industry in her professional life, she has already met one of the stars of the festival, the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who will be delivering a talk entitled ‘Living Dangerously’ at Statham Lodge on June 24.
“I’ve been to the Arctic Circle twice with a team of climbers including Rebecca Stephens, who is known for being the first British woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. I met Sir Ranulph on a separate occasion – and although I don’t suppose he will remember me, I am very excited to hear his talk.” laughs Ann.
Ranulph Fiennes
Securing Sir Ranulph is a coup that the committee are very pleased with – having set their guest speaker sights high for the festival’s 21st year. Dubbed the ‘World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ by The Guinness Book of World Records in 1984, the British Army veteran shares top billing with former Communard The Reverend Richard Coles and Professor Michael Garrett, who is the director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.
“We thought: ‘Who can we bring who will take things to the next level?’” says committee member Keith Halsall. “Our overall theme is ‘Exploration’ and we’ve got three fantastic people to embody that. I saw The Rev Coles at The Edinburgh Fringe last year; he really is very funny and his stories from the pulpit are every bit as shocking as they are from the world of pop music.”
Keith is also looking forward to Historic Transport Day taking place on June 23, which will include a flypast of the RAF’s last Dakota C47.
“I walk round the vehicles on the May Queen Field thinking: ‘I used to have one of those.’” laughs Keith, who is a former director of Performing Arts for the Arts Council for the North West. “What’s historic to some is living memory to me.”
Lymm Transport Day is a festival highlight
Keith has lived in the village since 1993 – having moved there so that his children could grow up being able to take a walk from their doorstep.
“There are a number of guided walks on the festival programme,” explains Keith, who has toured with theatre and opera companies all around the UK. “Lymm is very beautiful walking country; you see baby swans and ducks on the water. The Pennine Trail cuts straight through the village, which is a linear oasis of nature.
“We get runners and orienteers, walkers and canal boat owners coming to Lymm, so we wanted to create a programme that reflects the vibrancy of the village and the widespread interest people show in it.”
With more than 50 events including art exhibitions, live music and poetry secured on the bill, the committee members can feel proud of accomplishing their mission.
Others in Lymm appreciate that the festival acts as a showcase for the village to the outside world.
We find Raffi Der Haroutunian in Collect Art – a gallery at 29 The Cross, which is home to such notable pieces as a genuine LS Lowry (‘Two Figures in Snow’, 1968) and a £30k sculpture by Emma Rodgers entitled ‘Large Raging Bull’, which appeared in the Marvel movie Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The bull is on show
“Lymm is an incredible village,” says Raffi, who runs Blackmore Gallery, which is located inside Collect Art. “I worked here for 25 years; then after we had my little one, we moved from Manchester to be here. I want my kids to be brought up in a place like this.”
Art lovers would do well to take the opportunity of the festival to call in at Collect Art, which is home to stunning pieces that come under the umbrella of 20th century modern. As an agent to the estate of Theodore Major, who was a contemporary of Lowry, Collect Art offers the opportunity to drink in his moody monochrome originals, as well as pieces by Ghislaine Howard, Geoffrey Key and Blek le Rat.
Over at ladieswear store Jessobel, Natalie Holt is also looking forward to the festival. A Wilmslow resident, she pops over to Lymm to help her friend Karen Taylor, who named the boutique after her daughters Jessica and Isobel, with Isobel being crowned this year’s Lymm May Queen.
“Someone has already been in to hide a clue on the treasure hunt,” smiles Natalie. “There’s a real sense of community here… you can feel it.”
Jessobel have recently introduced a new clothing line, Laurie & Joe, which is favoured by reality TV stars; however, the floaty beach dress Natalie points out retailing at £220 is an anomaly rather than the rule. “We offer current, on trend, wearable clothes at affordable prices,” she explains.
“Ladies like to go into the village for lunch and then pop in to see what’s new. We tend to only stock one of each size and one of each colour in every design so people aren’t wearing the same thing. The stock moves very quickly and we have a full range of accessories to complete your look.”
Whether visitors want to shop for high fashion, explore great works of art or simply to lose themselves in a calendar of activities for people of all ages, Lymm Festival is the perfect springboard to discover the “very nice village” that Ann Johnstone calls “home”.
“We want to deliver a great festival, but that’s only one event on our calendar,” she adds. “From the Duck Race and May Queen to the Lymm Dickensian Christmas Festival, there’s always something happening here.”

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Treat the king at Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Treat the king at Novotel Manila Araneta Center Families can spend more time with Dad at Novotel Manila.
Treat your dad like a king this Father’s Day weekend with unlimited feasts at Novotel Manila Araneta Center.
Delight in an Asian-themed lunch or dinner buffet with spicy authentic Indian cuisine and nostalgic savory Filipino dishes at Food Exchange Manila. Best deal is for every three full paying guests your dad eats for free! You may also opt to spike it up with unlimited beer or unlimited D-I-Y cocktails for an additional fee
Dining dads will receive gifts and a chance to personally meet surprise PBA celebrities. Plus, lucky dads may get additional treats from Food Exchange Manila.
For families who would want to spend more time with dad, a staycation package good for two adults and two kids 15 years old and below. This includes a complimentary buffet lunch or dinner buffet voucher for Dad and 30 percent off per companion per buffet once availed.
For more information, visti www.novotel.com, www.accorhotels.com, or www.novotelmanilaaranetacenter.com. OTHER Public Square

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Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing

Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing By Rebecca Rosman • 47 minutes ago Boman Kohinoor, 97, has spent the last eight decades committed to his beloved Britannia and Co, one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafés. Here, he proudly holds up a photo of himself with two members of the British royal family: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and the former Kate Middleton. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
The brown walls are peeling at all ends. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. And the cash register — if you can call it that — is just a series of old wooden drawers.
“I’m going to put up a sign that says enter at your own risk, otherwise someone is going to hold me liable,” says Romin Kohinoor, one of the owners of the nearly century-oldBritannia and Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafés.
Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors have long been seen as more of an attraction than a liability.
Parsi cafés like Britannia and Co. started popping up around Mumbai in the late 19th century. They were founded by Parsis — Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in their native Persia. But they became popular among many in India because, in a society where caste systems and longstanding taboos remain omnipresent, these cafes offered a place where various parts of Indian society mingled freely.
They are, in a word, cosmopolitan. They are also, in two words, dying out.
One of the world’s oldest religions, Zoroastrianism began thousands of years ago in what is now Iran and pre-dates Islam. A central ethical tenet of the faith is to promote “good words, good thoughts and good deeds.” The Zoroastrian migrants brought to India not only their religious traditions but also their unique cuisine, offering a table to people of all classes, religions and ethnicities in an atmosphere scented with Iranian and Gujarati spices. Parsi cafes are emblems of tolerance, a core teaching of the prophet Zoroaster, and their affordable food and snug tables attest to their place as servers of the common man.
At one point, there were around 400 Parsi cafés scattered across Mumbai. Today, there are less than 40.
A dwindling Parsi population, combined with little interest from newer generations to take over these family-owned businesses, means that there may not be any Parsi cafés in just a few decades.
But Britannia and Co. has a secret to standing strong amidst a sea of dying neighbors: the 97-year-old owner, Boman Kohinoor, who has spent the last eight decades committed to his beloved café. On one wall of Britannia and Co. is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Next to her is a painting of Gandhi. Each serves as a reminder of the café’s unique cultural heritage. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
“They say habit is second nature,” the bespectacled owner tells me over a generous plate of chicken berry pulao, the restaurant’s signature dish. “And habit has kept me coming here every day now for the last 80 years.”
Every day during the busy lunch hour, Kohinoor slowly makes his way around each table to partake in one of his favorite activities: schmoozing. Current favorite topics include the British monarchy, U.S. politics and his longevity plans. (He plans on breaking the Guinness World Record for oldest living person.)
India was still under British rule when Kohinoor’s father opened the café in 1923, which inspired the café’s name. “My father wanted to please the local commissioner, who was handing out leases at the time,” says Kohinoor.
When the restaurant opened, the menu consisted mostly of lighter, European fare. It wasn’t until after independence from the British in 1947 that Kohinoor decided to revamp the menu, adding in a slew of Iranian comfort food options that have since become the favorites here — dishes like Sali Boti , a lamb curry stewed with tomatoes, jaggery and onions, topped with fried potato strings.
Or the chicken berry pulao — moist chunks of chicken cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce, mixed with a rice pilaf and garnished with Iranian sour barberries. Downed with a fresh lime soda and crème caramel, it’s hard not to indulge.
Most items on the menu today follow the original recipes of Kohinoor’s late wife, Bacha — and they remain a fiercely guarded secret.
A small black and white photo of Bacha hangs on the wall alongside the restaurant’s entrance. On the other side of the room is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, next to a painting of Gandhi. Several depictions of the Prophet Zoroaster, cloaked in white robes, are also on display. Each serves as a reminder of the café’s unique cultural heritage. Chicken berry pulao is the signature dish at Britannia and Co. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
Zoroastrians started arriving in India around 1,300 years ago to escape religious persecution from Arab invaders in their native Persia. By the mid-20th century, there were around 120,000 Parsis living in India. Today there are less than half that. Zoroastrians don’t believe in conversion, making it hard to keep the religion alive.
But the more immediate problem for families like Kohinoor’s is a generational one.
Younger generations don’t want to inherit the long hours — and the risk of low returns — that come with running a restaurant.
“I’m only doing this for my dad,” admits Kohinoor’s 58-year-old son Romin, who has been working the register at Britannia and Co. for four decades. “He doesn’t want to close this place down. He doesn’t want to sell it at all.”
Romin has a 27-year-old daughter, Diana, who comes in at the end of each day to do the restaurant’s books.
She was studying law at university, but didn’t really like it.
Now, “I would not want it to end because of me. So let’s take it forward,” she says.
But with her grandfather still going strong, her promotion from accountant to owner may be a while. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WKAR

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Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing

Parsi Cafes, A Centuries-Old Tradition In India, Are Vanishing By Rebecca Rosman • 1 hour ago Boman Kohinoor, 97, has spent the last eight decades committed to his beloved Britannia and Co, one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafés. Here, he proudly holds up a photo of himself with two members of the British royal family: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and the former Kate Middleton. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
The brown walls are peeling at all ends. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. And the cash register — if you can call it that — is just a series of old wooden drawers.
“I’m going to put up a sign that says enter at your own risk, otherwise someone is going to hold me liable,” says Romin Kohinoor, one of the owners of the nearly century-oldBritannia and Co., one of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafés.
Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors have long been seen as more of an attraction than a liability.
Parsi cafés like Britannia and Co. started popping up around Mumbai in the late 19th century. They were founded by Parsis — Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in their native Persia. But they became popular among many in India because, in a society where caste systems and longstanding taboos remain omnipresent, these cafes offered a place where various parts of Indian society mingled freely.
They are, in a word, cosmopolitan. They are also, in two words, dying out.
One of the world’s oldest religions, Zoroastrianism began thousands of years ago in what is now Iran and pre-dates Islam. A central ethical tenet of the faith is to promote “good words, good thoughts and good deeds.” The Zoroastrian migrants brought to India not only their religious traditions but also their unique cuisine, offering a table to people of all classes, religions and ethnicities in an atmosphere scented with Iranian and Gujarati spices. Parsi cafes are emblems of tolerance, a core teaching of the prophet Zoroaster, and their affordable food and snug tables attest to their place as servers of the common man.
At one point, there were around 400 Parsi cafés scattered across Mumbai. Today, there are less than 40.
A dwindling Parsi population, combined with little interest from newer generations to take over these family-owned businesses, means that there may not be any Parsi cafés in just a few decades.
But Britannia and Co. has a secret to standing strong amidst a sea of dying neighbors: the 97-year-old owner, Boman Kohinoor, who has spent the last eight decades committed to his beloved café. On one wall of Britannia and Co. is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Next to her is a painting of Gandhi. Each serves as a reminder of the café’s unique cultural heritage. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
“They say habit is second nature,” the bespectacled owner tells me over a generous plate of chicken berry pulao, the restaurant’s signature dish. “And habit has kept me coming here every day now for the last 80 years.”
Every day during the busy lunch hour, Kohinoor slowly makes his way around each table to partake in one of his favorite activities: schmoozing. Current favorite topics include the British monarchy, U.S. politics and his longevity plans. (He plans on breaking the Guinness World Record for oldest living person.)
India was still under British rule when Kohinoor’s father opened the café in 1923, which inspired the café’s name. “My father wanted to please the local commissioner, who was handing out leases at the time,” says Kohinoor.
When the restaurant opened, the menu consisted mostly of lighter, European fare. It wasn’t until after independence from the British in 1947 that Kohinoor decided to revamp the menu, adding in a slew of Iranian comfort food options that have since become the favorites here — dishes like Sali Boti , a lamb curry stewed with tomatoes, jaggery and onions, topped with fried potato strings.
Or the chicken berry pulao — moist chunks of chicken cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce, mixed with a rice pilaf and garnished with Iranian sour barberries. Downed with a fresh lime soda and crème caramel, it’s hard not to indulge.
Most items on the menu today follow the original recipes of Kohinoor’s late wife, Bacha — and they remain a fiercely guarded secret.
A small black and white photo of Bacha hangs on the wall alongside the restaurant’s entrance. On the other side of the room is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, next to a painting of Gandhi. Several depictions of the Prophet Zoroaster, cloaked in white robes, are also on display. Each serves as a reminder of the café’s unique cultural heritage. Chicken berry pulao is the signature dish at Britannia and Co. Rebecca Rosman for NPR
Zoroastrians started arriving in India around 1,300 years ago to escape religious persecution from Arab invaders in their native Persia. By the mid-20th century, there were around 120,000 Parsis living in India. Today there are less than half that. Zoroastrians don’t believe in conversion, making it hard to keep the religion alive.
But the more immediate problem for families like Kohinoor’s is a generational one.
Younger generations don’t want to inherit the long hours — and the risk of low returns — that come with running a restaurant.
“I’m only doing this for my dad,” admits Kohinoor’s 58-year-old son Romin, who has been working the register at Britannia and Co. for four decades. “He doesn’t want to close this place down. He doesn’t want to sell it at all.”
Romin has a 27-year-old daughter, Diana, who comes in at the end of each day to do the restaurant’s books.
She was studying law at university, but didn’t really like it.
Now, “I would not want it to end because of me. So let’s take it forward,” she says.
But with her grandfather still going strong, her promotion from accountant to owner may be a while. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 KERA News

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