Andaman & Nicobar Islands Food Lover’s Paradise
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that sea food is the obvious attraction here. Surrounded by water on all sides, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a sea food lover’s haven. Cuttle fish, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and fish of every kind is found here. But if sea food isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of options for vegetarians as well. With whatever land available, locals have undertaken paddy cultivation. Thus, rice is the staple here. Coconut, along with fruits such as mango, sapodilla, banana, pineapple, etc. is also commonly grown.
The Andamans being a melting pot of all cultures is home to a wide variety of cuisine including south Indian, Bengali, and Andhra varieties. There’s also a distinct presence of Kerala cuisine thanks to the abundant use of coconut, spices, and coconut oil. But unlike other places where tourists have to make do with whatever’s locally available, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands offer a huge variety in terms of cuisine. Thus, North Indian varieties like naan, paratha, mughlai dishes, etc. are common and so are Chinese (rather, Indo Chinese) varieties. Some of the popular restaurants are found around Havelock and Port Blair.
Diet of the Natives
As for the influence of the tribal community in the local cuisine, not much is known about how they cook their food. Unlike modern civilized societies, the tribal people hunt for their food. This food includes all kinds of meat including turtles, wild boar, fishes and other animals endemic to the Islands. Use of fire isn’t prevalent and even if they are used now, it is not to enhance the taste of the meat. In fact, the Sentinelese people are known to eat raw meat. Wild honey is harvested and stored for use. Sea turtle eggs are also a delicacy.
Of late, there have been complaints that indigenous tribes like the Jarawas are being tempted with ‘exotic’ food like rice, tea, etc. These are being offered by poachers in return for permission and safety during poaching. Some hotels also use these items to convince these tribes to sing and dance before guests and exhibiting them as exotic objects.
Protecting the Food Identity of the Local Tribes
It is important for mankind to allow these tribes to follow their own practices rather than corrupt their palate by giving them food. This not only destroys their food chain, but also exposes them to diseases and other problems inherent to the so-called ‘civilized food’. We make a fervent plea to all those visiting the Islands, please do not indulge in such activities or encourage your host to use the tribal people as entertainment. Their survival is important to mankind!