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Why do seafood and Indians not go along?
It is a question that is not commonly asked in spite of the fact that we as a country love our food. Sea food is something that very few Indians love and look forward to relish.

INSPITE OF being almost surrounded by the Ocean on almost all sides, Indians curiously are not seafood lovers. There are some who go to the extent of sea fish and even prawns and shrimps but nothing beyond that. The international cuisine scene reflects a different picture. People all around the world love seafood like mussel, squid, scallops, octopus, crabs and oysters. With their distinct saltwater taste they are also full of vitamins and nutrients. Indians, however, do not endorse this view and keep at a hands length from seafood.

When asked Kaustav Rakshit, who hogs on chicken and all other forms of non vegetarian food, he says, “Normally fish is not my favorite and sea food has this pungent smell that completely drives me mad and I stay away from it. However, prawns are different and when prepared correctly, they can be a delight on the plate.”Abhishek Chachra, who is studying in a culinary school and aspires to become a chef, said, “ Indians are driven with touch and feel of their food. For them, their food has to be well prepared and anything slimy like Oysters, are out of the picture. Although we learn how to shuck a oyster and remove the beard from a mussel but we know that in India we won't get to practice that skill.”

Rohit Shetty, manager at 1 Boulevard, a restaurant in Delhi, gave a somewhat similar picture. He said, “North East Indians and South Indians are the only people who actually eat Sea Food and like to try various types. However, even they don't go beyond prawns, shrimps or fish.” Being a Bengali and coming from a foodie background, I personally felt odd to realise that even I have not eaten anything other than lobster, prawns, crabs or pomfret.

Soumajit Kar, who is also a Bengali, added, “It's true that Bengalis are fish eaters but we know how to cook prawns or lobsters but anything other than that and we raise our hands. However, these days Bengalis are becoming adventurous and if not make it at home, they do experiment outside in the restaurants.” Affirming this, Shetty said, “There are some customers, who do come and ask for prawns and crabs but rarely anyone knows about mussels and scallops.”

People should know that all seafoods contain Omega 3 and fish oils and sodium. They are not only good to taste but also reduce blood pressure and are good for arthritis. People who eat just for the palate in India should also try seafood as wonders can be created out of a salmon or a crab.

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