Samosas, chicken curry and tangdi kebabs are fast disappearing off the shelves of a stall at the India pavilion of the Shanghai world expo in China. So much so that its owner now plans to open a permanent outlet in this Chinese commercial hub.
"We had put out a limited menu. But we were surprised to see everything vanishing at the end of the day. It was heartening. We were not expecting such a reaction," Arun Khanna, who is behind the Indo-Curry Restaurant, told this visiting correspondent.
The expo opened May 1 and will be on till October 31.
"Seeing the crowds here, I was encouraged to do a market survey. I found that there are 20 Indian restaurants and most cater to Indians. I am sure there is space for another one. I am working on that now, we will soon open one here," said a confident Khanna.
Incidentally, he is general manager of Jhankar Banquet, which runs various banquet halls in Delhi, the most famous being at Asiad Towers.
At the Indo-Curry Restaurant in the pavilion, tangdi kebab is selling at 30 yuan, chicken curry with naan is for 40 yuan. A samosa costs 20 yuan. The menu also contains mango lassi at 20 yuan, Indian kulfi 20 yuan and masala tea at 10 yuan.
"People are enjoying the taste of mango lassi. On one weekend, we had to turn away many because we had no curd left!" Khanna said.
Besides Khanna's stall, which is attracting a lot of attention, organisers said the number of visitors to the India pavilion had exceeded all calculations. On one day, it touched 47,000 visitors.
Khanna said they had bought their own ingredients, including masalas and herbs, from New Delhi to prepare the Indian cuisine.
"We have been running this outlet since May 1 when the expo started. And the response has been tremendous. There have been long lines outside our stall," he said.
Khanna, who also runs the Phoolwari restaurant at Delhi's Pragati Maidan, where expos are organised, proudly said his outlet's popularity soared after Chinese magazines and newspapers reported about its food being a hit with people.
"I feel happy as we are giving the Chinese people the authentic taste of India. I don't know who says there are tensions between us. Both Indians and Chinese are hard working people and are making the world sit up and take notice of two emerging economic powers," he said.
"Food is one way of winning hearts," says Khanna.