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Dosas, idlis reach China

A leading Indian restaurant in Beijing has started serving south Indian dishes, for the first time in China, in response to demands from visiting Indians.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2003 14:20 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

With a leading Indian restaurant here starting to serve a range of south Indian dishes for the first time in China, Indians, who are increasingly travelling to the land of Chow mein will have no problems on the food front.

"We are now ready to serve all types of Indian food, including Dosas, Masala Dosas, Idlis and Vadas in Beijing," general manager of Taj pavilion, MH Pastakia said.

A branch of the Taj pavilion in Beijing has just launched the south Indian dishes in response to public demand, especially from south Indian Information Technology (IT) professionals, who frequent China on various assignments and IT projects.

"Launching south Indian dishes in China is a challenge," Pastakia said while pointing out to the difficulty in procuring daals for the south Indian dishes in China.

"Most of the ingredients in south Indian dishes are not available in China and we have to import," he said hoping that with more and more Indians visiting China, Indian provisions would be available in China.

"The south Indian dishes have become an instant hit. However, we need to promote this among our foreign clientele, who are only aware of Tandoori chicken," restaurant manager, Shaji Mathew said.

Asked about the impact of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic on the restaurant business, Pastakia said it has seriously affected business prospects of the catering businesses in Beijing.

According to Beijing government sources, half of the estimated 30,000 restaurants in Beijing have suspended their business in the aftermath of the SARS outbreak.

"It did improve very slightly during the first week of June but even after considering this improvement it is still much lower than what we would normally expect during the month of June," he said.

"The main clientele that we are attracting now are those who are stationed or based in Beijing and not the visiting businessmen who were a major chunk of our business," he said.

Statistics from China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) show that the inflow of foreign tourists to China dipped by 30 per cent to 5.649 million in April this year when compared with the same month of last year due to SARS.

The number of stay-over foreign tourists was only 1.82 million for April, a drop of 42 per cent as compared with April, 2002.

Official statistics show that Beijing's tertiary industry was seriously hit by SARS epidemic, with its added value increasing a poor 0.1 per cent, 10.4 percentage points down from the previous month.

The national capital, Beijing, only hosted 18,000 foreign tourists in May, a drastic decrease of 93.9 per cent year-on-year, severely impacting the hotels and restaurants in the city.

First Published: Jun 15, 2003 10:11 IST