Sharma Sweet Shop, Amritsar and food marketing
A few days back, I got into this massive online brawl about gimmickry and marketing vis a vis substance when it comes to restaurants. A Delhi restaurant named Hotmess claimed itself to be the first aphrodisiac themed restaurant with the standard regular menu of burgers, pizzas and mezze platters and blah blahs and duhs. Paid bloggers and partisanship snuffed a debate that could have led to something.
Anyway, here is me dipping a naked toe into the beehive again. A few years back, we were taken around the city of Amritsar by the famous chef Vikas Khanna. Among all the places he loved and grew up around. One of them was Sharma Sweet Shop on Lawrence Road. The place was supposedly famous for gulab jamuns, we were served hot ones straight out of the boiling kadhai.
Now, the gulab jamuns were definitely soft and melt in the mouth and good. But as a few of us looked at each other and wondered why it will become city’s icon, there was only one answer. The jamuns were flat, not the usual round ones. Did that add to the taste or softness or quality of the bite? I am not too sure. But it added to the marketability, it did make the shop stand out from hundreds of others who may have served as good or even better jamuns.
And, that is not a bad thing. Creative thinking is integral to food marketing and no one should be offended unless the product claims to be something it is not. And, this was a perfectly good gulab jamun in the earth shape of pre-Aristotle age.