Srinagar: Blogs of Kashmir-based food bloggers are presently being viewed all over the country and also globally. The bloggers have introduced to the world the unexplored ethnic cuisines of Kashmir.
Through their posts and blogs, they have offered a peek into undiscovered street food and haute cuisine. They have a major role to play in telling the world that Kashmiri cuisine goes beyond 'Wazwan', a multi-course meal. From 'Pher' (smoked fish) to street delicacies like 'Khandhi Gaazir' (sugar-dipped dough candies), roadside barbeques--forgotten varieties like 'boom' (dried water lily) and much more have been featured in the blogs of food enthusiasts.
Omar Rather, a food blogger in Kashmir owns the famous food blog 'Kashmir food gram'. Rather, a connoisseur of food loves to travel and explore the delectable cuisines across the country. His blog 'Kashmir Food Gram' features mouth-watering dishes from across the country.
"I cover every kind of food in my blogs and vlogs, be it street food or high-class food. I try to explore different tastes every time, I travel to places, every day is a new experience," he said.
Omar started his journey of food blogging in 2017. He discovered his love for food while lending a helping hand to his ailing mother in the kitchen. He shared an interesting anecdote about how a food blogger's critique of Kashmiri cuisine-- that Kashmir has nothing to offer beyond Wazwan-- led him to start his own blog. He started his blog with the sole aim of grabbing the world's attention to the delicacies of Valley. He wanted to tell the world that Kashmiri cuisine goes beyond 'Wazwan' and 'Kahwa'.
Omar posted about the winter delicacy 'Pher' or 'Pharri' (smoked fish) street delicacies like 'Khandhi Gaazir' (sugar-dipped dough candies), roadside barbeques, 'boom' (dried water lily) and much more.
Omar is the first Kashmiri food blogger to introduce the world to Kashmiri street food. With a whopping 56.8 thousand plus followers on Instagram, this food blogger has won the hearts of millions across the country.
Talking about his fondness for food and travel Omar said, "I love to travel for food and I believe that travelling makes you explore things more intricately and I love to explore different kinds of cuisines and destinations."
"For food, I have travelled the Kashmir and now I am travelling outside Kashmir. Recently I have covered Jammu, Delhi, Jalandhar and many more parts of India," he added.
He has worked with big organisations like Netflix, Amazon Prime and many more.
"By seeing my work, food bloggers of India hire me. They come to Kashmir and I walk them around the valley to show them the different delicacies," he told ANI.
From "Pher" (smoked fish) to street delicacies like "Khandhi Gaazir" (sugar-dipped dough candies), roadside barbeques, forgotten varieties like "boom" (dried water lily) and much more, Omer blogs about every edible item in Kashmir.
However, Omar believes that the scope of food blogging in Kashmir is not as good as it is in other parts of the country.
He said that it has become difficult for old restaurant owners to understand the concept of food blogging. He added that through the medium of his blogs, he wishes to make everyone aware of the significance of food blogging in promoting businesses.
"People here need to be supportive of the idea of food blogging," added Omar.
In his message to the aspiring food bloggers, Omar said, "The upcoming food bloggers should try not to copy the stuff from others and work hard for it to achieve their goal and most importantly, they should mostly focus on promoting street vendors."
Mohsin Fazli another food blogger, vlogger and YouTuber of Kashmir owns a well-known food blog 'Kashmir Eats' with a huge social media reach of 63.3 thousand followers.
Fazli, who promotes Kashmiri food globally through social media platforms is an MBA graduate from the United Kingdom, a composite manager for the government of Jammu and Kashmir by profession and a part-time blogger and vlogger.
Speaking to ANI, Fazli talked about how he started blogging about food. Reminiscing his days in Dubai, he said, " I was working in Dubai for 10 years and used to miss my mother's food. I started blogging since then. I want to popularize Kashmiri food around the globe," said Fazli.
"Stating your opinion about food on social media isn't that easy. You give out your own perspective to which some may relate and some may not," he said.
Fazli said, "From my work, I want to clear the misconceptions of people and let them know that Kashmir is not only about 'Wazwan' but beyond Wazwan, there is a variety of cuisines in Kashmir which are not being highlighted on the global platform."
Fazli has been travelling to explore food globally from Europe to the Middle East and India.
"My blogs and vlogs are about multiple food cuisines, my blogs are not only restricted to Kashmiri food but I have also covered Persian food, Irani food, Jammu food, South Indian food and many more," said Mohsin.
"I write restaurant recommendations and do promotions on social platforms. I also do review sessions that are all about tasting new dishes."
"Due to the food blogging, I have come across and discovered so many dishes that I had never heard about before--like Changazi chicken, Chicken Kur-kure, Rainy Kulcha, Pizza Omelet etc," he added.
"I believe that if you have good content then only more and more people will follow you. So my suggestion to the youngsters is that they should stay true to themselves and should create their own content," said Mohsin.
Aamir Rawa, a food blogger from Kashmir, started food blogging eight years back and owns a well-known page ' Food in Kashmir' with 41.9 thousand plus followers on social media.
"I started food blogging eight years back," Aamir told ANI.
"My friend is a fourth-generation restaurateur, he runs a restaurant in North Kashmir. So we used to visit his restaurant and sit in the kitchen and see how the food is cooked. This triggered in me a passion for food blogging."
Rawa, a restaurant consultant said, "I followed my passion and turned it into my profession which I truly love doing," stated Aamir.
According to Rawa, the scope of food blogging is growing day by day. "It is something new which has come to Kashmir, it will take time to grow here, but it will grow, "said Aamir.
Rawa said, "There are many youngsters coming into this field and I get a lot of messages on social media from youngsters telling me to mentor them and teach them."
Talking about the efforts that are required to maintain social media presence, Aamir said, "First thing first, you got to be active on the social platforms and have to be visible to your audience as the viewers need to see what's new there and what's happening around."