There is a good chance that a Mumbaikar who loves his Chinese food swears by the venerable Ling's Pavilion, the 75-year-old Chinese restaurant in Colaba that enjoys a cult status.
However, Ling's Pavilion has been in the news of late for reasons that have nothing to do with Chinese cuisine. The restaurant, in fact, has added local Maharashtrian entrees to its food menu, raising many eyebrows.
This inexplicable addition is being ascribed to an act of 'food bullying' by none other than Ramdas Athwale, the recently appointed Union Minister of State for Social Justice. Athavale recently came up with the suggestion that all restaurants in Maharashtra should serve Maharashtrian food. Members of the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association, or AHAR, have been quick to point out that Athwale only recommended the eclectic modification in restaurant menus and that it was not an order. AHAR officials have said that the step was taken to "promote Maharashtrian cuisine and ensure all restaurants serve such dishes at affordable rates."
According to the Mumbai Mirror, AHAR chairman, Niranjan Shetty, further clarified that the association had only requested restaurants to promote local cuisine. "We have asked member restaurants to try it out. If any restaurant is doing that, it is a welcome move. It is a request, not a diktat," Shetty said.
However, Baba Ling, the owner of Ling's Pavilion, said that AHAR had specifically asked him to include Maharashtrian food in his menu, and he had complied. "There was a meeting of restaurant owners through our association (AHAR) and they asked all restaurants to promote Maharashtrian food. Hence, we put these items on the menu. We are doing it because the association asked us to do so", said Ling.
Social media, clearly, was not exactly thrilled.
Others felt it was not a big deal.
And some actually supported the move.
Irrespective of where you stand on this, it can safely be said that you'll never head to Ling's Pavilion and order Maharashtrian food.