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23 Apr 2024, Edition - 3206, Tuesday

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India News

BATTLE OF THE BIRYANIS: Andhra Pradesh fields its Bongu Biryani to take on Hyderabadi Biryani

KV Lakshmana


The tale of two states – wherein Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are in race as to which is the better Telugu-speaking state — has gotten more interesting after Andhra Pradesh announced plans to take on the world famous Hyderabadi Biryani with its own Bongu Biryani.

With this, the battle between the two states is no longer confined to Cyberspace, tech hub or educational arena. Or the political field, for that matter with the two states often finding themselves on the opposite sides of national politics.

But clearly, battle is now for the plate and the palate of the food enthusiasts.

The state of Telangana is already blessed and endowed with world famous Biryani and its Hyderabadi Biryani has a tremendous brand recall. Whenever anyone thinks Biryani, they think Hyderabad.

Now, Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has sworn to challenge the prevailing ‘world Biryani order.”

He has sworn to wage the mother of Biryani battles with the state’s unique offering – Bongu Biryani or Bamboo Biryani – cooked in Bamboo shoots. This is popular among tribals in a specific pocket of the state in Aruku valley near Vishakhapatnam.

Bongu Biryani or Chicken Biryani cooked in Bamboo shoots is a delicacy that its aficionados die for. Bamboo chicken is it’s another name. Now this forms the latest weapon of Chandrababu Naidu to take on Hyderabadi Biryani and Hyderabad, a city he turned into the global IT hub during his previous reign as the Chief Minister of combined Andhra Pradesh in the late 80s.

Bongu Biryani is what Naidu has asked the state to dish out Bongu Biryani to replace Hyderabadi Biryani from the minds of the people.

On his prodding, the Andhra Pradesh government has drawn up a plan to aggressively market Bongu Biryani and build its brand globally. Naidu and his team of minister are sure their effort will taste success.

The government has formally issued orders for branding and marketing Bongu Biryani in such a manner as to make Bongu Biryani synonymous with Andhra Pradesh, just like what Biryani is to Hyderabad.

Andhra Pradesh tourism department has come out with a blue print to promote Bongu Biryani (Bamboo Biryani). As part of the programme, it has started to train chefs in the intricacies of preparing Bongu Biryani, which has been the preserve of the local tribal populace of the hilly terrain around Vishakhapatnam. The state government will also hold competitions for hotel management students as well in this Bongu Biryani cooking.

“The Andhra Pradesh government wants to take the Bongu Biryani and Bongu Chicken on a world tour,” said the official elaborating plans his department has to make the dish to conquer the palates where it went. The government will also hold Andhra Food festivals across different star hotels in the state, where the focus will be to present Andhra specialities from different parts to people in towns and cities across the country.

What is more interesting is that the Andhra Pradesh government will set in motion an entirely democratic process to decide the Official Andhra Pradesh Thali. It will hold a competition of Andhra Thalis and will identify the dishes most popularly used by participants and the ones used most will form the official Andhra Pradesh Thali.

When last heard, the department officials were finetuning the modalities of the competition and where to cap the number of items in the Official Andhra Pradesh Thali.

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