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Indian eateries in Gulf cook up jobs for foreigners

Kinara, the restaurant opened in Dubai by renowned chef Vikas Khanna, has become a favourite eatery since its recent launch.

Apart from satiating the taste buds of the Indian diaspora working in the Gulf, Indian eateries are enticing and employing foreigners like those from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Turkey. In fact, famous Indian restaurants like Delhi Durbar are owned by foreigners in these distant lands through franchise purchase. They have become ambassadors of India’s soft power.

Besides, many Indians run or work in foreign food joints too.

Prominent Indian restaurant brands which are famous in the Gulf and have branches in almost every major city are Delhi Darbar, Bombay Brasserie, Rang Mahal, Purani Dilli, Kinara, Aamara, among others. Besides, thousands of small eateries and cafes are run by Indians, and like big ones, they too employ a huge number of unskilled labourers from above-mentioned countries.

Mohammed Rafay, an Indian student in Turkey, told India Narrative that the owner of Delhi Durbar in Istanbul is a Pakistani, who shied away from sharing his name. Rafay said that Indian delicacies (as delicacies from Pakistan are the same and termed as one too) expectedly entice people from the Indian subcontinent. He added that the restaurant which is in the heart of Istanbul not only employs few Pakistanis, but some young Turks have also found employment here.

Similarly, Rafay said, another landmark Indian restaurant India Gate Restaurant is located at famous Taksim Square in Istanbul and it also has a branch in Trabzon city.

“This restaurant has decorated its ambience to give overseas Indians a feel of India. It offers 83 Indian veg and non-veg dishes and is a must visit destination of Indians living in Turkey whenever they plan to eat out,” said Rafay.

Kinara, another famous brand, that has its branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi has also employed people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Arabs.

Kinara is owned by famous Indian chef Vikas Khanna.

Kerala restaurant chains like Kolam Restaurant, Rainbow, and Tharavadu do brisk business, serving the traditional Kerala Onam feast to thousands of expatriate bachelors and families every year and thus they remain favourite of Keralites.

The majority of their staff remain Keralite, but a sizable number of their staff comprises Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans. Muhammad Afsal, a journalist based in Qatar, told India Narrative that Indian restaurants have almost changed the culinary choices of local Arabs and have provided a relief to job seekers from countries that are facing economic hardships.

“The number of workers from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Egypt coming for employment at restaurants run by Indians has swelled considerably in the last three years,” said Afsal.

Small eateries and cafes that are largely run by Keralites, said Afsal, employ a huge number of non-skilled workers. “Many of these workers are now experts in cooking Indian delicacies, even those from the South. This is perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Indian eatery scene in the Gulf,” said Afsal.

There is no record of the total number of Indian restaurants in the Gulf and their cumulative annual income. But an online estimate put the number of Indian restaurants (offering food) in the United Arab Emirates as 78. Correspondingly, Indian restaurants function in every Gulf country, given the number of Indian people there.