The Food Passport

QThe secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    by Mark Twain

    The Inspiration

    From time immemorial human beings have yearned for new experiences. What is human life if not a bunch of experiences? Some like to travel, others desire to read and some just crave to explore new cuisines. A general practice of experiencing new food is to ‘Google’ the place and food or type ‘food to try in…’. Google redirects us to a blog or a restaurant aggregation websites. Following which a gourmet’s fortune is totally left at the mercy of algorithms, shrouded in secrecy, and market principles firmly hinging upon rating boosts and advertisements. More often than not, we rely on people’s ratings and reviews; and gamble a visit to a place. Many a time a lot of good, old restaurants get lost in the online labyrinth. In a metropolis like Delhi where restaurants open and shut business in no time, there are places which have withstood the test of time. They carry heritage of decades even centuries through their history, legends, ambiance and most importantly food. In the cacophony of ‘updating’ ‘trending’ and ‘tagging’ cultures, due to the modest and humble means of these places and their connoisseurs, we remain unaware about their subtle taste and aroma.

    Mostly it is the word of mouth that carries their saga from generation to generation, as a result, unfortunately, this much respectable and valuable heritage remains concealed in the much hyped social media-tagging fad. The people who experience these places may not necessarily remember the name of the restaurant or the delicacy itself but the succulent indulgence certainly remains etched in their memory as an event which should be shared and recommended to their most loved ones. This product is an endeavour, akin to spreading a dastarkhaan, towards making the experience of this heritage more accessible and interesting.

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    Fall Collection, 2014

    The Idea

    Today, in the age of digital media; selfies, photographs, tweets and social media posts have become the dominant manifestation of experiencing our everyday events. Our digital memory has come to dominate us to the extent that even our profound experiences get crowded with the digital noise around us. By creating a physical Food Passport, which is tangible and therefore can be experienced more holistically in comparison to the experiences in the realm of the virtual and digital, we are aiming to disrupt increasing dominance of experiencing life through the digital means. Consequently, this Food Passport provides a window to experience a culinary wonderland beyond the limited repertoire of the digital universe. This Passport will not just lead the seeker to hidden culinary gems but also to their stories and legends breathing on rich history. This product makes the amazing food, in winding and difficult to navigate gullies of Old Delhi, accessible and approachable. Interactivity is at the heart of this Food Passport as it will help users to create her or his own food walks which will in turn enable the user to encourage others by lending her or his experience to others.

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    Back to Basics, Fall 2014

    The Product

    Food Passport is a passport size collection of 30 food visas. Containing the name, address, timings and other vital details of a place, these visas, transport us back in the past entailing food heritage of centuries. Every plate offers mouthwatering delicacies laced with glorious history. Beyond the ratings, reviews and suggestions, here, the century old food , is the only testimony to itself. The QR code on the visa will help you navigate the zigzag alleys of Old Delhi. This code will take you to a webpage displaying the brief history, special menu items and photographs of the food joint. Having reached the place, enjoy the food and get your visa stamped by the eatery’s manager. You can keep this Food Passport as a memorabilia of your experience.
    Using Food Passport website you can create your own food passport by suggesting eating joints which are part of our intangible heritage and culinary culture(s).

    Design Team

    Vishal & Abhijeet

    © 2018, Design Innovation Centre, University of Delhi