Mawphlang: White Naro proudly proffers his fried spiders and grilled crickets along with a somewhat lower exotic dish of millet and squash a small sample of the vanish tasty of India’s remote northeast.
Naro is a farmer from Nagaland, one of the eight states that make up northeast India an area jointly to the rest of the country by only a parochial sliver of land and with its own distinct cultural and culinary traditions.
This is a snail congestive from the paddy (rice) field, he told visitors at a recent international food fair as he encourage them to taste his produce.
You have to eat it like this, as he proven sucking the snail from its shell.
Naro was one of around 40 demonstrator gathered in the northeastern state of Meghalaya for the Mei-Ramew festival, supported by the global Slow Food movement that is based in Italy and promotes local traditional cuisine.
Geographically isolated from the rest of India, the northeast has maintained a food culture all of its own.
Beef is widely consumed, despite laws against kill cattle in other parts of Hindu-majority India, where a campaign for a nationwide ban is gathering steam.
Pork the staple meat of neighbouring China but less scarce in most of India features exquisitely on the dinner tables of the northeast.
The region is also home to a wealth of plant kind that experts say are dying out as diets become more standardised — a global trend that the Slow Food movement wants to combat.Nongtraw, a village in Meghalaya with rattling mountain views and only around 200 inhabitants, is on the front line of the battle to protect regional food varieties.
The campaign start up five years ago when the villagers, who belong to the matrilineal Khasi tribe, became careful that the cultivation of the nutritious local staple millet was dying out.
Millet had been used to make a variety of snacks as well as the local beer, but villagers were growing opting instead to buy state-subsidised rice.
Only two families were increasingly millet in 2010 because at that time we could get rice through the public dealing system, said local farmer Pius Ranee, 27
Now they grow between 20 and 30 different crop varieties cumulatively in each field, with the village council deciding which crops will be planted.
It has even banned villagers from increasingly the straw used to make brooms a lucrative crop to try to avoid a food monoculture.
The Slow Food movement, just three cereals — wheat, rice and corn now account for around 60 percent of global expenditure.
Indian dietetics master Gracedalyne Rose Shylla Passah said recipes for many local foods such as the small snacks made of rice that are famous among the Khasis have never been written down.