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An image of a modern variant of the idli, a southern Indian breakfast staple, has polarised the country’s food lovers.
The humble idli is a fluffy and round steamed rice cake that is served with sambar, or lentil soup with vegetables, and white coconut chutney on the side.
The photo doing the rounds on social media, however, shows the idli served on an ice cream stick, giving the traditional dish a modern spin.
The exact origin of the photo is unknown. Some on Twitter, like industrialist Anand Mahindra, claim it emerged from Bengaluru city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
“Bengaluru, India’s innovation capital can’t stop its creativity from manifesting itself in the most unexpected areas… Idli on a stick— sambhar and chutney as dips…Those in favour, those against??”
Bengaluru, India’s innovation capital can’t stop its creativity from manifesting itself in the most unexpected areas… Idli on a stick—sambhar & chutney as dips…Those in favour, those against?? pic.twitter.com/zted3dQRfL
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) September 30, 2021
Many food enthusiasts and commentators were left conflicted.
“A perfect balance of creativity and practicality,” wrote Anish Kapoor, chief executive of the Indian branch of Infinix Mobile, a Hong Kong-based smartphone company.
Innovation at its best!!! A perfect balance of creativity & practicality. #Bengaluru, India's innovation capital, never disappoints. #Idli on a stick. #fridaymorning #FridayMotivation pic.twitter.com/apfdTV4B0P
— Anish Kapoor (@AnishKapoor16) October 1, 2021
“What a brilliant innovation,” wrote Saundarya Rajesh, founder of Avtar, a diversity and Inclusion solutions firm.
What a brilliant innovation! After #ThattuIdli and #TumblerIdli now comes #KuchiIdli! (A Bangalore innovation according to whatsapp!) Karnataka is indeed the Idli capital of the world 🗺️ pic.twitter.com/ByOEYVNC89
— Avtar Dr Saundarya Rajesh (@SaundaryaR) September 30, 2021
While some warmed up to the new way of serving the dish, others were not so happy and called it “another step towards madness.”
After pav bhaji fondue this is another step towards madness.
— VirtualSid (@VirtualSid) September 30, 2021
Indian politician and writer Shashi Tharoor called the dish “absurd but practical.”
“Idli on a stick, with sambhar and chutney. Might cause riots in south India, but it’s a good idea [as] kids don’t wash hands before eating these days,” wrote writer Rakesh Thiyyan.
Idli on a stick, with sambhar and chutney. Might cause riots in south India, but it's a good idea - kids don't wash hands before eating these days. pic.twitter.com/FzGiXPxAOH
— Rakesh Thiyyan (@ByRakeshSimha) September 30, 2021
“Another reason why I’m team dosa. Can’t put dosa on a stick and offend sensibilities,” wrote journalist Anna Isaac.
Another reason why I'm team dosa. Can't put dosa on a stick and offend sensibilities. https://t.co/peAXNh83Wr
— Anna Isaac (@anna_isaac) October 1, 2021
“Never thought a day would come to see our beloved idli on a stick,” wrote Dinesh Unnikrishnan, deputy editor of finance news portal Money Control.
Never thought a day would come to see our beloved idli on a stick :( https://t.co/rFp0gQpWwG
— Dinesh Unnikrishnan (@Dinesh_Unni) October 1, 2021
“Ghastly! This is blasphemy,” wrote another clearly upset foodie.
Ghastly! This is blasphemy. https://t.co/26o4dS91dg
— Suryah Ravichandran (@Suryahrc) October 1, 2021
“That idli on a stick is an abomination. And should be banned immediately,” wrote Ajay Kamath, professor and head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Kasturba Medical College in Karnataka’s Mangalore city.
That idli on a stick is an abomination. And should be banned immediately.
— Ajay Kamath (@ajay43) October 1, 2021
“Idli on a stick? This is an attack on Indian tradition,” wrote another social media user.