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While it is a traditional dish that has been native to the areas in and around the Himalayas since time immemorial, down in the plains the thukpa enjoys a special place of its own. The soup, made traditionally from vegetables, meats, sea food and noodles is a favourite during the winters owing to the fact that it provides both nourishment and warmth as well as being a wholesome meal in itself. And with the mercury levels already dropping in the city its popularity continues to rise in the city.
Take the case of the Free Tibet Corner located at the Shashtri Nagar chowk on the busy Nagar road. The popularity of the place stems from the fact that they have three different types of thukpas. The vegetable, chicken and lamb thukpa all enjoy a wide audience base. Owner of the place, Kishen, says that the dish is popular during this season because it provides a sharp contrast to the chilling climate with its heat and warmth. "More than that with ingredients like garlic and ginger they help to battle common ailments like cold, cough and flu. Our vegetable thukpa is one of the most popular dishes and combined with momos makes for a good meal for two," she says. While it is not exactly pocket friendly with a meal for two costing anywhere between Rs 300-350 Kishen says that the price compliments the quality of the food served there.
While the distinction about its status as a food is not clear right from its origins, where it can alternatively be used as an appetiser and a main course dish, here in the city the same changes with the advent of various seasons. "The thukpa served in the summers is more lighter than the one in winters," says Kishen, adding, "It alters between being an appetiser and a meal." While the dish originally has various varieties that include the likes of Drethug, Thenthuk, Gyathuk and Pathug but there is very less in terms of innovation done to the dish in the city. Aniruddha Limaye, Executive Chef Courtyard Marriott, Pune Hinjewadi says that its popularity lies in its barebones form which itself is one of the fastest moving items in winter. "A majority of our guests prefer this dish because it is very healthy. It is low in calories and very high on nutrients which makes it popular. Also even though a bowl of the dish can be a meal in itself, it is very light on the palate." According to him, the chicken thukpa is the highest seller at their premises.