Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Thank you for the A2A.
It’s not like ‘all Indians’ are obsessed with chapati. Not all of us have chapati as a part of our daily diet.
For instance, I’m from a state in south India. Our staple food is parboiled brown rice and its derivatives. Chapati is a fairly recent entry into our list of common foods. It wasn’t so popular even during the times of my dad’s childhood and teenage. We didn’t use much of wheat anyway, while rice was available in plenty. Wheat was seen mostly as a ‘Hindi food’…meaning to say that it was the food of the north Indians.
If you visit any restaurant in Kerala (my home state), chances are that the chapati you get there will not be as good as the ones you get in northern parts of India where it is far more common. I refrain from having chapati from any restaurant in Kerala. But try ordering any rice dish and you get the best stuff you would have ever had. And it’s just the other way round when I’m traveling through north India. My advice…never ever order traditional south Indian rice dishes from anywhere in north India. But try out any of their varieties of bread – chapati, phulka, kulcha, paranthas, etc. – they’re all equally awesome!
Chapati is consumed in the urban areas of Kerala, but if you go to the rural side, people still have parboiled brown rice/dishes made out of rice thrice a day. Wheat and wheat products are still viewed with a pinch of skepticism…is it good for health? Is it okay for daily consumption? Will it add to the cholesterol levels? We trust rice over wheat any day. And no, there is no obsession with Chapati in Kerala, and to a large extent in nearby Tamil Nadu either, as far as I know.