Vidya Balan’s food choices are just like the characters she plays on screen. They’re real and most importantly relatable for ordinary people. While most actors prefer to be on a healthy diet trying to balance their proteins, vitamins and carbs, Vidya Balan has a refreshingly ‘common’ taste in food. And while she does indulge in Mexican and Ethiopian cuisines occasionally, her preferred delicacies are maa ke haath ka khana, bhel and masala chai.We recently caught up with her in Hyderabad shooting for Bobby Jasoos, and since it was lunch time, a thorough round of interrogation on her food habits was high on our menu. The tabloids give her flak for her weight; we expected her to stuff her face with Hyderabadi biryani. Surprisingly, her lunchbox had home-cooked sabzi, roti
and raita. In her words…
I’m not a foodie! I eat to live. I don’t live to eat unlike a lot of other people. They love food. Ever since I have come to Hyderabad everyone has been asking me if I had the biryani here. But I always say ‘no’. Because I haven’t. And I don’t even crave it. I love the food cooked by my mother. South Indian food prepared by mother is bliss. Whenever I’m in Mumbai I have lunch at my parents’ house.
At one point I was heavily into Thai food but no longer. Now I love Mexican food! I like French cuisine because they use a lot of pumpkin and I love pumpkin. I got introduced to Chinese and Italian food here in Hyderabad. Ethiopian food is exciting. They have a kind of big dosa on which you have various accompaniments – some are like sabzis and some are like chutneys. I found it interesting. I love Lebanese food too. I had it in London and Paris. It’s awesome!
I will never be able to give up masala chai. Whatever happens I have to have it. I have it at least five times a day. I start my day with a refreshing cup of chai and a biscuit.
Say ‘no’ to cooking
I never cook. (Laughs) As a new bride I ladled pre-cooked food into bowls, which I then brought out on the table. I have made coffee for Siddharth (Roy Kapur) once. (Laughs) He was kind, as usual and said he liked it. But I tasted that coffee too.I can only thank him for his kindness.
In my dabba
I usually have roti, sabzi and raita in my dabba. I don’t eat rice and I have daal once in a while. I get into these habits. Like when I have raita, I don’t like eating daal. When I am having daal I don’t want to touch raita. Though there is no connection between the two but it’s just my fetish. I love chutneys. I can have chutneys of various kinds every day, onion and tomato chutney is my favourite. Andhra Pradesh is the best place to have them. Indian chutneys are to die for. I love salads too.
Bhel is something I have enjoyed for years. I’ve had it every day for the last so many years! It’s become a part of my diet. Bhel is light and you can have it anytime. People can’t understand how I can have it every day but I enjoy it. On shoots my assistant makes it for me because I don’t have raste ka bhel. Otherwise in Khar we have a lovely bhelwallah, just outside Costa Coffee. He makes the yummiest bhel. During my growing years in Chembur, bhelwallahs would frequent our colony. They’d carry those huge containers on their heads and also bring along a stand. (Laughs) I have had that bhel all my life.
Siddharth and I enjoyed a romantic meal on our honeymoon in South Africa. (Laughs) I won’t reveal more about it.