Will Donald Trump stick to steak, meatloaf or seafood that are believed to be his favorite food or indulge in some Mughlai-style food, including biriyani and kebabs during state dinner at Rashtrapati bhavan or at lunch hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi? That seemed to be a big question engaging media attention in India prior to the president’s visit.
“What’s on U.S. President’s menu besides a trade deal?” a headline read in Mint, a financial daily; while thequint.com asked, “Bush Got Biryani, Obama Got Kebab — What Could Be on Trump’s Menu?”
However, it turns out that Trump was treated to a mix of Indian and American foods. For the state dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Feb. 25, the menu included appetizers like salmon tikka, aloo tikki, palak or spinach chaat and a lemon and coriander laced with lemongrass.
For the main course, Trump was served raan, which is a roast of mutton leg, with gravy and mutton biryani. The vegetarian fare will include pulao, gucchi or mushroom matar (peas).
Desserts included Malpua and rabri with apple pie and vanilla ice-cream, followed by tea, coffee and paan. According to News18, there are about 32 main chefs in the main kitchen and the food is prepared fresh, a few hours before the event.
For the lunch hosted by Modi, the menu included curried pineapple with mustard seed, hand pounded mutton, and pink salmon marinated in sweet basil chutney along with a chicken braised in rich marrow gravy along with assorted Indian breads. The dessert menu includes dry dates pudding, stewed apricot and gold leaf fig ice cream. Along with the menu, the playlist for the lunch was also carefully curate, according to the News18 report, and included a mix of bhajans, ghazals, western classics and Hindi film songs
The previous day, during his visit to the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on Feb. 24, the president and first lady did not eat anything from the high tea offered to them. According to reports in The Washington Post and the Independent, award-winning chef called Suresh Khanna had adapted a number of famous Indian delicacies as well as familiar items such as chocolate-chip cookies and apple pie. Alongside khaman, there were also samosas. However, rather than the traditional potatoes and peas filling, these were filled with a combination of broccoli and sweet corn. “Some food items were arranged for the members of the visiting delegation, but neither the president nor the first lady had anything during their visit to the ashram,” one of the ashram’s trustees, Kartikeya Sarabhai, told the PTI.
Although the Trumps did not try the samosas, Indian Twitter was quick to criticize the chef’s attempt at fusion.
Deepal Trivedi, editor of the Ahmedabad Mirror, was apparently on hand for the high-tea menu. “The #BroccoliSamosa is a miserable snack,” she wrote on Twitter. “Not a single person finished a full one! Wish there was something genuinely Indian for high tea rather than this bastardised version of our yummy #samosa. Bad menu choice for #NamasteTrump.”
Meanwhile the Kerala Kaumudi reported The Maurya had provided the delegation with their own private chef who could prepare “any kind of cuisine or food they want in a jiffy.”