“We chose these cuisines out of our own preference as well as with the consideration that we can make healthful hearty food using fresh ingredients and traditional techniques avoiding artificial flavors and condiments.”
The hunt for delectable cuisines never stops; even better when it doesn’t compromise with our health. True to its name, Forage, here’s this lovely couple, Korou Khundrakpam and Kundo Yumnam, from Imphal that after much quest and research, came up with this aesthetically pleasant restaurant that not only serves different kinds of food with a local twist, but also teaches the benefits of healthy and sustainable living through the items and things used in their restaurant.
Hi, would you like to tell us a bit about yourselves?
We are a couple, Korou Khundrakpam and Kundo Yumnam, from Imphal. We were professionally trained in Fine Arts and we saw our creative pursuits lead us from Delhi to Imphal and from paintings to food!
Tell us a bit about the restaurant and when was it launched?
After trading our arts practice in Delhi for a cleaner and greener slate in Imphal in the year 2011, we were constantly looking for avenues to start enterprises and initiatives with a closer import to our community. We started a design studio where we did research projects on alternative sustainable building materials apart from graphic, film, and web design. Down the line, we started a line of handmade natural soaps as well. And all this while we had always dreamt of opening our own restaurant where people can have a good time having good healthy real food. We found the right spot in 2016 and focused all our efforts into building up the place and opened the doors of Forage in the winter.
Any source of inspiration that let you to open up this restaurant?
We have been keenly interested in the idea of real food for these last few years, even before we moved back to Imphal. We have been following various courses of the global movement for healthy slow food and implementing it in our lifestyle. Kundo was actively advocating it with her blog – Open Challenge to Plastic Fast Food. So, the idea of starting a real food restaurant was gradually developing in our heads. On the other hand, the idea of running a space where we can host small art dos like exhibitions, performances, etc. was very tempting too.
Any specialties about your restaurant?
We believe what sets us apart is our keen focus on healthy real food, eco-friendly operation, and art. It translates into many small and big attributes that makes us who we are; such as our homemade condiments, country chicken and eggs, kombucha – a wonderful probiotic fermented drink, sourdough bread, traditional tribal cuisine, no MSG, no bottled water, reusable stainless steel tea infusers and sipping straws, bio-degradable takeaway wares, music gigs, poetry readings, contemporary dance, and the list just goes on and on!
So, does your eat-out cater to all kinds of people?
We have a much focused menu which is mainly divided into two sections – Neighborhood and Elsewhere.
“Neighborhood” features a range of dishes inspired by the hearty traditional food of the region. It is characterized by a nuanced play of various rich local herbs and condiments. They are very much non-vegetarian and spicy by nature!
“Elsewhere” is an eclectic spread inspired by the Mediterranean cuisines and some other cooking from the West with occasional local twists.
We chose these cuisines out of our own preference as well as with the consideration that we can make healthy hearty food using fresh ingredients and traditional techniques avoiding artificial flavors and condiments.
How has your roots and upbringing inspired you?
Roots is what we came back to set up a home and an enterprise. And more often than not, our roots are where we turn to for healthy food. Also, ginger in our beverages, fish mint root with chili are everyone’s favorite!
Watch the video walkthrough of Forage Cafe, Imphal to give you a better sense of the ambience, the food and the people.
Follow Forage on Social Media Instagram & Facebook and do visit the place on your next trip to Imphal, Manipur – address below:
Address: Forage Imphal 2nd Floor, KokSamLai Tower (Opp. Thau Ground), DM College Road, Thangmeiband, Imphal West, Manipur 795004