I will miss the food in India. Easy access to vegetarian items, liberal use of ghee and cream, and amazing breads are a few of my food highlights. During these two months I did not always clean my plate, but I never left a meal unfinished because I did not like an ingredient or a flavor.
When I return, I will be visiting Indian grocery stores to source a seasoning blend called Kitchen King commonly used as a base for curries. I may also eat more foods with my hands, try to develop some Indian style cooking skills, and start familiarizing myself with the Indian food scene in Minneapolis.
Here is a look at my final meals in this country.
Meals in Hampi including momos, a thali, and a coconut vegetable curry. The fried potato was a new variation of a familiar street food dish called pakora.
In Hampi it was possible to buy and drink beer! After looking at the bill though, it seems the establishments selling beer were not licensed for alcohol. The bill said soda but listed a price indicating otherwise.
Every day in Goa I ate a masala omelet and aloo (potato) paratha for breakfast. The items were served with curd (yogurt) and pickles. The word masala means spice or a mixture of spices.
In Goa it was possible to eat non-Indian food. Colin and I scooted to restaurants in neighboring beach communities. This meal was my first time eating chicken in India.
A chocolate thali plate was a highlight of a meal at a beachfront French restaurant appropriately called La Plage. Pesto gnocchi was a win from an Italian restaurant, Oltremarino. It was fun to be a decadent tourist for a few days.
In Anjuna Beach in Goa I visited a beachfront cafe called Eva. It was a great place for an afternoon of lounging and reading plus eating a fresh vegetable salad was a special treat.
Food varies across states in India. In Mysore I visited Indira Cafe and ordered the special south Indian thali. This thali had different types of breads and more sauces than a thali from northern India. A popular bread in south India is a puffy crunchy item called papadum.
On the bike tour in Mysore we drank chai and enjoyed breakfast. Indian chai is ubiquitous and tasty. It is a drink made with tea, milk, a lot of sugar and spices. Chai is served steaming hot in tiny cups. After the bike ride we ate dosa and vada with a coconut chutney.
During the 2-day stay at the Rainforest Retreat all meals were provided. Food was served buffet style and it was delicious.
Instead of snacking on junk food during my final bus journeys in India, I started eating meals at the rest stops. For these meals I selected basic foods to help me feel more comfortable eating part way through long bus journeys. Either vegetable noodles or vegetable rice were my staples.
A samosa on the street in Kochi.
A New Year’s Eve dinner with a big group of new friends from the hostel. Alba, a traveler from Spain, made a reservation at a local restaurant. I ate paneer masala, a well spiced barbecued cheese kebob with vegetables. Sitting at the end of our table, I enjoyed excellent conversation with out neighbors Tim, Xian and Jonny, who were on holiday from the UK.
Brunch prior to attending the New Year’s Day parade in Kochi. We picked this restaurant using Trip Adviser and were happy with the recommendation.
With Kim and Joost from the hostel, I went on a day trip to Allepey to see an area known as the backwaters. We grabbed breakfast at a roadside stand and ate a traditional lunch served on a banana leaf plate.
Along with Maura, Jasmine, Emma, Kinga and Joost, more friends from the hostel, we traveled to Munnar on another day trip. On the way we stopped for breakfast at local cafe. I ate uttapam. Also pictured is dosa and idli.
During the day trip to Munnar we also stopped for lunch. Pictured is a vegetable curry, butter chicken, and panner pakora. Paneer pakora is an Indian version of mozzarella sticks, one of my favorite foods!
I wandered for a day in Kochi with more new friends from the hostel. We had a snack at a local cafe. It was a treat to eat fresh cut fruit. I drank a ginger soda with locally grown ginger. Later in the day we shared great traditional foods at a seaside restaurant called Ginger House.
My last night in India I splurged on a fancy dinner. I smiled at the irony of eating dim sum, meat, alcohol and using chopsticks for my final meal. Nothing about this meal was similar to any other food experience I had enjoyed during my visit.
The hostel in Bangalore provided free breakfast. I ate a dosa with curry sauce one morning and scrambled eggs the next.
The hostel owner in Bangalore recommended I try Toit, a neighborhood establishment and the second brewpub to open in Bangalore. The hefeweizen was excellent as were the fish and chips.