2015 Travel Logbook – ft. Fantastic Indian Foods And Where To Find Them

Given our love for food, this post was long coming. It is a proof of how nice things happen to you when you travel.  2015 was a year of joyful travels for the Slowrover team. Individually, we travelled to distant parts of this beautiful country, getting unbelievably lucky when it came to food, This post celebrates our love for Indian Food, and we share with you, the best treats we had in 2015 (and where to find them). Here it goes

Disclaimer : You will feel very hungry. And you will need to travel.

Omelette Indulgence at Lovely Omelette Centre, Mussorie
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Cheese Omelette at Lovely’s

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Foodgasm in the making

Lovely Omelette Centre is considered to be one of the best omelette experiences in India. Extensively covered by all the leading travel/food journals of India (Lonely Planet, Outlook Traveller, Trip Advisor, Highway on my Plate), this Omelette paradise is adored by all. It offers a limited variety of omelettes (Oil/Butter/Cheese being the prominent ones).

Location: At the Picture Palace end of the Mussorie Mall (Uttarakhand), near the Church.

 

The Joy of Looking At Fresh Banana Chips Being Prepared 

Travelling through Kerala meant being exposed to both banana chips and coconut water in plenty. And they don’t love their banana chips for nothing. Check out a fresh batch being prepared in Thekkady :

Location : Malabar Chips, Thekkady. There is lots on offer here – sweet, salty, tangy banana chips and several kinds of other specialities like tapioca chips.

 

‘Tikki-Chaat’ of Vrindavan
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Tikki Chaat, anyone?

The star of Indian food, made of humble potatoes made special by spicy sauces, Tikki Chaat, can be found in any Indian food neighbourhood, but the one in front of the ‘Banke Bihari’ Temple in Vrindavan simply stands out from the crowd. The chaat owner serves you the piping hot chaats, while boasting about how his little corner shop was started years ago by his forefathers.

Location: Vrindavan

Pitai Parantha near IIM Calcutta, West Bengal
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The Pitai Parantha

Pitai parantha literally translates to ‘Beaten-up Bread’ due to the peculiar way it is made. Firstly, a large round piece of fine wheat flour (‘Maida’) bread is heated on an inverted round bottom utensil, until it becomes extremely soft. Then, the semi prepared parantha is ‘beaten up’ against a plain surface to obtain the pitai parantha. It is undoubtedly one of the most interesting/delicious foods I’ve tasted across India, even though it is served with a simple Aloo Sabzi.

Location: About half an hour drive from IIM Calcutta towards the Diamond Harbour.

 

Lunch starring freshly caught fish on a houseboat in Kerala 
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Freshly caught fish, fried and made pretty with shallots and lemon

2015 was the year I got my first experience of living on a houseboat, sailing through the backwaters of Alappuzha, Kerala.  What made the days more memorable was the hospitality of the staff and the beautiful food. Here you can see a simple lunch comprising of rice, sambhar, fried fish, veggies and tossed salad.

Location : JCT Houseboat, Allepey

 

Mewa Halwa of Vrindavan
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Mewa Halwa at Vrindavan

Vrindavan is a holy Indian city located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is not only hailed as the playground of the Hindu god ‘Krishna’, Vrindavan is also a bustling paradise for the food-lovers. Mewa Halwa, or the Dry Fruits Halwa is one of the most famous morning snacks of Vrindavan.

Location: Vrindavan is located at a distance of 150 kms from Delhi. Mewa Halwa can be found at any of the sweet shops omnipresent in Vrindavan.

 

Tea Tasting In Munnar, Kerala  
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A collection of the best teas at Harrison Estate, Munnar. My favorite? The soft aroma of the white tea!

My travel companion liked to comment on how Munnar was nothing but a huge tea garden to her. And she was kind of right. The beautiful symmetry of tea plantations which makes Munnar beautiful also makes sure that visitors have a lot to choose from when it comes to the beverage category. We enjoyed tasting the white tea, the green tea, the black tea and had fun trying to tell the difference.

Location : Harrison Tea Estate, Munnar

 

Beautiful Breakfast at a homestay in Coorg, Karnataka  

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Even if you are the most seasoned foodie, sometimes you just seek the comfort of, well comfort food. And the food cooked by at Naladi homestay in Coorg is just that. The experience of staying at a place removed, if not remote from citylights is accentuated by the food. This breakfast comprising of rice bread, vermicelli upma accompanied with sambhar and coconut chutney won my heart a hundred times over.

Location : Naladi Homestay, Coorg

 

Double Scoop Sizzle Brownie of Mapro Garden, Panchgani, Maharashtra
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Need I say More?

Frankly, anything you eat in Mapro Gardens is worthy of making a cut to this list. However, they are responsible for serving one of the yummiest desserts that I had in Maharashtra.

Location: Mapro Gardens is located on the famous Panchgani Mahabaleshwar Highway in Maharashtra.

 

The tangy ‘Tree Tomato’ of Vatakkanal, Tamil Nadu
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The tangy Tree Tomato

Got a chance to have a distinct tasting ‘Tree Tomato’ at Vatakkanal , that lies on the Kodaikanal-Munnar trekking route. It had a sourness that resembled a plum, a tomato, but also had phases of extreme sweet taste.

Location: Vatakkanal, near Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.

 

Ada Pradhman or the best dessert of Kerala  
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The dish which gave me serious cooking goals – Ada Pradhman. No, I haven’t mastered it yet, will appreciate your help!

If someone tells you this is a difficult dish to make, believe them. A lot goes into this simply delicious dish made of rice, jaggery, coconut milk and nuts. And the taste is unforgettable.

Location : The Turtle on the Beach, Kovalam.

 

‘Paan’ of Vrindavan
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The Vrindavan Paan

The ancient Indian mouth freshener made of betel leaves called ‘paan’ is something you can find in every nook and corner of the sub-continent. However, some Paans are more Indian than the others. Vrindavan, being a haven of lip-smacking dishes, supplied me with this delightful looking Paan.

Location: Vrindavan is located in Uttar Pradesh, at a distance of 150 kms from Delhi. Paan, like the Mewa Halwa, can be found at every corner of this ancient town.

 

Freshly squeezed Apple Juice at Bhagsu, near Mcleod Ganj, HP

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Bhagsu is a mini-hill station often overshadowed by its sister-town of Mcleod Ganj. Frequented mostly by Israeli nationals who have arrived here to attain nirvana, Bhagsu is fast becoming a favourite amongst the Indian backpackers as well. Its small food cafe’s give you a feel of the 90’s serve some authentic Indian and Israeli food. Probably one of the best places in India to sit back and have a sip of freshly squeezed Apple juice (while penning down poems on a napkin).

Location: Bhagsu is situated at a kilometre long walk from the Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.

 

Home-made chocolates of Chick-Chocolate-Mussorie, Uttarakhand

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Chocolate, or the world’s favourite milk product, is something I look for in every town I travel. My favourite chocolate experience came from this little known chocolate shop in Mussorie. Chick Chocolate provides its fans with a variety of options to indulge in. And trust me – each one of them tastes like little drops of happiness. Yum!

Location: Chick Chocolate is located at the Picture palace end of the Mussorie Mall Road. Ask around, the localites simply adore it.

 

Street Chai ‘Tea’ of Jaipur
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‘Chai-Chai’

The street chai, or the ‘tea’, is a quintessential Indian past-time. After all who doesn’t like the taste of strong tea on a cold, dark Jaipur evening.

Location: Near Fortis Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

 

The Best Chaat that warmed my heart on a cold winter morning in Benares
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Seen here – Dahi Puri, Sev Chaat, Tamatar Chaat (clockwise from top left)

While Benares has a reputation for its spiritual aura, it has its fair share of material goodness in the form of great food. Now if you are like me and believe that as a philosopher you need a happy tummy, Benares has loads to offer. I am a fan of the Chaat which ranges from the mushy, spicy tamatar chaat to the crisp and creamy dahi puri..

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One bite of the Dahi Puri unleashes a creamy, crisp, spicy, sweet, tangy battle on your sense. Awesome.

Location : Though there are several chaat shops to choose from , I really enjoyed eating at Dina Chaat Bhandar. You could wash down the spicy affair with a cold glass of lassi from the Blue Lassi Shop or a plate of Malaiyyo from the nearest thela if you are visiting during the winters.

 

Here’s hoping for more awesome food this year 😀

PS : If we can tell you a secret, the year has started well! With a lot of good food yes!

 

Vibhav Bisht (with inputs by Swetambara Chaudhary)

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© Copyright for all the images owned by SlowRover. 

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