Packing an appetite

Packing an appetite
Food is the best way to discover the cultural identity of a place. Not plane food, but just plain food. Precisely why in recent times there has been a surge in the number of foodie travellers.

A break from the mundane and routine is what everyone looks for — in cuisine as well. Bengaluru has its own share of foodie travellers who will go to any length for that unique culinary exploration.  

Food blogger and recipe developer Neha Mathur never leaves any chance to experience the cuisine of the place she travels to. “During every trip of ours, we make sure to explore the local food. In fact, before every trip, I research on the food habits of the place to know what to expect. This year, we had gone to Leh and Ladakh. The terrain is difficult and it is cut off for seven months. The locals consume what they can grow in that climate, which is potatoes, radish, turnip and spinach. They also
grow millet.”

Elaborating on her food adventure, she says, “I tasted some of their local cuisine like ‘Phukpa’, which is basically a vegetable broth with maida noodles, and ‘Thenthuk’, yet another noodle kind of dish, and the butter tea. I must say I didn’t enjoy the butter tea but I wanted to taste everything. Yak butter, cheese and meat are also part of the local cuisine. In fact, you can find cafes serving Yak pizzas,” she says.     

Street food is a great leveller, and quite a revealer. The best part is it does not burn a hole in your pocket and the foodie travellers certainly do not flinch while trying out the local cuisine. They are clearly on the lookout of a new experience, be it food or drink.

Hospitality consultant and food lover Aslam Gafoor says he loves discovering food, be it in India or abroad. “I am always looking for local food experiences.”

Recollecting his food discoveries, he says, “In Penang, there is a night market in one part of the city which has all kinds of street food in the evening. It is a gastronomical experience and the best part is, it is very reasonable.”

“When I am in Europe, I make sure to visit the farmers’ markets which sell fresh produce. These markets have local food and it is available only there.” Closer home, he recently explored old Hyderabad for its specialities. “I had gone there with my daughter and we had the famous ‘biryani’ and ‘tandoori’ chicken at ‘Shah Ghouse’. We also visited ‘Nimrah Cafe’ for its biscuits and tea. I carried back some biscuits as well,” he says.  

While other travellers bring back curios as souvenirs, it is food and food products that these travellers fill their bags with. “I brought back dried apricot from the apricot orchards in Ladakh, apricot jam and a mix of puffed barley apricot kernel,” recollects Neha.   

Food stylist Ashwin Iyer too travels quite a bit, almost every month. “I love Mumbai for its amazing street food. In fact, I heard of this guy who sells black ‘pav bhaji’ in the financial district at night. So we hunted him down. The ‘pav bhaji’ was amazing and different from the regular one. If I am in any place, I try to find a local person and have food at their place.” 

“Of my food adventures, I was charmed by Munnar’s street fare. If I am in Goa, I go for the Konkani and Portuguese combination cuisine available in North Goa,” he says.

Ashwin recollects eating at an amazing place in Sringeri. “It is a small house called ‘Mantri Nilaya’ where they serve South Indian breakfast.” But he has more on his bucket list, like the street food in Bangkok and the ‘House of Nanking’ in San Francisco. “It is a hole-in-the-wall place for oriental food but has corporates lining up for the amazing food there.

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