I had picked up this book “Rude Food: The Collected Food Writings of Vir Sanghvi” last week and did love to read it. The author Vir Sanghvi is someone who’s style of presenting had always seemed not the run-of-the-mill, also his wit was clearly visible. It is a really good read but with one problem (for me), the details on the delectables are just too much of a tease. The first part “enter the dragon” is all about Chinese and Thai cuisines. The more I read the more I was enticed. So, just thought a very simple thing that I could do is just to put it down and don’t read. Luckily for me, the second part “high life” just became more of a how-to and a what-is guide to caviar, truffles, and chocolate etc. I didn’t get past the truffles and caviar. Although the chapters aren’t to be read in tandem but written so to enjoy each as an independent article in itself, I lost my appetite (pun). The indulgent read became very irrelevant to me.
But it did spark a delightful thought journey to all my gastronomic escapades. And so, here I am penning those thoughts. Since a rambling of ” I had this or that” isn’t going to be a good write. Instead, I could organize it into a collection of posts (inspired by the book of course). Hopefully, I have enough to write to call it a series if not a collection.
So, giving a purview on the topics – street food, being roman in Rome (cuisines that I have tried whilst traveling), the buffet bunch, college adda and if on a whim, there could be more.
I love street food – the chaats, momo’s, dosa camps, kaiyendhi bhavans, vada pav, the faafda and chilly, fruit chaats, thick with malaai badam milk, hot jalebi’s, bajji’s and bonda’s, kaati rolls, bombay sandwich.The list could literally go on and on.
I should be thanking my Dad for introducing us to all the late-in-the-evening nagrathpet’s (avenue road perpendicular) multiple-course meals. We would start the first course with kaiyendhi bhavan, which loosely translates ‘to seek with one’s hands’ bhavans. There weren’t plates, it was just a cleaned out pattal/patravali leaf or a banana leaf. They had the most scrumptious masala dosa and soft like cotton idly’s with the basic red(tomato) chutney and white (coconut) chutney and my Dad always had chithranna there. On to our second course would be the Fruit chaat, this is where I learned the idea of adding some honey on to your fruits for that extra sweetness. Tip: always try to go for the fruits from the Muslim fruits stall vendors. They have the skill to choose the ripened good tasting fruits. Then for the drink to wash it all down- the badam milk. They keep the milk ever-boiling on a HUGE shallow kadai. You could always ask for the extra maalai. Piping hot drink. Just pure awesome. Then at the end was this ‘thatha’ with a huge pappad.
When I spoke of this to my friend he mentioned the Food Street in V V puram. A bunch of guys treated me for my send off, they thought I would fly away to Germany. So they routed the taste routes on the street. We started off with some chaat and sugar cane juice and then moved on to Bun Congress from V B Bakery. (Congress for the uninitiated is nothing but really spicy roasted split groundnuts. 2 rupees is all that you needed to get a fistful of congress. It was a staple for many school goers back then). Then the baiji’s and the all-year-round obattu and oligai (dal and coconut poli’s). We didn’t go for dosa and idly coz we were full already. And so we finished off with masala soda.
Also on Food Street one can find, a heaven for the side snackers – Vaasavi Condiments, it is the place to go when the hitikbele season starts in Bangalore, you get hitikbele in all possible varieties- spicy, non spicy, garlicky, just salted, pepper salted etc. On Food street, you could get all the Shetty style snacks -curd kodbele was too ingenious for me.
Although I haven’t yet tried – it remains a bucket list item, to check out either Shivajinagar or MM road for the many varieties of non-veg food specially cooked during the month of Ramadan. Another street food during that season would be the onion samosa’s.
Another place to be mentioned here is Sagar on the Dr. Rajkumar road in Rajajinagar, this place although a restaurant has a very active street scene. The place is open well beyond 12.30 in the night. I and my sis have had many a late night snacks when we have to drop off our parents or our other sis to the airport. The mango milkshake is the best I have had. Note: offseason too is available, but not that tasty. It’s mango milkshake with cream and little cubes of Alphonso mangoes. They have pav bhaji, vada pav, dabeli and the faafda with chilly until late night.
When we talk of Faafda and chilly, how could one forget sukh saagar. That place is heaven for all vegetarians. Their ice creams wouldn’t melt that quick, they maintained the texture just until it would melt into your mouth. SukhSaagar’s falooda is probably only second best to their rabdi Khulfi.They have a section each for mumbai chaat and delhi chaat- 2 very different chaat styles. Should try, to know the difference.
Of course, I couldn’t probably end this post without talking about the ubiquitous chowmein, fried rice and gobi manchurian. Every chaat stall invariably ended up serving these.
There is street food stall in Kasturinagar, where the guy started off with momo’s and soup and ended up serving up to 10 items within a year. So is the craze of street food.
Writing the post has made me want some street food, so will be gone now. Do share your favorites and where to find them.