My 23 Day Indian Food Journal

In 2001 I discovered the joy of food, changing my life forever. This was the year I became a boarder at Clayfield College. It must have been the combination of being a growing teenager with the knowledge that the provision of food in this place was limited to pre-determined times of day and the fact that food does indeed taste better in company – there were about a hundred of us in the Clayfield College Boarding House dining room each night. Two years later I arrived in Kuala Lumpur and discovered Malaysian street food. I had five years to develop a palette as well as a stomach for spicy oriental cuisine. Along the way I fell in love with two sambal (a chili based sauce) dishes: 1) sambal udang (prawn) and 2) sambal kangkung (water spinach). Even after leaving food-crazy KL for bland Perth my appetite has remained ferocious. Good-food-hunting is one of my favourite interests and I most definitely consider myself in the category of those who live to eat. Therefore, it was only essential that over my 23 days in India, a land known for its dynamic array of gastronomical offerings, that I kept a record of my every meal…

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aloo = potato
chai = mixed-spice tea
dahlfry = yellow lentils
lassi = yoghurt-based drink
rajma = red kidney bean curry

Day June Meal Dishes & Drinks Location
1 3rd Dinner Stuffed Masala Dosa & Lime Juice Somewhere in Karol Bagh
2 4th Breakfast South Indian Buffet Sunchi, Karol Bagh (recommended by Binu)
Street Chai Old Dehli Vendor (recommended by Binu)
Lunch Snacks on tour bus En route Dehli to Agra
Dinner Chicken Biryani & Sweet Lassi Hotel Royalé, Agra
3 5th Breakfast Omelette, Roti, Aloo & Chai Hotel Royalé, Agra
Lunch Rasmilai GMB, Agra
Dinner Brinjal Curry with Naan & Papaya Lassi Maya Hotel/Restaurant, Agra
4 6th Breakfast Banana
Lunch Potato & Spinach Curry with Chapati & Mango Lassi (recommended by Binu) Fatepur Shukri
Dinner Butter Chicken & Aloo Gobi with Rice Jaipur Inn rooftop
5 7th Breakfast Toast with Jam & Chai Jaipur Inn
Lunch Aloo Roti, Gulab Jamun, Rasmilai & Sweet Lassi (topped with syrup, ghee & pistachio) LMB, Jaipur  (recommended by Binu)
Dinner Cashewnut Curry (recommended by Binu) with Butter Naan Somewhere on the main street in Jaipur
6 8th Breakfast Potato Chop & Sweets from LMB
Lunch I’m not ashamed to admit that I went to MacDonald’s & ordered a Maharaja Mac Meal. It was a cultural experience trying the Indian equivalent of a Big Mac. Back home the three bun pieces would have sandwiched two juicy beef patties but in India where cows are sacred chicken was the replacement meat. For non-vegetarian Indians mutton seemed popular, while fish was a rarity throughout my Dehli-Agra-Jaipur travels & completely nonexistent during my time in the mountains. At the Jaipur MacDonald’s I also had a bite of Efua’s Paneer Wrap which looked like a crumbed chicken fillet, had the texture of a fillet-o-fish & tasted like soft melting cottage cheese heaven. All in all, I enjoyed my Indian MacDonald’s experience & didn’t get sick from the lettuce in my Mac or the ice in my Sprite. MacDonald’s, Jaipur
Dinner Chicken & Mutton Kebabs (recommended by Binu) & Okra Curry with Naan & Litchi Lassi. Honestly, although the ambience of this rooftop restaurant was by far the most elaborate of all the places we dined on the tour I was disappointed in the average-ness of the kebabs & the very overcooked okra. At least the Litchi Lassi was a pleasurable new experience & saviour for the last meal ever with this group.
7 9th Breakfast Butter Roti & Chai En route Jaipur to Dehli
Lunch No meal on bus to Dehli
Dinner Plain Roti Himachal Bawan (waiting for bus to Shimla)
8 10th Breakfast Aloo Payaz Paratha with Omelette & Coffee En route Shimla to Kalpa
Lunch Vegetable Chowmein En route Shimla to Kalpa
Dinner Mutton Noodles & Coffee Hotel Rakpa Regency, Kalpa
9 11th Breakfast Toast with Omelette & Chai Hotel Rakpa Regency, Kalpa
Lunch Thali & Chai En route Kalpa to Kaza
Dinner Too tired – straight to bed Kaza Homestay
10 12th Breakfast Paratha with Omelette & Chai Kaza Homestay
Lunch Veg Momos. My first taste of this traditional Spitian dish left much to be desired. I found momos similar to Chinese dumplings, also steamed but made with a thicker dough. The peas in this particular batch seemed slightly undercooked, much unlike the general nature of Indian food. En route Kaza to Kee
Dinner Mixed Vegetable Curry, Potato Curry, Fried Noodles, Chapati, Black English Tea & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
11 13th Breakfast Aloo Paratha & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
Seabuckthorn Juice Solar Bath Site
Lunch Dahlfry, Rajma & Rice. Kee Monastery
Chai & Biscuits Solar Bath Site
Dinner Vegetable Chowmein – not a fan of the Indian version. Pretty sure this gave me gas. Kee Monastery
12 14th Breakfast Scrambled Egg & Puri with Black Chai. Kee Monastery
Seabuckthorn Juice Solar Bath Site
Lunch Dahlyfry, Mung Dahl & Chawal. Kee Monastery
Chai & Biscuits Solar Bath Site
Dinner Marsala Maggi Instant Noodles (requested by half of the Solar Bath group). My least enjoyable meal in India to date. Kee Monastery
13 15th Breakfast Cornflakes, Boiled Egg, Paratha with Seabuckthorn Jam & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
Seabuckthorn Juice Solar Bath Site
Lunch Dahlfry, Mung Dahl, Tomato & Onion Salad & Rice. Kee Monastery
Chai & Biscuits Solar Bath Site
Dinner Gourd, Potato & Soy with Steamed Bun & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
14 16th Breakfast Cornflakes, Boiled Egg, Paratha with Seabuckthorn Jam & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
Seabuckthorn Juice Solar Bath Site
Lunch Dahlfry with Rice. Kee Monastery
Chai & Biscuits Solar Bath Site
Dinner Last night’s leftovers with cauliflower – Spitian equivalent of meatloaf? Kee Monastery
15 17th Breakfast Cornflakes, Boiled Egg, Paratha with Seabuckthorn Jam & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
Lunch Boiled Potato & Egg. 4 hour (8km) trek from Laduk to Komik
Lemon ginger tea with biscuits. Chief monk’s quarters, Komik Moastery
Dinner Aloo Momos with Coriander Curd & Spinach Soup. Komik Homestay
16 18th Breakfast Chapati & Mixed Fruit Jam. Komik Homestay
Lunch Chapati & Mixed Fruit Jam. Komik Homestay – missed today’s trek due to symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness.
Dinner Green Bean Curry with Chapati. Demul Homestay
17 19th Breakfast Yoghurt with Paratha & Black Tea. Demul Homestay
Lunch Pulau (Rice with vegetables). Demul Homestay
Dinner Aloo Momos with Vegetable Soup. Demul Homestay
18 20th Breakfast Yoghurt – our poor hostess thought it strange that I was fighting an upset tummy with so much yoghurt. At first she seemed reluctant to bring out more, probably because this meant milking the cow again. Demul Homestay
Lunch Omelette & Paratha. 4.5 hour trek from Demul to Lhalung
Dinner Pulau with Tomato & Onion Salad. Kee Monastery
19 21st Breakfast Cornflakes, Boiled Egg, Paratha with Seabuckthorn Jam & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
Seabuckthorn Juice Solar Bath Site
Lunch No appetite. Kee Monastery
Too hot for Chai & Biscuits Solar Bath Site
Dinner Maggi again 😦 Kee Monastery
20 22nd Breakfast Cornflakes & Black Chai. Kee Monastery
Seabuckthorn Juice Solar Bath Site
Lunch Rajma & Dahlfry with Rice. Kee Monastery
Too hot for Chai & Biscuits Solar Bath Site
Dinner Aloo Pata Gobi (Potato Cauliflower Cabbage) with Rice. Kee Monastery
21 23rd Breakfast Depart Kee for Manali at 6:50am without breakfast.
Lunch Vegetable Fried Rice. Chattru
Dinner Vegetable Fried Rice again. stranded overnight at Chattru
22 24th Breakfast Chapati with Jam & Butter & Coffee. Chattru
Lunch Snacks on bus, including coal-cooked corn with lemon and salt from a roadside vendor. This was the first time I’d ever had corn like this – definitely prefer corn boiled and buttered. En route to Manali
Dinner Too tired on bus. En route Manali to Dehli
23 25th Breakfast Snacks on bus. It’s amazing what the body can cope with when forced out of its comfort zone. En route to Dehli
Lunch Veg Snack Wrap. KFC New Dehli Metro Station
Dinner Paneer Cashewnut Curry, Butter & Garlic Naan,  Mango & Sweet Lassi.  Excellent farewell meal to India with Laura & Alvina! Tadka (recommended by The Lonely Planet Rough Guide)

En route from Shimla to Kaza I assumed I was being taken for a foreign fool when a Spitian banana vendor refused to sell me bright yellow ones claiming they were too raw while the patchy brown ones were perfect to eat. So one day I managed to buy yellow ones much like ones I would have chosen in a supermarket in Perth to find that they were indeed pasty and hard. I waited for five days, in which time the remaining bananas had ripened slightly but no where near as edible as the almost too-ripe-looking patchy brown ones. Lessons learned: 1) bananas are not the same the world over and 2) local vendors are not always lying swindlers.

Over my 23 days in India I had 19 cups of Chai, 7 Lassi’s (of which two were flavours I’d never come across before: papaya and litchi), 3 Naans, 4 Roti’s, 6 Chapati’s, 10 Paratha’s (mainly at breakfast), Dahlfry four days in a row and some form of Aloo 11 out of my total 23 days in the country. When it comes to world cuisines I consider myself very openminded, but after almost one full month of Indian meals I think I’ll give myself a good break between my next tasting of dahl and roti.

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