Aug 24, 2009

Heightened Tastes!

A wonderful part of travel is the various kinds of cuisine one is exposed to. The local as well the the local versions of other globally accepted fares. The journey through a place can be traced by its food. One such book by Sephi Bergerson titled 'Street food of India' made me reminisce about the places in Himachal which made the trip rather lip-smackin'!

Tibetian Phuntsok, Road to Rohtang/Vashisth, Manali

An unassuming little place which is almost not visible from the road, a faded sign is all there is which leads into a tiny garden in the backyard of the house with a few tables placed overlooking the valley and the mountains in the distance with the Beas rumbling below. Its like a haven with overgrown shrubs around which makes its secluded. It claims homemade food and thus has brightly colored posters requesting you to be 'patient'. The veg/chicken momos and thupka there was to die for.

Chamba Dhaba, Marhi

We reached Marhi [enroute to Rohtang from Manali] one rainy evening, riding back from Rohtang. We stopped there for shelter at this Dhaba, rather a makeshift structure with wooden beams and tin sheets for a roof. We sat there hearing the deafening roar of the rain hitting upon the dhaba, a place suddenly warm and smelling deliciously of food! Tea, rather 'Chai' in such weather is almost like tasking heavenespecially when combined with the ubiquitous Maggi!

Johnson's Cafe, Manali

We landed here, strictly adhering to Lonely Planet's advice and well was quite bowled over. Perfect for a chilly Manali morning, the place sported a Colonial stucture with a touch of the local architecture characterized by the interspersing of stone and wood in the construction of the walls, as the backdrop. Seated on quaint wooden benches at the edge of a garden with trees laden with apples, old lamp posts and the wispy freshness of the morning dew on the colorful burst of flower. Breakfast consisted of baked egg and spinach, ginger lemon honey, pancakes – with honey, butter and lemon. We also returned for a shimmering yellow evening with translucent lamps above, the beads clinking away gently as the wind sweeps across the apple trees. The speciality here is the trout, we tried the smoked one and the world's most succulent lamb in thyme and wine sauce.

Chandra Dhaba, Batal, Edge of Lahaul Valley

In the vast desolate stretches of wilderness that Spiti Valley offers, this place is like a tiny little oasis in the desert with its warm makeshift shelter. A corner of the dhaba was lit with the natural light streaming in from a sort of skylight in the roof making it the sunniest part of an otherwise dark room. Supplies were stacked along the walls and there were stone platforms with mattresses strewn about. In the middle of a famished bus ride from Manali a kindly lady dished out ladles of steamed sticky rice, potato curry, a mix of pulses all at 13120 ft...divine.

Ylomo Restaurant, Kaza, Spiti Valley

A dark cozy room with little plastic chairs, and beautiful panorama's of Nepal and Tibet on the walls (with one of Kajol and Kareena Kapoor thrown in as well). Buzzing with activity, of little school children in the morning and a pretty little girl of the owner who flitted about serving us now and then. Breakfast consisted of heavily stuffed aaloo paranthas with sour and salty tibetian tea. Omelette and ginger honey lemon to add to the same.We tried the momos here as well along with the thukpa which are recommended.


Kunal said...

is that a pic of the menu card at Johnson's cafe?

Goli said...

One of my most remembered "food on road" was a simple rice Sambhar :). We were just descending from TalCavery in Coorg, and it was cold and we stopped at this roadside shack. We were served just rice and very hot and tasy sambhar to go with with little spicy pickle. Amazing that was. :)

TalkingHead said...

hey came across your blog through someone else's. Beautiful pictures..Good luck with your book. Tomar blog follow korbo- looks like you are foodie too.