If I had to describe my summer in India in two words, scrumptious and reckless would be them. My main goal was to experience as much as I could in the ten weeks that I had in this amazing country. Obviously, food was an easy way to be adventurous – there are 10 weeks x 7 days x 3 meals/day = 210 opportunities for me to extend my palate!
After a while, eating a different dish that I’ve never tried before became difficult, and I was starting to develop several dishes that I ate regularly.
With that said, this blog post is meant to be a collection of my most memorable moments regarding food, whether it’s what I ate, or what someone else is eating.
Starting off with this cute boy that I met in Araku during a mango procurement week:
The type of mango that the boy is holding is a small variety that is meant to be eaten by sucking the juice from the fruit. Instead of peeling the skin off, the skin is kept on and the whole fruit is chewed up to eat all the flesh up. This was memorable because I had learned a new way to eat a mango!
Next up: Classic Araku Banganapelli mango taste testing
Banganapelli mangoes are bigger (I have seen several mangoes weighing upwards of a kilogram in Araku, and these were organic biodynamic mangoes too!) and are meant to be eaten in a more conventional way: peel off the skin, remove the stone, and eat the flesh.
The characteristic of a Banganapelli mango is that the flesh feels like biting into a smooth memory foam while the juice overflows from your mouth, filling it up with a pleasant sweetness.
I actually really like mangoes, but am unfortunately allergic to the skin and stone. But, these organically grown Banganapelli mangoes do not cause any allergic reactions. I was extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to eat these mangoes every day for about a month and a half.
Thirdly, food is a necessity for all living organisms:
This was taken on the road back to Ajmer from Pushkar. I remember seeing this and thinking how the monkey expresses gratitude by receiving the banana with both of its hands. I wish I could’ve seen the monkey’s facial expression to really capture this interaction between the local man and the monkey.
Finally, a photo of something that I ate myself!
This was a shrimp chili coconut fry dish in Kerala! Being a coastal state, Kerala had amazing seafood. Frankly speaking, I had a better Keralan cuisine elsewhere but this shrimp dish was plated so nicely and was taken in natural sunlight, so it deserves a place on this blog post. My food memories in Kerala are generally very pleasant, because of 1) seafood, 2) coconut, 3) spiciness! Seafood is my favorite type of proteins, coconut ranks highly in my fruits list, and spiciness is the flavor that I favor the most. Thank you, Kerala for developing dishes that are triple combination of all of my favorite food preferences!
The not-so-fun-part: Traveler’s diarrhea
As the name suggests, I had travellers diarrhea when we travelled. I’m assuming it was the water/uncooked food like vegetables and fruits that I had that caused it. Although it’s frustrating, I place more importance in being able to taste different dishes over a day of pain.
Anyways, this was the trio of medication that I received when I told the chemist that I had a bad case of diarrhea. I’m posting here for future interns to inform themselves of the following medication:
Vebiotic (on top): prebiotics to help my already-in-your-guts good bacteria grow and probiotics to introduce new good bacteria in my digestive system to enhance my good bacteria to bad bacteria ratio. This just brings the bacteria balance back to normal.
Oflotas (bottom): This 200mg tablet is an antibiotic that counters bacterial infections. In the case that the bacteria in the food has caused infections, this treats that.
Ridol (right): This tiny tiny white tablet is only 2mg! It’s the main star of the trio, acting as an anti diarrheal that acts within 3 hours of administering. Because it takes some time to take effect, I would advise taking this as soon as possible after the first painful trip to the bathroom.
Back to food: Mysore dosas, fluffy dosas!
The owner of a Hotel Mylari in Mysore was kind enough to allow me to go into the storage area next to the kitchen to see how dosas were being made. This photo was taken by shoving my phone in between the bricks that kept the storage and kitchen areas separate. Note** there are multiple Hotel Mylari in Mysore all serving 40 rupee Mysore dosas. They are obviously copycat restaurants of the original Hotel Mylari (whose dosas are saltier and the chutneys spicier). I personally enjoyed this dosa more because it was more fluffy, and the creamier chutney complemented the texture of the dosa very well.
Last up: Veena x Veena Stores (Bangalore)
When searching for places to grab breakfast in Bangalore, Veena and I both found “Veena Stores” on Zomato with very reasonable prices and a high rating. Without second thought, we planned to visit the store the day after our Mysore trip to take an obligatory VEENA X VEENA STORE photo and, of course, taste the amazing breakfast. The store is a tiny roadside store on the corner of the building. When we arrived, there was a huge line forming from the corner to the other corner. There is no place to sit and eat, except on the steps of buildings nearby. Nevertheless, the food was amazing, perfectly seasoned, and filling.
I hope this blog captured some of the food-related memories I made in India, and that future interns find it useful as to where to travel to, what to eat, and what the diarrhea pills look like.