If you follow our blog, you will remember that I was pretty rough on Italy with respect to food (see Food, Italy and Expectations in September blogs). Hey, I was really anticipating some incredible food in Italy and felt disappointed that it didn't pan out. But that is old news at this point, now we are in India.
Our original thought was that we would eat our way through Europe and then lose all the weight we gained in Africa and India - either because the food wouldn't be very good or because we were physically sick from travelling in third world countries. Now that we have traveled Africa and are 2/3 the way through India I am pleased to report that no one has gotten sick and that we are not losing any weight due to poor food. Just the opposite - the food is fantastic!
In Cincinnati we live in a neighborhood where we can walk to our choice of three different Indian restaurants (all Northern Indian). Sophia (one of our faithful blog followers) asked if the food was just like Ambar, one of these Indian restaurants. Sophia, the answer is yes, just like Ambar only better, greater variety and CHEAPER! You can get all your Indian favorites here: Masala, Paneer, Tandori Chicken, Butter Chicken, Biryani and of course all the wonderful Indian breads. The same dish can vary greatly from one restaurant to the next but for the most part they are all great. The only thing that I don't like is that a lot of times, your rice will not be hot, just room temperature. At home a piece of plain Naan is about $2.00 if I remember correctly, here it is $.30. A dish of Saag Paneer at home will set you back about $8.00 but here, in a nice restaurant, it will cost you about $.90. We often find ourselves ordering excess food just so we can try something new and figure, what the heck, it's only another dollar! Here a family of 4 can eat for 300 Rupees ($6.00), the price of one Coke in Venice.
When we were north in McLeod Ganj we had the option of not only eating the wonderful Indian food, but also Tibetan food. After a while we gave up on the Indian food figuring that we could get that when we reached Jaipur, so here in McLeod Ganj we will eat Tibetan. That was equally as wonderful. Avocet and Siena discovered Momos, dumplings filled with potato and cheese, or vegetables or lamb. Those are the three most popular fillings but there are others. They have incredible noodle soups like Thankthuk with flavorful broths, vegetables, noodles and your choice of meat (other than beef) if you choose. It's a meal in itself. The noodle dish Chitsu was one of my favorites. We made sure to return to one of our favorite Tibetan restaurants the day we were leaving to get our last fix.
If you are willing to risk it, you can eat street food for less than $.50 and it looks and smells awesome. So far we haven't been willing to take that risk and content ourselves with the smells as we go by. Now the only thing I need to figure out is where I'm going to lose those extra pounds that I thought would be taken care of here in India!