tasting india symposium

When you explore or explain a new concept, it is a simple practice to eliminate what the object of study is not. It is an effective practice but only in the beginning. Once you have eliminated what it is not, you need to start defining what it is. When it comes to Indian food, it is easiest for people to say what it is not. Whether it is a resident Indian food writer or a non-resident Indian chef, everyone has a clear list of what…Continue Reading “Process of Elimination and Indian Cuisines”

siddheshwari pice hotel kolkata

Streetfood is the sign of a city’s body and mind. Streetfood tells you how safe and active a city is. It also tells you what the intentions of the city are and how it wants its citizens to behave. Let me explain. Two years back, while walking back from the promenade in Pondicherry to our hotel, I and my wife were a little worried as it was well past midnight. Though there were people on the road, the streets were dark. And, then we saw…Continue Reading “Kolkata: Of streetfood, pice hotels and access to protein”

ode to safeda

There are snobs who say there is nothing called a veg biryani. There are rebels against paneer because it tastes like styrofoam. There are jihadists against chicken because only red meat is meat. Last few days, I i have come across many mango terrorists. Safeda is an impostor, it does not deserve being called a mango, safeda is bleh, safeda is thuuuu, safeda is tatti. I love safeda or Banganapalle or baiganapalei as we call it in Odisha. Baigana means brinjal in Odia and I…Continue Reading “An ode to safeda”

luchi bhaji in guwahati

Close to the Apsara theater in Guwahati was this guy who came around seven and was gone before twelve in the noon. Luchi ( lusee ) bhaji seemed like the national breakfast dish of Assam. So, every cart and dhaba had their own version. Even the hospital that my mom in law was admitted in did horrible parody of this beautiful dish. Anyway, this here was the best of the lot. The luchis were spotless, the curry was chana dal and alu. Many make this…Continue Reading “Luchi bhaji in Guwahati”

Jorabagan Police Station

How I became the ultimate authority on Kolkata is a matter of serendipity. We were informed that Jorasanko is closed on Sundays and open on Mondays. That was incorrect. But it led us on a journey that needs telling. We discovered the truth while were well on our way and had to quickly reroute. Thankfully, the cab we had hailed had an amazing bade chacha in the driver’s seat. He smoked bidi, sipped water from the first plastic bottle ever made, talked shyly and did…Continue Reading “The Kolkata heritage tour that you must do”

jack daniels masterclass Jeff Arnett

Jeff Arnett is the Master Distiller at Jack Daniel’s. He is only the 7th Master Distiller of Jack Daniel’s in over 150 years of the brand’s existence, the first one being Jack Daniel himself. So, attending the masterclass was a serious matter for me. Here are the notes:   • Jack Daniels is made from corn and grains. Earlier all whiskey was made from rye, so having a large component of corn was a novelty during the early years of JD. • Rye tastes of pepper…Continue Reading “Notes from Masterclass by Jeff Arnett, Master Distiller, Jack Daniel’s”

Zaika e Nizamuddin

When people talk of passion, I go ‘huh, who stole my bag when I was coming down on the earth train?” However, the good part about being bored is you walk into the most interesting stuff from time to time. Let me tell you the story. Aga Khan Foundation set out with their community outreach program in Nizamuddin basti. The first thing they noticed is the malnutrition among the basti children. A little more research showed that a major reason for it was the fast…Continue Reading “Nizamuddin Eleven and Zaika-e-Nizamuddin pop up”

kalsang AMA cafe non veg platter

Okay, the rule is pretty simple. If the name has a Kalsang in it, enter. We went to the restaurant upstairs the night before and wished to try the cafe for lunch. It was one of the best decisions taken in the two day trip. The cafe is massive, has a great feel and view of the city and hills too. Coming to food, we started with the fries. After a lot of confusion, we ordered the fries with bacon. And, this bacon was better…Continue Reading “Kalsang AMA Cafe, Dehradun”

aapsosh sivsagar assam

This sweet is called aapsosh, meaning regret. That’s absosh, I know, but you know how the bongs turn every a into aa and b to p and all that. This is from Sivsagar, a small but historically critical city in upper Assam. It was the capital of Ahom kingdom and is one of the most important sites, globally, for shiva worshipers. The only other site that comes close is Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar. Anyway, back to aabsosh. It is half chhena and half khoya. Some…Continue Reading “Tasted Aapsosh yet?”

ziu delhi

Once I quit restaurant reviews and to some extent food blogging, many things changed. Now, I have the liberty to go to well reviewed restaurants and not be first one on scene. The one to photograph every bite banned photography when we started our pop ups. We will photograph every dish and mail, we said. I strated writing about food in 2011. Times were different then. There were few, there were no perks or rewards. Like the programmers from 80’s, the first movers were there…Continue Reading “Ziu, Delhi for thai food. And, about quitting restaurant reviews”

hotel folksy madikeri

This is a really small place in the small town of Madikeri. It is run by a couple, we never saw the wife who cooks. Food for two including chicken, mutton, pork and a veg thali that had sambhar and rasam and a bean coconut fry was 360 rupees. The rice portions were massive, we returned a bowl and got a discount too. Now, all the three curries tasted different. The gravies had nothing similar. The pork was the most alien flavour – it was…Continue Reading “Hotel Folksy Food, Madikeri”

asiatique the riverfront bangkok

Let’s start with a confession. This was some sort of a tourist hotspot. The approach by road is bad. You have to go by a boat that is specially run by Asiatique. Everything about it sounded like a tourist trap. And, to add to add to stigma, friends who went there had loved it. So, the challenge of discovering something that very few knew or liked was also gone. I was not at all kicked about going to Asiatique. But, eventually, we did. Right after…Continue Reading “Asiatique the riverfront, Bangkok”

indique jodhpur

Lately, we have hit on a formula. Food trips. Some cities may be stinky, some sights may not be worth the pain, some plans may not work out etc etc. Then, fall back on food. And,it works every time. This time, after being fed up of the general stink of Jodhpur, we decided to eat the very best places. Indique was at the top of the heap. And, it was such an antidote to everything else. Amazing view of the fort. Amazing khada lamb. This…Continue Reading “Indique Restaurant, Jodhpur”

shahi samosa jodhpur

The shahi samosa is not a snack, it is a meal. It was the size of my palm and my palms are like any other ape’s. And, it was spicy and awesome. But what was remarkable was the alu bonda. The moment you bite into it, the universe smells of hing. It is massively spicy, has onions and garlic etc too. In my estimation, the bonda was way more potent than the samosa. In contrast, the mirchi bhaji was nice and the green chili sort…Continue Reading “Shahi Samosa, Jodhpur”

Bangkok is spotlessly clean but it’s hard to find a public toilet within the city streets. Tourist places have plenty. So, as a last resort, I walked into a Japanese restaurant near Sala Daeng station for a beer and a pee. Sadly, they could not serve beer till 5 in the evening. Some rule that bars restaurants from serving alcohol before 5 pm. Even Seven Elevens that sell alcohol have these time rules. Anyway, in the absence of beer, I ordered a chicken thigh and…Continue Reading “Peeing in Japanese”

vertigo bar bangkok

Every time, we go out of Delhi, I feel rich. Other Indian cities don’t compare. Bombay, Bangalore, Chennai, Pondicherry etc are way cheaper. No expensive restaurant there would shock you. In Bangkok, Vertigo, which is on 62nd floor and is ranked one of the best bars in the world had dishes and drinks priced around 900 rupees (450 baht). The drinks came with 2 chips and wasabi peanuts. Then with food, we got a bag of chips and prawn and mayo complimentary. We ate at…Continue Reading “Something shady about Delhi restaurant prices”

naga cafe sathorn

How do you eat in an unknown place? You pore over tripadvisor, ask friends and bloggers and spend days on internet planning. I did pore over the internet. But eventually, the places we ate at were places we found through just walking around. If you can feel vibes and trust your instinct, you will end up eating well or you will have an experience anyway. To think that there is only one best way to navigate a city is stupid and you should be open…Continue Reading “Naga Cafe, Sathorn, Bangkok”

All of us know there is a massive hole in Odia food writing. I am not talking about recipes, I am speaking of writings that deliberate on cuisines, compare cooking methods and practices in different parts of Odisha as well as giving a historical context to what we eat. And, then there is the issue of exploring lesser known regions. The recipes currently floating are majorly coastal Odisha. Rarely something is seen from the north, west or south or regional variations in cooking. I have…Continue Reading “Appeal to Odia food writers and bloggers”


There are three kids in the family. The younger is all nonsense, mischievous, gets into all sorts of trouble. Nothing is out of bounds for her, she can do anything she wills to. She is also incredible fun, full of zest, laughs like a wild kid and every one loves her. The middle kid is more serious, a workhorse of sorts, does all the heavy lifting for the family and chips in when the younger one just can’t do it. he is reliable, dependable and…Continue Reading “The rice siblings”

masala papad

Have you ever spent a moment to think about the guy who created masala papad? His friends who created butter chicken and vada pav and jain shikanji have become legends. This poor dude who gave India the starter it never had is a nameless one. How unfair!