Nov 21, 2011

Culinary Tourism in Hampi

Eating is not the first thing I would think about in Hampi. Culture and history are more like it. But from my past travels to Hampi, I have realized there is a whole new revolution with the culinary culture in this place.


Local Breakfast : Fried Bajjis early in the morning
My first encounter with this culture was when I hopped off the overnight bus. The main road of Hampi town has local restaurants serving hot idlis and mirchi bajji with chutney for breakfast. They cook almost on the road and anyone passing by, who catches the delicious smell of idli steam or bajji fry is simply invited to sit inside and get served. Cook outside and serve inside. That’s right, it is opposite of most places.


Don’t like it fried? Then go Continental.
The next morning I relaxed on the mattress in the guesthouse’s restaurant and the menu set me off in awe. For a tiny little village, the menu card of each guesthouse’s restaurant ranges from continental breakfast to a full-fledged Italian pasta including Indian curies and roti/naan, finishing off with pancakes and pudding desserts. My continental breakfast came with a fresh juice, 2 eggs with the option of fried, boiled or omelet, toasts with butter/ jam and a coffee to finish off. I would specifically vouch for the well made vegetable omelet (with minimum grease as I requested) and a beautiful Cappuccino. Not sure if that little kitchen had a Cappuccino machine, but whatever it was made of, that coffee really kickstarted my day. My French friend’s Indian breakfast looked more sumptuous with greasy Alu Parathas served with spiced yogurt and an Indian Chai.


Khanawali
Rest of the morning, I went to the ruins and got busy admiring and photographing and never realized how exhausted I got in the scorching October sun. I got so hungry as I started to cycle on my rented bicycle that I had to stop at the local restaurant for lunch. Khanawali, is the local name for the North Karnataka restaurant. And the meals they cook are locally grown vegetables curry (nutrition masters alert!), complete with lentils’ (yes, I got the proteins) served with Jowar roti and rice. That was the tastiest meal I had in ages. As I stepped out in burping satisfaction, I noticed their nameplate said they were featured in Lonely Planet. All for a minimum price of seventy five rupees. That was a steal


Nepali cooks' signature dish
I took the last boat back to the guesthouse side of the river, this time determined to taste the Nepali’s hand cooking. I ordered a vegetarian Pasta Arabica which I have to agree was beautifully cooked and flavored. Though not authentic flavoring, the pasta definitely struck a chord with my taste buds. Our new found French friends offered us to taste their Aloo Palak with Roti and again I gorged on it like there was nothing else. Admittedly, the Nepali’s cooking had an Indian flavor to the Western dishes but the taste was second to none. The cream of this meal was Nepal’s own Saklab dessert or “Hello to the Queen”. It is sliced bananas mixed with vanilla icecream and topped with chocolate sauce and biscuit crumbs. Filling is an understatement. Food was fulfilling and satisfying.

12 comments:

  1. Wow, even after having finished my dinner an hour ago, it made me feel hungry and regret not having eaten anything in Hampi during my last one day visit!

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  2. What a great write up- makes me want to zoom over there and try out the food and relaxation.

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  3. wow, making me hungry just looking at it!

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  4. Very different and true. Eating will be last thing on my mind when at Hampi.

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  5. Truly tempting! I need to plan a trip to Hampi soon!!!

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  6. Wonderful and different take on Hampi tourism

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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