Travel is home in this uprooted world

Uprooted – that’s how I feel in Mumbai these days; a city that I have called home for 14 years, the one that I finally fell in love with in 2018, is now making me feel unsettled and I am not sure if it’s the feeling I should fight or embrace. Continue reading

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The best meals of 2018 – Where and what I ate

It’s becoming a sort of ritual now…to round up the year with the best meals I have eaten and 2018 has been especially kind. It’s the year I really traveled for food and created itineraries for those who love to travel for food (I consult with Cox and Kings and created itineraries for their product Tour To Feast). 2018 was the year of learning about food of different communities and going absolutely hyper local.

So here they are…my most memorable meals of 2018.

deena kaka’s hing ki kachori, varanasi

Varanasi’s very own Soup Nazi, Deena Kaka runs this small kachori shop near Chowk area. The shop is literally on a footpath where people patiently wait while he fries the kachori. You can’t ask him to hurry up, you have to wait patiently and wait in the line or else you don’t get any kachori. . . Deena Kaka opens the shop for just 3 hours in the evening, fries 3 batches of kachoris and goes home. The price of one kachori is Rs 5 which hasn’t been increased in years. He doesn’t do it for money anymore, it’s purely for the love of food. And the love shows in his kachoris which are stuffed with aloo and fried in desi ghee. The air around the shop is thick with the aromas of hing which makes his kachoris stand out. He serves them with black gram and chutney. This plate of kachoris is the best food I have eaten in Varanasi.

Also Read: Varanasi – The city that runs on high vibration

Deena Kaka ki hing ki kachauri, Varanasi

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Fun things to do in Copenhagen

Nyavhn, Copenhagen

My Copenhagen trip was planned in a month, between hectic work travel and planning a pop-up dinner. And so, there was barely any time for me to research about the place and things to do there. However, there were quite a few things I was looking forward to…food, of course (yes, I tried to make a booking at Noma but I don’t think I am ready to part with 20k for a meal, not yet); cycling and late sunsets. Oh yes! It’s quite fascinating to have your dinner while the sun is still out. I traveled to Denmark in July, peak summer; something the whole country looks forward to after long, cold and dark winters. Continue reading

Will Travel For Food – Where has it taken me…

A few days ago I was invited by my friend and teacher Prof. Kurush Dalal to speak to a class of Travel and Tourism Management students. I was to speak to them about Culinary Travel giving them a writer’s perspective and how to write about food and travel. I don’t know how to teach people to write, but what I know is to tell people the experiences to look for so that they have enough stories to write about. So, as I made the presentation (yes, I HAD to the bit I despise the most!) it started shaping up into what I would do as a culinary travel writer; I spoke about things that I when p keep in mind when planning my trips, stories that I go looking for and the ones that find me instinctively. Places culinary travel has taken me to…

To a humble kitchen in McLeodganj, Himachal Pradesh

After quitting my job in 2016, my first trip was to this dreamy little town in Himachal Pradesh. My only plan here was to eat at the pretty cafes and tiny restaurants and pack-in as many meals as possible in 2 days (also read – Where to eat in McLeodganj). I had another agenda too…to take a cooking/baking class. There are a few Tibetan chefs around and I had read somewhere about Sangye’s Kitchen, a modest little kitchen in the heart of the town. I signed-up for his class to learn Tibetan breads. On that evening, while he taught me to bake using the most baking equipments he had (a gas stove and a pan), Sangye taught me the first lesson of, “start where you are, use what you have.” (also read: Baking bread and learning life’s lessons at Sangye’s Kitchen)

Sangye Tashi

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Where’s my hygge?

“This is so hygge,” said our host Anett Wæber, the founder of Meet The Danes (an agency that offers Danish home experiences to travelers), as she dimmed the lights, lit a few candles and put on some music. This was my introduction to hygge – the Danish word for the feeling of cosiness, comfort or fun. Yes, the feeling that you get when you curl up on a chair with a book and a mug of hot chocolate…the Danes have a word for it…hygge, pronounced as hoo-guh. In the Oxford Dictionary, which shortlisted hygge as ‘word of the year’ in 2016, it’s described as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Hygge is derived from the Norwegian term hugga which means “to comfort”, doesn’t it sound like a close cousin to the English word ‘hug’? After all there’s nothing more comforting than a tight warm hug from a friend or loved one.

Cosy reading nook with books, candle and hot cocoa – Perfect recipe for hygge Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

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