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recommendations of the gourmet kind

During my 2.5 month stay in Bangalore, I had the opportunity to try out a variety of types of food, edible and otherwise and some of the experiences were so skewed towards the extremes, from gastronomical heavens to diarrhoe-ic hells, that I thought I should record them on my blog.

To begin from the beginning, the crunchy Vadas at the Samyukta Karnataka canteen next to Devatha Plaza are hard to beat. They offer a mean Masala Dosa as well. The icing on the cake, or should it be sambhar on the idli vada?, is provided by the super-low prices.

Bangalore is heaven for the fruit juice lovers of all hues. Colorful outlets, mostly called Juice Junction, dot the city landscape like Reliance hoardings and do incredibly hectic business pouring out Mosambi, Grape, Pineapple, Water Melon, Mango and even Carrot juice at prices that ought to render soft drinks of the carbonated type totally redundant.

I remember having mango shake in Vashi (Mumbai) for Rs. 30 a glass. The same shake costs Rs. 10 or Rs. 12 in Bangalore. Mumbai vendors, shame on you.

Bangalore eateries, especially the Darshini types, serve a bewildering variety of rice items, with exotic names like Puliyogare, Vangi Bath & Bisibele Bath etc. to name a few. While each one has a unique taste and its loyal clientele, what I failed to figure out was the rationale behind not offering all the rice items on all days. What this meant was that the restaurant that I used to go to every afternoon for lunch from my office, served my favourite Bisibele Bath only on Fridays. The rice is so good its a crime to not make it on the other days.

Being a north-Indian by birth and upbringing, my taste buds yearn for the typical flavors of the gangetic plains and nothing typifies them better than the incredible paani-poori. Known in various parts of the country as phhuchkas, Golgappe, fulki and pani batashe etc., my love for these divine delicacies is the stuff of my family legends.

It is this uncontrollable urge for these orbs of lip-smacking delight that led me to try out the same at a myriad range of outlets in Bangalore, from the swank eatery in Koramangala 3rd Block to the humble roadside tray-on-stand type on the arterial road near ITPL, Whitefield.

Having tasted them at 27 different outlets in the past 2.5 months, I can claim with a reasonable degree of certainty that the paani-poori on offer at the humble outlet in front of Adiga's restaurant on Bannerghatta Road (in the lane opposite HSBC & Accenture near IIM Bangalore) is quite simply the best. Period.

While the rest of the places had either moong-dal or some shady type of peas as the filling, this joint has the genuine Aloo-Imli-Nimbu-Garam Masala-Dhaniya-Lal mirch-combo that is guaranteed to set the taste buds tingling at mere sight. Add the divine smelling Jeerajal that has the unique east UP tang and you have something that is so perfect, its almost a dream which even pinching yourself will not rouse you out of.

Talking about Aloo and poori now, I have to mention that the Ramprasad restaurant opposite Shivajinagar Bus Stand serves the most awesome Poori with Aloo bhaji this side of the Vindhyas. Must try and at Rs. 10 (standing) and Rs. 11 (sitting) its a bargain like none else.

Just in case you have begun to think that I am ignoring the techie zone - Electronic City, I may hasten to add that the Aloo Fry at the I-forgot-the-name dhaba in front of the Phase 1 gate of the E-City stands proud and tall among its more illustrious brethren from the Delhi region.

And to round this out, for the rice afficionadoes, I recommend the Steamed Basmathi rice at the Indraprastha Hotel on the Majestic Cirle opposite the Royal Lodge. Sheer magic !

Bon Appetit !

mujhe bhookh lag rahi hai ye sab padh kar...canteen chalo jaldi ;-)


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