Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the month “June, 2016”

Guest Post: The 150 foot journey within Bangalore’s Food Street

Akki roti

Akki roti

Two months to know a city. That is all I can think of. Two Months. Can it ever be enough to know or see something of a city that is home to zillions of people coding-decoding the mysteries of life, or uhm, the daily grind at least?

I am moving to the capital soon. Delhi – with its wide roads and scorching summers. Delhi – of history in each stone and politics in each message. And Delhi with, hopefully, yummy street food. Street Food in itself is a funny concept, is it not? You eat something on the streets of a certain city. And the same thing is sold in restaurants in a different one. Pav Bhaji in Kolkata. Dhokla in Bangalore. Idli-wada in Delhi, chicken rolls in Hyderabad. But the only way to eat the food of any region and to understand what makes them tick, is to eat it in that city itself. Imagine being served a steaming plate of Missal Pao in Kolkata. Looks like daal with chanachur/ mixture on it. I would probably slot it in the evening snacks genre. And yet in Maharashtra, that is a staple breakfast. Similarly Poha Jalebi would never be breakfast for someone in Mumbai, but for people from Indore, it would be a way of life.

So to understand the nuances of lip-smacking ‘south indian’ food above and beyond the Idli-Wada-Dosa that I have eaten since childhood, I agreed (very readily, if I may add) to my friend’s invite of visiting Bangalore’s Food Street.

Known as Thindi Beedi, this stretch in VV Puram, Bangalore, is a foodie’s delight. But of course, you have to be open to experimenting. Thanks to my fabulous guide to everything food in this city, we knew exactly where to start.

Thindi Beedi

Thindi Beedi

On one end of the stretch, standing proud and tall is VB Bakery. This place is easily 40 years old, or maybe more. But the smell of freshly baked puffs and sweet honey cake wafts through as soon as you enter. We tried our hand at the honey cake and the incredibly named, Congress Bun. The Congress Bun is actually a Khara Bun lathered on the inside with a paste of peanuts with Turmeric and Chilli. Spicy and yummy till the last bite, these get their name from the colour – which resemble the political party’s flag colours.

Congress Bun!

Congress Bun!

This is probably just me, but I notice the bakery culture being more pronounced in Bangalore than any other city I have lived in. Bombay did have bakeries, but those were for chicken and mutton cutlets, rolls, chips, sometimes kebabs etc. The best one for – from where I have often got breakfast and party food alike – has been A1 bakery in Bandra, though I am sure there are many strewn around town. However, in Bangalore, bakeries are mostly vegetarian, serving home baked breads, biscuits, cakes etc. There is probably one Iyengar bakery every few hundred metres. Just as there are hot chips stores. (I wonder if everyone who grew up here, grew up on tapioca/ banana chips and honey cakes. Sigh!)

Paddu being made fresh

Paddu being made fresh

Paddus!

Paddus!

Going ahead from the bakery, we strolled till we found one big stall with a crowd thronging around the counters. Some strategizing later, we decided to go ahead and order almost everything we could see – which included Akki Roti (made with rice flour) with curry, Paddu (Smaller, lightly fried idlis), Kodbale (rings which taste like murukku on the outside but are softer inside). We stood on the street, ate up with our hands, looked at people coming in from all sides, and kept wondering if each country has such a huge variety of food, and if all foodies across the universe feel the same rush of excitement when they see something new.  The end of the journey came with the spicy taste of Masala Puri. However, the best, the very best, end to the non-extravagant but extremely satisfying dinner would have to be Shivanna’s Butter Gulkand ice-cream. As I stood there and watched with no-idea-what-I-was-getting-myself-into, a man with practiced ease put a spoonful of butter into a leaf-bowl of gulkand, whisked it and topped it with some ice cream and chopped fruits. Delicious.

Masala puri

Masala puri

Butter Gulkand fruit ice-cream

Butter Gulkand fruit ice-cream

So, in one day, I ate more than I had in the last 6 months in this city, and fell in love with the cuisine. All for less than Rs 150! Since then, I have tried many more authentic-Bangalore stuff. From the Dosa and Mangalore Buns at MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Rooms) to the Chicken Biriyani, Kaleji fry, Ragi Mudde served on banana leaf plates at a tiny Military hotel (the old and very basic hotels where the old Bangaloreans would get their non-veg fix). And each have, thanks to friends who know the city and servers who talk with pride of their food, shown me one more aspect of a city I was not so sure about.

Holige which will be served hot, with ghee

Holige which will be served hot, with ghee

Sohini loving Honey Cake!

Sohini loving Honey Cake!

Kodbale

Kodbale

My two months are almost up. And here I am loving this city a bit more. Om Nom N—I meant, love.

Sohini Sen is a blogger, journalist, dancer and traveller. Follow her journey on IndianCuriositea and North Wind’s Journey

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Review: Dimcha — Marrying Dimsums with Chai

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Green dimsums with beans

I love dimsums. Honestly, anytime is ‘momo time’. My sister, whom I share an apartment with in Delhi, often refuses to go out with me for dinner if I suggest going for dimsums because, let’s face it, when it comes to self control over stuffing my face with dimsums, I lack it completely. Secondly, I may have mentioned earlier how much I adore tea. Little wonder I dedicate a whole shelf in my kitchen to different types of teas from around the world. My favourite thing to buy on my travels to tea-friendly states and countries is – tea of course! So, when I get a chance to go to a place which has laid emphasis on two of my favourite things, it’s little wonder I didn’t do cartwheels. Well, maybe in my head.

Pickled ginger and kiwi coolers

Pickled ginger and kiwi coolers

The Concept

Dimcha, located in Nehru Place inside Epicuria Food Mall, is an interesting concept. Spinning off from the Chinese concept of Yum Cha (going for dimsums, this restaurant offers a wide array of dimsums and teas to accompany them. It’s not a very big place but has a very calm and laid back feel to it. The white and blue checkered floor gives it a very casual look. One can sit inside as well outside, though preferably in the winters. Considering it’s a dimsum place, the tables are laid out with chopsticks and very cute miniature coke bottles with sauce. And I loved their brown plates as I’m a sucker for pretty crockery. The walls are tiled and have popular recipes! The seating is very comfortable and one can see the live counter where chefs are preparing the meals.

The glass window kitchen

The glass window kitchen

Khowsuey soup!

Khowsuey soup!

Deliciousness Served

We started the meal with kiwi and pickled ginger coolers which were refreshing. Then were served two types of soups – Ba Mee and Khowsuey. The Burmese Khowsuey is usually served as a meal in a bowl but in Dimcha, the broth had been made lighter and portions smaller. The Ba Mee broth was spicy and had a good helping of vegetables and noodles. I would definitely recommend trying them if you enjoy spice.

Ba Mee - broth with noodles and veggies

Ba Mee – broth with noodles and veggies

Then came the raw papaya salad, a staple in many South East Asian regions. The crunchy peanuts paired very well with the lime-covered salad. But my favourite starter was the red turnip cake. I’m not a turnip fan at all. I avoid it at all cost. But it was just so delicious that I couldn’t help but ask for a second helping. Soft and subtly flavoured, I know what to order the next time I’m there.

Raw papaya salad

Raw papaya salad

Red turnip cakes, my favourite

Red turnip cakes, my favourite

Dimsums are the real deal at Dimcha. They have specially handcrafted  many on the menu with unusual pairings. Beet skin, carrot skin, prawns, chicken – each dumpling is created to suit every type of taste bud. You don’t like beans, no problem, try the steaming chicken one in Hoisin sauce instead. The beetroot and prawn ones were so succulent that I can’t wait to go back for them!

Mixed vegetable dimsums

Mixed vegetable dimsums

Prawn dimsums

Prawn dimsums

It’s a place I will recommend for dimsum lovers. Try their unique combinations because they really are good!

The crockery is really nice as the colours pop against the brown

The crockery is really nice as the colours pop against the brown

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: Epicuria Food Mall, Nehru Place  

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