Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From Airport Food to Indian Street Markets

More pics and tales from my eating adventures in India...

Airport food San Francisco-style.
Our plane out of SF was delayed by many hours, causing us to miss our connection... but also causing us to get a voucher for lunch from the airline. I just want to give some mad props to the SF international wing for having this awesome mediterranean place with tons of vegan options! Hummus! Tabouli! Dolmas! Way better than I expected. Nice work, SFO!

Airport Food, Delhi Style.
We missed out flight to Mumbai, so we were sent to Delhi first, and then to Mumbai. This gave us enough time to go through customs and then eat samosas and veg puffs in the Delhi airport food court. Right on!

Beautiful lentils and legumes!

Here I am sorting through piles and piles of spice packets at a little store in Mumbai.
So many spices!

A typical display of veggies and herbs... nicely laid out on the ground. Limes, red carrots, pigeon peas, herbs up the wazoo, fresh curry leaves (the best!!!)... ahhh

I know you'll all appreciate this... a kitchen wares shop in Tulsi Bhag, Pune. These kitchen supply stores are just amazing and completely irresistible. Lucky me that my travel companion was just as much a foodie and kitchen fiend as I am. I think we went in pretty much every kitchen store we passed... just in case! I love the way the stainless steel and copper sparkle and glisten. Somehow these Indian kitchen wares have a combination of practicality and beauty that I find quite wonderful. Of course I bought stuff to bring home- little containers for my spices, a thali set (plates and mini bowls), plus a few different "tupperware"-style containers. I love them!

Produce! There is no shortage of amazing fruits and veggies in India. Watermelon, okra, beans, corn, onions, cantaloupe... It was so great to have a kitchen in our apartment, because we could buy pretty much whatever caught our eye and cook it up at home!

Here I am in our little kitchen. We only had two burners, but that did the trick! We had to go out and buy some spices in order to stock our kitchen - which was completely empty upon arrival. Eating out in India is very inexpensive (and delicious!), so we usually ate out for one meal, and had another meal at home - mostly just for the convenience and comfort of eating at home.

Honestly, our creations weren't always so wonderful, but we gradually got our act together and made some good food. We found some great herbed tofu (aka "soy paneer") at the grocery store! Here's an example of a home-cooked meal, I think Jane made this one - veggies and tofu sauteed up with some brown rice. Nice, simple, yummy.

And here's another home-cooked meal... spaghetti with herbed tofu tomato sauce (and spinach - we ate spinach in practically every meal) by me... and a lovely little beet & carrot salad with cilantro sauce by Jane. Yum!

Jane and I were really snack-crazy in Pune. India is the Land of Snax. Seriously, there are delicious and alluring snacks on every corner. And many more between the two corners. Sweet, salty, sweet & salty, sour, sweet & sour, etc etc. You can find it all. Crunchy! Crispy! Fresh! Above, you see my photo-re-enactment of our daily snack dilemna: Good or Evil? Mini bananas or Chili-Pepper Act II Popcorn (vegan!). Just like a little angel and a little devil - tempting me! I'd bet anything that I ate mini bananas AND popcorn that night!

Here are some of the snacks we tried:
Baked potato wedges - verdict: FAIL! good spices & flavor, okay texture, somehow not too compelling. The bag was not finished, which really says a lot.
Soya Snax - verdict: WIN! We loved these! They were made with okara, and had a wonderful graham crackery flavor. We went back a few times to get more, but could never find them again. Which was sad
Sour Punk gummy stix - verdict: WIN! Especially cola flavor. Loved these naughty little candies so much, and was very sad when I went to stock up for my return home and they were all out of cola flavor. Woe is me.

More Snack Reviews:
Mini Bananas: WIN! Duh! I ate so many of these. I also did many drawings of them. I love mini bananas forever.
Biscuits: FAIL! These little whole grain biscuits caught our eye... but they were pretty gross. I think we each ate one. Then I tried to give them out to the hungry street dogs, who also turned up their noses at these biscuits. Seriously? Dear Mr. Cookie Maker, that is a BAD SIGN.
Kurkure snacks: WIN! Because we wanted to be very thorough about these important matters, we were sure to try every available flavor. Many, many snacks in India are not vegan... but luckily Kurkure snacks are. They are essentially vegan Cheetos... with crazy spicy Indian flavors. GOOD. After much empirical testing, we reached the conclusion that Green Chutney Rajasthani Style was the superior flavor and we ate more of these than I should probably admit. I love them, and I miss them... but it probably just as well for my health that our love story was brought to a sudden end when I returned home.

... more photos and tales from India on the way ...


  1. I love these posts!

    I didn't even know there was such a thing as "fresh curry leaves", I can't even imagine what those must taste like.

    You look so astonished and happy in the Indian market! What a cute shot.

  2. I would have loved to try the fresh curry leaves and also have a look at all those spices!

  3. Oh hey! I have a couple of bags of those Kurkure snack thingies I picked up in San Jose... They're pretty awesome.

    Also fresh curry leaves are kind of mind-blowing. "Wait, there's a plant that does this? Cool." You can also get those in San Jose, if you feel like driving around all over the place...

    The gummy stix look awesome. I'll have to keep an eye out for those...

  4. I love reading about your India adventures - the snack reenactment was awesome. I'm happy to hear you were able to find so many vegan options.

  5. This post has made me so hungry I might cry!

    Those samosas look so fluffy an yum!


  6. All the Indian snacks sound amazing and fun! And the produce looks great. Fresh pigeon peas!

  7. Hey! I am putting together a vegan community blog. It is a blog where any vegan blogger can post whenever they want, promote what they want, pretty much do whatever they want. If you are interested and have a blogger account just send me your blog account email to kaycee@donevegan.com and I can add you as an author so you can freely post, or you can send any submissions to submissions@donevegan.com and I can manually post them.

    Let me know if you are interested in contributing and I can send you more info if needed.

    Done Vegan

  8. I'm loving this vicarious vacation through India. It looks like you had such a great time. The kitchen supply stores would be a dream to me too. Stainless steel kitchenwares and cute containers? Yes, please!

  9. The colors and array of spices are amazing. I can smell them from here.


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