Uttar Pradesh: At Least the Food is Amazing

There are a lot of things not to like in UP – touts and pickpockets at the big tourist sites; roadkill, traffic, stares, and endless badgering about why you’re 30 and not yet married everywhere else – but the food is NOT one of them.  Quite the opposite.  It’s frickin’ amazing.  All sorts of wonderful beans.  Raw veggies with most lunches.  Breads of more varieties than I can memorize.  Fried stuff, sweet stuff, baked stuff, and RESTAURANTS WITH BEDS.  All of which was very nice, since I was aiming to ride at least 150km day every day until I could get the hell out of there.   Have a gander below at all the foods that provided me with all the energy I needed for hauling ass away…but which was also so tasty that I kind of wished it’d never end.

2015-02-01 to Sunauli 011 (res)

Mobile calorie boost center.

2015-02-01 to Sunauli 009 (res)

Deep-fried mashed potato balls, Indian-style falafel, one more fried thing I forgot, cilantro and chili pepper chutney

2015-02-02 to Basti 003 (res)

Puffed rice, roasted chickpeas, peanuts.

2015-02-06 to Agra 003 (res)

Chana Masala (chickpea curry) with Tandoori Roti (oven-baked flatbreads) and radish and carrot slices.

2015-02-06 to Agra 006 (res)

Purple carrots???

2015-02-09 to Etawah 001

Dahi Vada (sour yogurt over fried-then-soaked soggy lentil balls).

2015-02-09 to Etawah 003 (res)

Sprinkled with cumin powder and smothered with tangy tamarind paste.

2015-02-09 to Etawah 008 (res)

Mattar (green pea) in gravy with tandoori roti.

2015-02-09 to Etawah 005 (res)

Street vendor with all sorts of namkeen (salty snackies): fried peas, banana chips, all sorts of flour-based chips.

2015-02-09 to Etawah 010 (res)

Dinner at a roadside Dhaba (truck drivers’ restaurant).

Gazar Mattar (peas and carrots), Aloo Palak (potatoes and spinach), Dal Fry (soupy lentils), and more tandoori roti (oven-roasted flatbreads).

2015-02-10 to Ramadevi 004 (res)

Puri Sabji (deep-fried flatbreads with potato curry).

2015-02-12 to Bharwari 004 (res)

Mix Veg curry (didn’t know it’d come with Paneer cottage cheese cubes) with more roti.

2015-02-13 to Varanasi 001 (res)

Nice $0.50 street meal: Mini-puri with Aloo Sabji (potato curry), Masroom (mushrooms), and Chutney (ground-up green veg.)

2015-02-14 Varanasi 013 (res)

Pomegranate Lassi (sweet yogurt concoction) served in a clay cup that you can smash after use if you’d like.

2015-02-15 Varanasi 036 (res)

Sweet flatbreads in the Muslim district.

2015-02-15 Varanasi 037 (res)

More Dahi Vada.  I told my host Surya that I wanted to try it again, so he asked around his campus until someone recommended us this snack shop.

IMG_2039 (res)

Obviously, after all the difficult sleuthing work that went into finding the place – not to mention the traffic acrobatics necessary to actually get there – we weren’t going to content ourselves with a single lousy (if totally excellent) snack.  No no no.  In addition to the DV, we also grabbed some Razgullah (fried bean balls soaked in sugar syrup) and some Tomato Chat (tomato snacks).

2015-02-15 Varanasi 038 (res)

Notice the kickass bowls made of a few layers of leaves stuck together with toothpicks.

2015-02-16 to Sasaram 002 (res)

Another roadside restaurant meal: Chapati / Tawa Roti (pan-roasted flatbread, mostly like a tortilla), Aloo Bhjuia (fried and spiced potatoes), Palak (spinach), and Dal Fry (soupy split peas and lentils).

2015-02-02 to Basti 004 (res)

Fresh-squeezed 100% beetroot juice, $0.33/glass.

2015-02-03 to Barabanki 001 (res)

Street food!

2015-02-03 to Barabanki 007 (res)

Paneer Dosa (pancake made of slightly fermented rice and lentils, griddle-fried and stuffed with onions, tomatoes, and cottage cheese).  Served with a savory soup and cool coconut chutney.  $0.50/piece.

2015-02-05 to Etawah 003 (res)

Street sweets near Etawah.  Flaky, frisbee-sized pastries .  The plain version is served as is, the middle-level has a sugar glaze, and the heart-stopper is filled with some dairy concotion too sweet to be yogurt, too sour to be frosting.

2015-02-05 to Etawah 004 (res)

Aloo Chat (potato snack) on the side of the highway – mashed potato patty with yellow peas, onions, cilantro, chillies, and tomato gravy.

2015-02-05 to Etawah 006 (res)

Oil, carbs, fats, protein, salt, herbs, all for $0.20 if you know how not to get ripped off.

2015-02-05 to Etawah 010 (res)

Bus station popcorn.  $0.17 to fill up my whole camping pot!

2015-02-17 to Bodh Gaya 004 (res)

When in doubt about what to have for lunch, order an Aloo Paratha (wheat dough stuffed with potato curry and pan-fried in a significant amount of oil).  Pictured here with a side of Palak (spinach).

2015-02-05 to Etawah 001 (res)

More Aloo Paratha, with lentils on the side.

That’s all till next time!

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2 Responses to Uttar Pradesh: At Least the Food is Amazing

  1. Tanya says:

    You’re killing me, smalls!! This food just looks like heaven to me. And I have LONG and frequently lamented the lack of beds in restaurants; I was just wishing for such a thing this past weekend! New, much-needed motivation to get myself to India…