Wayanad wanderings…..

Fancy living in a treehouse with an enchanting view of acres and acres of green, amidst verdant coffee plantations? Then Wayanad is definitely the place for you ..another off the beaten track destination in India to be one with nature! They don’t call Kerala ” God’s Own Country ” for nothing, you will discover.

Wake up to the sound of chirping birds, surrounded by a mesmerizing morning mist. The aroma of the fresh brew of coffee at your doorstep draws you into the balcony to enjoy the symphony of melodious birdsong, perfect for a soul soothing experience. Walk down the winding path to the restaurant for a Kerala style breakfast to linger over. Which would you rather have Malabar parathas with egg curry or Kadala curry or piping hot Appams with stew? How about all?

 

The misty views of the plantations from the restaurant are perfect for a digital detox as you can #chillax with a book and some more divine coffee. Or you can take a plantation tour and learn about coffee, pepper and cardamon cultivation process in the eighty acre plantation. Binoculars and cameras ahoy as this place is the abode of 32 different species of birds, and all you shutterbugs would be sure to capture some of them. I had heard many accounts of the beauty of Wayanad in Kerala, but wasn’t prepared for this immersion, to be bewildered by the beauty of this pristine place to this extent !

 

At lunch time, enrich your tastebuds with some more gems from the treasury of a Kerala culinary feast. Indulge in a traditional Sadya served on a plantain leaf of par boiled red rice, curries, side dishes, savories, pickles and desserts or some unique fish delicacies like Chemmeen Moilee – Prawn curry or Karimeen pollichathu – Pearlspot fish grilled in banana leaf. We do ensure these unique food experiences, no matter where we go. And for those who want to don an apron and get some hands on experience in whipping up these delicacies, we have cooking classes too !

 

You will witness and learn the secrets of Kerala cuisine here. The basic essence is rice and coconut and every dish here is derived from it. Traditional methods are used as the food is slow cooked in earthenware pots, spices are freshly ground using a stone mortar and pestle. The kitchens are equipped with their own idiyappam and puttu kuzhals (makers) to doll out the freshest for your breakfast!

A plethora of ayurvedic massages await you here to soothe those aching muscles and give relaxation a whole new meaning. A combination of ancient Abhyanga practices and massage oils prepared from the plants of the tropical forest work magic together and produce many beneficial effects. So just one may not be enough, have a massage every day when you are here.

The eye soothing greenery of the tea plantations around and rippling clear waters of the waterfalls and lakes make Wayanad the perfect place for a refreshing holiday. As the sun sets over the Chembra peak at the horizon, and you sip another cup of filter coffee sitting in your treehouse balcony, the sheer serenity of the place envelopes you. “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”

Sun, sea and truly scrumptious food in Sri lanka

A holiday to Sri Lanka gives me a perfect chance to explore the local cuisines and savor exotic dishes to my hearts content….Join me on yet another Foodie Trail and discover why good food is salvation on the serene island of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan Local Food

Begin your day in this tropical paradise with some spicy, tangy flavours to tickle your palate. Breakfast is a bit similar to the South Indian dishes especially all the coconut based curries and steamed rice preparations called Hoppers(the anglicized name thats commonly used in Sri Lanka ) ….similar to Appams! The plain hoppers are dome-shaped rice pancakes made out of rice flour and coconut milk and the string hoppers are very fine spaghetti ones (like idiappams).Coconut (pol) Roti is thick and dense with coconut and that was totally different from anything I had ever had before though! These hoppers  come with various toppings as well: egg, cheese, vegetables, buffalo curd, trickle (palm sugar syrup) and are commonly found as street food everywhere you go.

Coconut And Katta SambolPol Sambol

Pol Sambol

This traditional Sri Lankan dish like a chutney made from coconut,onions,red chilli and garlic is the mostly commonly used accompaniment with rice, string hoppers and other hoppers. Katta sambol is a Sri Lankan chili paste thats is really hot! So only for those brave enough to try it….I did ..and survived !

Dhal Curry

Sri Lankan curries

Parippu (dhal curry)

 

Parippu, or dhal curry, made from Masoor dhal (split red lentils) is an integral part of every Sri Lankans daily meal.Tempered spices, onions and coconut milk give it that unmistakable flavor and you can dip your rotis in it or have it with rice or lunch (and have a good afternoon siesta after that for sure)

Fish has to be the staple diet of the Sri Lankan people as they are surrounded by water on all sides, obviously they feast on the “fruits of the sea”!

Other distinctive curries you must try are :

Polos (green jackfruit curry)

Wambatu moju (eggplant/brinjals pickle)

Gotu kola sambol (pennywort salad)

Kiribath with lunu miris(rice with Coconut milk)

Sour Fish Curry

Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry).

 A blend of spices are used to prepare this delectable curry, especially black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, pandan leaves and curry leaves. The unique ingredient which gives the fish its distinctive sour flavor is dried goraka and this dry preparation with all spices coating the fish is a “must-have” on your holiday in Sri Lanka
Ministry Of Crab

A trip to Sri Lanka is not complete without an evening at the iconic “Ministry of crab ” Restaurant owned by Kumar Sangakara,Mahela Jayawardene and Dharshan Munidase.They have created this as a celebration of Sri Lanka’s seafood, particularly of her wonderful crabs.

All Sea Food

And believe me the crabs come in all shapes and sizes  and flavours here ! and all other kinds of seafood and mean as well, some Japanese dishes too.Vegetarians stay away!

Sri Lanka’s Seafood

So many different curries to chose from. The chilli crab with kade (traditional wood fired ) bread or ghee garlic rice…is to die for !

Chilli Crab With Kade

An absolute must do when in Colombo- great food and ambience, excellent service and so much fun !! Dont I look so very happy and contented ??? I will definitely come back here for some more ..and so should you !

 

As narrated and pics posted by Kalpana Xavier !

 

 

Foodie Trail in Ladakh

For a lover of the outdoors and admirer of nature, a trip to Ladakh is akin to a path to divinity! If on this journey your palate is tickled with traditional and authentic Ladakhi and Tibetan food, it’s definitely the road to Nirvana !!!

Maggie Noodles And Momos Maggie Noodles

Rajma chawal is replaced by Maggie noodles, momos and thukpas at the local dhabas as you ascend towards Leh.But 60km from Leh, in Alchi village, near the 11th century Alchi monastery is where we found real authentic Ladakhi food on our Ladakh tour package from Mumbai at the Alchi Kitchen Restaurant.

Alchi Kitchen Restaurant

This is a quaint family run restaurant that serves freshly prepared dishes.Its fairly popular and we had really worked up an appetite by the time the food arrived.

Vegetable Stew With Barley Pasta And Lentils Chuttagi

The tasty skyu and chuttagi (vegetable stew with barley pasta and lentils )was wolfed down in minutes.

Khambhir Open Kitchen Ladakh

They have a traditional open kitchen with a clay oven to bake fresh Khambhir (Ladakhi bread) thats served with various different scrumptious stuffings and chutneys.

Apricot jam is a speciality here and have some for dessert with the Khambhir, sitting in the box balconies, sipping hot ginger tea …watch the world go by! Mee time is good food time too, isn’t it!

Leh City is full of surprises when it comes to food, especially the cafes and so-called German bakeries in the main market and on Changspa road.Its so hard to chose which one to go to. Just be drawn in by the aroma of cinnamon and freshly baked breads and cakes like music of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Have a cappuccino and carrot cake or apple pie,don’t worry about the calories ! Lots of walking to do climbing up the steps of the Thiksey monastery where butter tea awaits us ….

German Bakeries Thiksey Monastery

Butter Tea …”What on earth is that?” That was our instant reaction when the guide at Thiksey monastery took us to the kitchen to show us how its made and to sample it. Due to extreme cold weather in the Himalayan region, this salty tea is a commonly drunk beverage, prepared using churned Yaks butter and salt.Yak butter and milk are thicker and creamier than cow’s milk and also more pungent, so thats gives it a peculiar taste …we didn’t enjoy it much, but its part of the survival kit for the local people as it helps them keep warm in Winter. Be sure to mix with the locals and enjoy these authentic experiences on our Ladakh tour package from Mumbai.

Last but not the least, Tibetan food is easy to find in most places in Ladakh.The  most popular restaurant is Tibetian kitchen in the main market which serves everything from Chinese, Indian to Tibetan cuisine. The thukpa (Tibetan noodle soup) here was exceptional. We really enjoyed the sabagleb too , essentially a crispy circular pie with momo-stuffing inside.

Summer harvest is one of the best restaurants for Tibetan and Kashmiri meat dishes,especially the Tibetan Shapta and Rogan Josh. Our Ladakh tour packages from Mumbai have all these unique gastronomic experiences to offer!

Keep reading out blogs this month and follow the Foodie trail to more exotic locations…..

Foodie Trail in Berlin

Food is my passion and “Eat to live or live to eat ?” is a rhetorical question as far as I am concerned !On all my trips, especially to Europe, I have always seeked all the unique places to eat, especially down a small alley.So join me on yet another Foodie Trail of Berlin and discover more….

My recommendations:

  • Currywurst – This is the absolute irreplaceable favourite street food of a true-blooded German. It’s no secret that Germans love their sausages, and curry wurst is one of the best ways to sample them! It is basically cut-up sausages that are covered in a spicy tomato sauce and served with French fries..what’s not to love? And only sets you back about 5 Euros! And yes, an important tip here – in Europe you eat your fries with MAYONNAISE

Currywurst

  • Doner kebap – Berlin has the second largest Turkish colony in the world, outside of Turkey itself. This has brought about a widespread love for Turkish food, which you will easily find all over in city in stalls on the streets and in the subway stations. Doner kebaps are rotisserie meat (beef or chicken) stuffed with fresh cut vegetables and your choice of sauce in a pita pocket and is absolutely delicious and bursting with flavour. Though there are other options in these outlets as well, they basically revolve around the same few ingredients. The food is cheap and sets you back about 3-5 Euros and makes for a great bite to grab to soak up some of the booze after a night out 😛Doner Kebap
  • Anything from local bakeries –Germans take their bread seriously and like everywhere in Europe, you will find over 200 types of bread that you can find to gorge on. Along with bread, Germans bakeries are heaven itself, with no shortage of variety of baked goods to choose from. The portions are MASSIVE and the prices low! There are bakeries every few steps no matter where you wander in Germany with a plethora of choices and everything is made fresh daily. This is the best go-to snacking option. Ask for the bakery’s specialty if you are confused and they will guide you best!

Local Bakery FoodEurope Bakery Food

  • Burgermeister – This particular outlet deserves its own category here in the food section and for good reason! This is an absolute DO NOT MISS point for me in Berlin if you are a burger connoisseur and love a good cheeseburger! Burgermeister is a small burger place located at the Schlesiches Tor subway station in Berlin and (this is interesting!) was a public urinal in its former days! Today it is an absolute slice of heaven for anyone craving a quality cheeseburger and is always crowded. This isn’t one of your fancier joints so you will have to stand and enjoy your food at the small tables or sit on the “stools” which are really just re-purposed soda crates. My personal recommendation is the Meisterburger with some cheese fries and a cold pint of beer. The cost of all this? In total about 7 Euros! So head to Berlin on our Europe tours for some great food and a real fun times ! 

Burgermeister

   

by SHREYA PUNTAMBEKAR