Best of the West – A foodie itinerary to West India

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Best of the West – Highlights of West India Foodie Itinerary Ideas

Mumbai

Why Go?

Workers from across India, seeking to make it ‘big’ in the bright lights, bring authentic regional food  to Mumbai including India’s best range of creative street food (like Vada Pav, Behl Puri and Pao Bhaji).

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Try Parsi cuisine, originally from Persia…most fun at Britannia and Co.

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Don’t miss the dabbawallah unwritten delivery system that takes thousands of home cooked lunches to workers every day.

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Visit local food markets and Sassoon Dock fish market.

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All set against stunning colonial architecture…and surprisingly innovative and creative high density living in Mumbai’s many ‘slums’.

Check out:

Reality Tours and Travel – Excellent, great value tours around Mumbai that include the famous Mumbai street food, the dabbawallah delivery system and a socially responsible, sensitive Dharavi slum tour.

Where to Stay?

Colaba is the best area to stay, and a night in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (while quite expensive) is a once in a life time experience.

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Another good spot in Colaba is the Ascot Hotel  – more budget friendly prices, but still an excellent location.

http://www.ascothotel.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g304554-d606365-Reviews-Ascot_Hotel-Mumbai_Bombay_Maharashtra.html

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How to get there?

Mumbai is a major airport in India and good airlines often have specials. Check out Singapore Airlines for regular specials.

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Jodhpur

Why Go?

Dine with fantastic rood top views of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort and beautiful ‘Blue City’.

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Head to the clock tower to try regional snack food favourites including the famous rich lassi, have lunch with a local village family and experience a delicious Rajasthani thali at Gypsy Dining Rooms.

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Where to Stay?

Raas

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But also consider Castle View Home Stay for an amazing view, very thoughtful and kind host and great prices.

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How to get there? 

Mumbai to Jodhpur return $186 Jet Airways (online booking).

Jaisalmer

Why Go?

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Dine roof top on the massive, sandcastle-like fort that rises out of the desert, above this ‘Golden City’ and enjoy regional Rajasthani dishes in between visiting gorgeous havelis and perhaps enjoying a camel safari.

 Where to Stay? 

Garh Jaisal

Gorgeous, well priced rooms with window seats, each a different colour and lovely roof top spot for drinks and breakfast.

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How to get there?

Hire a good sized car (e.g. Toyata Innova) from one of the many car and diver businesses.

(About 4.5 hours from Jodhpur. Stop for a snack or lunch at Manvar Resort and Desert Safari Camp or Samsara Resort long the way).

Goa

Why Go?

A distinct Portuguese influenced cuisine in a setting of post colonial architecture featuring whitewashed churches and colourful villas as well as beautiful beaches.

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Lunch at a spice plantation, visit local Mapusa market on a Friday and marvel at the lush greenery of rice paddies and coconut palms.

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Where to Stay?

Anjuna

(home to the famous Wednesday Flea Market)

Casa Anjuna

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or Marbella Guest House (Candolim)

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How to get there?

Mumbai to Goa return $152 Jet Airways (online booking).

Suryagarh Hotel Jaisalmer – absolutely delicious for food

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Suryagarh Hotel, 16km out of Jaisalmer, is beautiful, but isolated in the desert.

While rooms can be quite affordable, especially in the low season,  food and drink is expensive, at Australian prices.

That said, the dining is very, very memorable….and there’s a few ways to stay in budget.

Welcome drinks and snacks are amazing and extremely generous.

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Then, through your stay, little treats and sweets arrive mysteriously in your room.

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Breakfast is included in the room price and is incredible, including a ‘chaat bar’ (make your own snacks) and traditional Indian sweets, as well as Indian breakfast foods and marsala chai served in a variety of traditional ‘tea cups’.

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The setting for breakfast is lovely and peacocks wander around the courtyard.

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Dinner is silver service, glamourous and romantic in the courtyard and very, very good.

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Safed chicken, rice, misi roti $AUS25          Bundi ladoo

If you have enjoyed the arrival snacks and sweets that arrive in your room, then really, one main, bread and rice is enough for two people…and helps to compensate for otherwise steep prices.

The complimentary sweets are very lovely too.

Another tip to stay in budget is to take some pre-dinner drinks and snacks out with you (a welcome tip from a fellow traveller).

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Gin is $AUS3 for 750ml (a bargain)

 

Lake View Restaurant – a handy spot for dinner in Jaisalmer

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If you stay at Hotel Garh Jaisal Haveli, in Jaisalmer, it’s handy to know about Lake View Restaurant, at Hotel Surja Guest House, almost next door.

Hotel Garh offers a great breakfast, but doesn’t normally serve dinner. So at the end of a long day, to just go next door and enjoy an inexpensive but delicious meal with a drop dead view, can be perfect.

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Catering especially for backpackers, the restaurant is great value and Raj’s hospitality and helpfulness invaluable.

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Indoor seating                                                                                                                                                 Outside seating                                                                                The ‘music wallah’

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           Great view                                                                                                                                                               Dal Tadka, Dessert beans, Roti, Jeera Rice, Marsala Paneer

 

Great Jaisalmer foods – through the day

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Start the day in Jaisalmer with a traditional breakfast from one of the very popular vendors just outside the first fort gate in Gopa Chowk. (So popular, that it pays to pre-order.)

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Dal Makarni and Pakwan and  Dal Chakori, especially ordered from the most popular breakfast stalls in town.

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If it the right time of year, the mangoes are amazing. Also sold easily in Gopa Chowk.

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A great place for a sweet stop is Dhanraj Ranmal Bhatia.

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                                                                               Ladoo Besan , Gotwa, Milk Ladoo, Burfi
And for dinner Dal Bati with Churma is wonderful! Available at Desert Boys Guest House.
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Kanchan Shree Ice Cream, is a don’t miss stop as well.

Good lunch spots between Jodphur and Jaisalmer

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The best way to travel between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer is by road.

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The road is good and the trip takes about 4 1/2 hours.

Along the way, there are two good spots to stop for a break, conveniently located about half way.

Samsara Resort and Camp (Lunch from 12:00-15:00) Mains about $AUS 8 each, Lassi $AUS3

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Manvar Resort and Desert Camp (Mains about $AUS7, Lassi about $AUS2)IMG_0018 IMG_0012

Kathi rolls about $AUS6

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Manvar Resort also has a lovely gift and book shop and nice accommodation (it also offers a desert luxury camp 7km away).

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Breakfast when travelling – a great time to try Indian specialties

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Dal and Pakwan                              Baked yogurt, idli

Breakfast in India, when travelling, is a great opportunity to try a wide range of regional and national specialities. Often a buffet selection of a range of Indian dishes is offered so it’s easy to try a little of lots of things. If breakfast is a la carte, usually there are one of two Indian breakfast options included.  And it’s even worth trying the same dish several times as each cook has their own style.

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Marsala Dosa                                  Baked yogurt and more

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Pao Keema                                                       Dal Makarni and Pakwan

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Dal Chakori                                      Poha

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Poha, Puri and Sambhal, Indian sweets       Marsala Dosa

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Chakori, Mirchi Pakora, Samosa                    Poha

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Goan Pao bread                                    Besan ka cheela

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Medu Wada, Aloo Bonda ,Goan breads Vegetable Xacuti, Butter Pao , Aloo Pakoda, Upma, Poori bhaji, Sambhar and coconut chutney

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Aloo Paratha