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).

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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Saffron Kulfi at Umaid Bhawan Palace – Jodhpur

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Umaid Bhawan Palace, just outside Jodhpur, is the current home of the royal family and very impressive.

It offers some very glamorous, but expensive, accommodation and dining…. but even if that’s not what you want, it’s well worth a visit.

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While you aren’t able to go inside the residence or the hotel part of the property, for just $1, you can visit the lovely grounds and get a good feel of the art deco palace from the very good museum.

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Don’t miss the delicious kesar (saffron) kulfi (ice-cream) near the entrance. It’s a lovely treat in the shade of the gardens.

There’s also a vintage car collection near the entrance, that adds to the heritage ambiance.

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A good stop to combine with a visit to local villages and the Jaswant Thada Temple.

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

 

 

 

Visit a Bishnoi family and enjoying a traditional village lunch – Jodhpur

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A great way to see rural Rajathani life is to take one of the many trips being offered, to the villages close to Jodhpur and have lunch with a local family.

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Chai with a Bishnoi family, may well involve sharing amal, an opium preparation to welcome guests.

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Watching lunch being prepared and then sharing it with a local family is lovely.

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There’s also an opportunity to see and buy woven rugs, dhurries in the village of Salawas.

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And it’s a sad account of the tragedy involving the death of 363 Bishnoi villagers who sacrificed themselves to protect their sacred Khejri trees at the memorial at Khejadali village.

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Omelette Shop, Jodhpur – a must do

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The Omelette Shop is a must do stop for street food in Jodhpur. So popular, it goes through 1000-1500 eggs a day.

Not only is it incredibly great value, at less than $1 for what is really two omelette sandwiches, but this 30 year old family run business is a real treat to visit.

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Easy to find at the entrance to Sardar Market (with the clock tower in the middle), surrounded by a tuk tuk stand, the marsala cheese omelettes are highly recommended.

Gypsy Dining Rooms – Best Thali spot in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

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Gypsy Dining Rooms, is my top pick in Jodhpur, Rajasthan for a great traditional Rajasthani thali (a range of interesting flavours served on a large tray/plate). Waistcoated waiters buzz around refilling all the thali components, each assigned different dishes to deliver to eager diners.

Clearly it’s a very popular spot with locals.

Dishes and accompaniments included: yogurt and chickpea curry, dal bati churma, desert vegetable from the kesari tree, paneer, dal, paratha, millet roti, chapati, spinach dish, zucchini dish, special bread from Gujarat, sweets, chutneys.

Not just a great opportunity to try a wide range of traditional vegetarian foods, but a whole dining experience to more than rival the famous Maharaja Rajasthani Thali at LMB Restaurant  in Jaipur. Highly recommended.