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).

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

 

 

 

A virtual tour of Mumbai with Rick Stein

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Watch Rick Stein's India on ABC TV for great India itinerary ideas

The first half of BBC’s ‘Rick’s Stein’s India’ second episode is all about Mumbai and you can travel there yourself, without leaving home.

Visit Sassoon Dock fish market, eat Berry Pulao at Brittania & Co and meet Mr Kohinoor, go with Krishna from Reality Tours & Travel as he takes Rick to his favourite fish curry restaurant and on a tour of Dharavi slum, and play cricket on Oval Maiden.

Reality Tours & Travel – a great way to taste the best of Mumbai

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Reality Tours & Travel offers really great, good value tours around Mumbai that include the famous Mumbai street food, the dabbawallahs that deliver thousands of home cooked lunches to workers, without ever writing anything down, and a socially responsible, sensitive Dharavi slum tour.

It’s a best way to see and try lots of the best of Mumbai, in a short time. It’s hard to pick a favourite tour, but it might have been the Public Transport Tour – the dabbawallahs and Dadar flower market were hard to top.

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Reality Tours and Travel has the most amazing local guides to show you around and uses 80% of its profits to fund community development projects in Mumbai’s slums.

And Evelyn at the end of the phone and email, is lovely, endlessly patient, always available, and genuinely trying to organise you the best experience.

A Mumbai Heritage Architecture Walk with dabbawallahs and great eats along the way!

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High Court

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It’s very easy and lovely to take a brief (1.5 hour/2.5 km) walk around the very best of Mumbai’s heritage architecture. A wonderful mix of colonial-era and art deco buildings are closely grouped together in the neighbouring Colaba and Fort districts. The Lonely Planet Guides have a good map with directions.

On a work day, you can also see dabba-wallahs at work outside Churchgate station and the walk takes you near some great eating spots like Samrat Restaurant (for thalis from noon) (near Eros Cinema), Trishna (for seafood from noon) (between Sasson Library and St Thomas’ Cathedral), Bademiya (behind Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, from about 7pm) and  Olympia Coffee House (Chilla Muslim cuisine, Colaba) (near Regal Cinema and the Majestic Hotel).

Start at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, and on your way you will pass the Gateway of India, Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Dhunraj Mahal, Regal Cinema, Sailors Home (now Maharashtra Police Headquarters), Regal Cinema, Majestic Hotel, National Gallery of Modern Art, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (formerly ‘Prince of Wales Museum’), Elphinstone College, David Sassoon Library, New India Assurance Building, Flora Fountain, St Thomas’ Cathedral, Horniman Circle, Town Hall, High Court (well worth going inside to see hundreds of gowned advocates and dozens of court rooms in action), University of Mumbai, Rajabi Clock Tower, Oval Maidan and Eros Cinema.

Go India offers some good ideas and background to key sights too.

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University of Mumbai

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Majestic Hotel                                                     Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

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Elphinstone College, Sassoon Library                       St Thomas’ Cathedral

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CST Terminus (not on this walk)                   Gateway to India

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Taj Mahal Palace Hotel                                    Dhunraj Mahal

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Sailor’s Home                                  National Gallery of Modern Art,

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (formerly ‘Prince of Wales Museum’) & Elphinstone College

 

 

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David Sassoon Library                  Rajabi Clock Tower

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New India Assurance Building                       Flora Fountain

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Oval Maidan                                                       High Court

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Rajabi Clock Tower                        Eros Cinema

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Regal Cinema                                   Samrat Restaurant on J Tata Rd (near Eros Cinema)

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Bademiya kebab stall (two streets behind the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel), loved by locals!

 

 

 

 

 

Kailash Parbat Restaurant Colaba, Mumbai

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Kailash Prabat Restaurant is recommended in a number of foodie travel guides. It’s easy to find, prices are very affordable and its a good opportunity to try a number of different local dishes.

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My favourite was the Dal Pakwan (chick pea dal with crispy fried chapatis, pickle and onion). The mango lassi was very good too.

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We also tried the Ragda Pattice ( Pattice of white beans and potato served with spiced chick pea stew and tamarind chutney), samosas,  Special Royal Falooda, and Falooda Kulfi.

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Special Royal Falooda                    Falooda Kulfi.

Corner of First Pasta Lane and Colaba Causeway, Colaba.

Ph: 022 22841972

Open: 8:30am-11pm (7days)

 

 

 

Mumbai Street Food Tour – Reality Tours and Travel

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Sev Puri

Sev Puri has an interesting balance of sweet, salty, tart and spicy flavors, and different textures as well, including crispy and crunchy from the fried sev thin noodles. It also s includes tomatoes, onions, chillis as well as tamarind.

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Pani Puri has similar sweet, tart, salty and spicy flavours but in a liquid form in a crisp shell.

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Pao Bahji at Chowpatty Beach (mashed vegetables, red chilli and spices cooked with plenty of butter, scooped up and eaten with the fresh Pao bread bun)

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Kulfi at Chowpatty Beach (an ‘ice cream’ made with condensed milk, delicious!)

IMG_0009_2IMG_0021_2            Bendi Bazaar

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IMG_0017_2 IMG_0018_2  Jalebi sweets on Mohamed Ali Road (made by deep frying wheat flour batter shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup.)

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Taj Icc Cream on Mohamed Ali Road ( fantastic Alphonso Mango Ice cream)

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CST Terminus at night (Mumbai’s largest train station) (The scene of the finale in the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’)

Mumbai is famous for its street food and a great way to be guided through some of the best  is to join one of Reality Tours and Travel’s Street Food Tours for around $AUS 24 per person. (This of course covers you for the cost of a very generous dinner, so you really only need a snack for lunch as well.)

The three hour tour starts at 5:30pm and first takes visitors to Chowpatty Beach to enjoy snacks with local families out for a treat. Don’t miss the ‘Famous Rabdi Kulfi’ stall for delicious layers of cream, pistachio, mango, orange and strawberry kulfi. Chowpatty Beach is also a great chance to try Mumbai’s signature street foods Pao Bhaji and Pani Puri.

The tour continues to Bendi Bazaar, a wonderful for street food in the Muslim area of Mumbai. Mohammed Ali Road was really buzzing during Ramadan as people broke their fast and enjoyed their favourite foods from busy stalls. This stop included the popular Taj Ice Cream shop – in business for over 120 years.

Second and third serves were generously offered and our guide Nilesh was terrific – thoughtful, friendly, engaging and knowledgable. As it was low (rainy) season, we had the tour all to ourselves, a special privilege.