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Not so young Fashion Graduate From National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, India. Aspiring journalist. Amongst other eclectic hobbies, she likes writing and has written several poems and articles over her school and college life and now for a living. She would someday like to be be a more popular writer than just on her blogs. 'Tis a lady of grand splendor, who waketh in my bed every morning while the sun beckons her towards night...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rishikesh : The Indo-European food trail

I haven’t written a lot of about food, and I have no idea why. Thorough foodie that I am, maybe it is time to start writing about travel and food.

Travelling is a passion that a lot of people have acquired lately, especially with the amount of dispensible money on the rise, travelling is much more affordable now. The ‘Shimlas’ and the ‘Kullu Manalis’ are a passé, and instead new destinations have now cropped up.

The Ghats of Rishikesh
However, there are some staples that I personally can’t get away from. And Rishikesh is on such destinationthat doesn’t fail to relax me. Maybe it’s the Ganga flowing and gurgling and singing, that does it, or maybe it is just the atmosphere. There is something about that town that pulls people there. It’s not as if it is full of joints and shopping markets (called malls in most hill stations). It is the overall atmosphere of relaxation and not tourists hopping from one place to another.

Apart from the innumerable temples dedicated to various gods across the town, there are hotels and ashrams lining the main road on both sides of the Ganga for the temple tourists and the foreign nationals that keep trickling in throughout the year. There are various ayurvedic, yoga, spa and massage centers guaranteeing the relaxation of both body and soul. There are innumerable outlets promising adventure sports that the area has to offer.

And then my favourite kind: the food joints.

Rishikesh has a plethora of these. Whether it is the cheap chhole bhature and ‘snakes’ counter (snacks, don’t get freaked out yet). Or the expensive but really famous ‘Chotivaala’, complete with a man with a standing choti (hair plait) sitting near the entrance looking magnificent in his loud makeup. But wait-for-it there are two of them, side by side and looking identical… considering the amount of waiting one has to do for the Indian food here, I thought there needs to be another one. But a trip to Rishikesh isn’t complete without a visit to this famous food shop with a blustering crowd breathing down your neck waiting for their turn, my advice is to go there for an early lunch after a dip in the ganga in the morning.

There is a fabulous Rajasthani Food restaurant near the Ram Jhula main bus terminus where you get everything, from gatte ki sabzi, kadhi, rajasthani dal, spicy and mouth watering, there serving size is not too large, but it is not expensive.  But I forget the name all the time. Maybe if one of you can tell me. I can add that on.

Devraj Coffee Corner, Picture Courtesy
There are several Mexican, Israeli and Italian food joints popular with the foreign nationals seen more than the Indians or Indian youngsters who are visiting Rishikesh for adventure. One of the most popular has to be the Devraj Coffee Corner, popularly known as the German Bakery. This well known joint is almost always full, it overlooks the ganga on the corner of the Lakshman Jhula and especially during the autumn has a pleasant breeze blowing throughout the day. One could sit here for hours and have the variety of bakes like the apple crumble pie and ginger lemon honey tea (my personal favourites), while reading a simple book. One can have his morning breakfast in these European joints (sans the bacon, sausages and hams, rishikesh being a vegetarian town). They serve eggs to order as well as porridge and milk for the health conscious. For me, glutton that I am, what takes the cake literally are the pastas and Pizzas that are available in many of the cafes.

The Little Buddha Cafe Pic Courtesy
Freedom Cafe Pic Courtesy

The Little Buddha Café: situated right on the banks of Ganga, it has a beautiful opening near which you can play your guitar, and/or read your favourite book, and order for bruschettas and lemon tea, with ‘hello to the queen’, a dessert made of honey/chocolate cookie crumbs, butter sautéed banana pieces, hot fudge and vanilla ice cream. One of the most delicious desserts I have had anywhere. It’s great to go with a bunch of friends here as the food takes its own sweet time to arrive, but it is worth the wait and not expensive at all. This cafe is apparently run by the same guy who runs 'Freedom cafe', but I havent been to the freedom cafe, despite hearing a lot of rave reviews about it,

The Green Italian Restaurant: I have gone here only once and what I loved most about the place is the wood oven baked pizza aroma that fills you up when you enter. The pizzas are creamy and quite filling. And I have heard they serve a mean pasta. It’s worth a try.

Shiva Café: Under renovation when I last went, this cozy place has low lighting, floor seating with cushions and rugs thrown around and is a great hangout joint in the evenings after the sun as set. They do have good food but their food is slightly on the costlier side. Or maybe I have ordered for the expensive food here. They do play very good music with even Pink Floyd in their playlist.

Chill out café: My friend highly recommends this… but says it needs to be left alone, so no advertisement for this one… Apparently has a beautiful setting and great lounge music.

Niloy Playing the Guitar at one of the cafes
Green Hills Café: This one is a huge space and is attached to the green hills cottage in Tapovan. But since it is away from the river, it doesn’t fall on the main road so you won’t meet too many people which is a relief at times. It is on the way to the neel guddur (neel garh) waterfall. In the winters this café gets a roaring fire around which you could sit and have your food. The food is again very affordable and their spinach pasta is very good, so are the sizzlers. I and my friend Agomoni gorged on one the last time we went there.  A very good place to sit in the night especially if you are planning to sit for long.They also have a scrumptious Greenhills special pizza with a Spinach topping among the other toppings! Their special pasta is also a recommended.

Lhasa: I have visited this only once and looking for a light meal. And I ended up having Tibetian Food. It does have a menu that consists of European and Israeli food too. 

You can also read my other post on Rishikesh HERE
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