FOOD SECTION: livin'on the edge

Could we ever feel much finer?

Coming in from Los Angeles,

sipping on a cup of milk tea...




High noon. 30 plus degrees. Friendly Indian folk music in the background. The windowless dining room of Sagar Kinara, this typical Southern style restaurant 500 yards from the beach, allows for a welcome cool sea breeze. Think of it as one big balcony. The palm trees that surround keep us in the shade. Overhead ceiling fans stir the air. No need for modern airco here: your original eco friendly building.

From my first floor table I look out onto a lively main street. More restaurants ( I see a “Dial a Meal US PIZZA” sign across the street ), one flower shop cum phone/travel agency/money changer, Goodman Pub and Pool Hall and too many souvenir stalls.

The bus tout yells “Marga, Marga, Marga!”. Sounding the airhorn long and loud the Margao Express shuttle bus announces its departure.

More and more, each time I adjust to my new surroundings, I try out new foods. Sagar Kinara Family Restaurant offers North and South Indian menu. We have tried many of the veg curries and Tandoori specialties up North, in Delhi and Rajasthan. Today is the time for trying out the Southern specialties.

They bring out a stainless cup of water – and it’s safe to drink the filtered water here for a welcome change.

On the menu: Idli, Dawa, Uttapa and Dosa and a few more. I am clueless. Asking the waiters for menu descriptions is not the norm here. I go for the Masala Dosa, an item recommended to me by the owner of Yatri’s Guest House, back in Delhi. Out comes a foot long, loosely rolled crisp pancake ( all you surfers out there, think tube ) stuffed with an Indian version of home fries – potatoes sautéed with onions and mild spices. An impressive presentation with a great taste. The dosa is served with two dips, one a spicy kind of tomato soup, the other hummus like. Though on the greasy side, the lunch is a success. It fills me up and reluctantly I skip the triple sundae that I had anticipated. I finish with a cup of milk tea. There is my 30 roepie lunch.

I like this place. On consecutive daily visits I try the rest of the menu. Neither the Idli      ( crustless bread 'pillows' ) nor the Dawa ( an Indian savoury doughnut ) make the cut. I like the Uttapa better: a pancake similar to the Dosa, but thicker and thus less crispy. All items are served with the same two dips.

On my final visit I go all out and order the Deluxe Indian Thali (45 roepies). A Thali is a stainless plate, the size of a serving tray, including rice, roti and papad – Indian flatbreads – and a number of soups and dips, this time the hummus is absent. There is green and red dahl - lentil soup – chick pea soup, tomato soup and mixed bean and veg soup as well as Okra, which I skip. I savour my favourite item, yoghurt, flanked by a bowl of milk whey and finish with a sweet dish of yellow semolina with raisins and cashews, cloves and a vaguely familiar but as of yet unrecognised herb. The semolina is my dessert, although the locals tend to eat the sweet stuff first. I finish lunch with a cup of black tea, milk on the side, that is actually more brown reddish and somewhat murky but very tasty. One of the best teas I have had in Asia so far. 

Could we ever feel much finer?


Post card from the edge: on one afternoon I return for a snack. I order a pineapple lassi –  yoghurt blended with fresh pineapple. The waiter returns after a moment, pointing to the ceiling, saying there is ‘no light’ and would I like a sweet or salted lassi instead? Puzzled I opt for a sweet lassi. It’s 3pm and I don’t see a need for light to blend the pineapple and yoghurt. Then I notice the overhead fans are dead as well…Ding Dong…the power is out  - common occurrence – and they can’t blend the lassi. I get up and rush after the waiter to tell him I will wait for the power to return – power failures last usually no longer than 10 minutes after all. Or not. Today is not my lucky day: after 15 minutes, still waiting, I opt for a bowl of plain yoghurt. Mmmm! Maybe I am lucky after all: this yoghurt is delicious! It is not just yoghurt, it is crème fraiche!

10:55 Gepost door pieter | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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