Our last NGT Meetup gave centre stage to a topic we feel strongly about: food. From tips on unforgettable culinary memories to the one dish we wouldn’t return to and how to find great food in new places, the Meetup was one big gastronomic affair.
The panellists – Thomas Zacharias, chef at Mumbai’s The Bombay Canteen, travel and food writer Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi and NGT Senior Editor Neha Sumitran – all shared why they thought culinary travel was a worthy investment. For Thomas, for example, food trails have taught him in ways that culinary school and working in restaurants haven’t. Here are some pointers from the panel on landing the best food experiences: Visit markets, request the locals for recommendations, ask for the local cuisine instead of the standard tourist fare, and frequent eateries with long queues.
The speakers also shared how specific gastronomic experiences helped them understand food better. For Thomas, it was the electric vibe of Tuticorin’s street-food “night clubs”, Roshni tasted history in the making on her visits to Cuba, and Neha’s time in Spiti Valley helped her make the connection between the geography of a place and what was on her plate.
Our audience members had tons of suggestions too. We were told to try the kanji vada in the lane opposite Jaipur’s Jal Mahal, the King of Falafel in Kasol, Himachal Pradesh for great Israeli food, and a tiny unmarked stall next to the Kodaikanal bus stop where you can get unlimited idlis for ₹30. We also had Cdr. Abhilash Tomy, India’s first non-stop solo circumnavigator and a speaker at our first NGT Meetup on solo travel, in the house. He regaled us with his cooking (mis)adventures while he was at sea.
Watch the video below for the highlights of the July NGT Meetup: