Fork in my luggage: Thali calling

One of the most sensible reasons to visit Jaipur would be for the food (vegetarians, here’s looking at you). And earlier this year, my friend and I did just that. Well, we needed the break and Jaipur promised good weather, a Woodstock-like literature festival, plenty of history and sightseeing opportunities and, of course, a large amount of chaat. Needless to say, we took to it like Hemingway to his tipple.

Consequently, we didn’t plan necessary things. The only planning we consciously did was to book the tickets and zero in on the accommodation. The rest was all impromptu — travelling to Udaipur on an overnight bus amidst heavy male presence, arriving at a youth hostel, just informing the founder via email and a phone call the night before, managing our way around a Hindi heartland with our Deepika Padukone-like accent in Chennai Express (I exaggerate), travelling without tickets to Bangalore and getting fined as a result — but in hindsight, planning might have taken away the trip’s charm, vicarious living.

I did, however, make up a list of ‘must visit eateries while in Jaipur’. So for four days we combed through the small city and went to almost every place on my list. Except for Surya Mahal, a Jaipur staple, that offers wonderful thalis: every tourist’s favourite. On the last day, we determinedly made our way to the restaurant from the Pink City.

Surya Mahal is your typical nondescript restaurant that offers whatever the city is best known for — in Chennai, these are famously called the Bhavans, in Bangalore, they are the Sagars. My friend and I, gluttonous as ever, ordered two different thalis in an insatiable greed to sample almost every gravy and bread they offered. The naans and the chapathis, drenched in butter, were flaky to the touch and the accompanying curries were striking red, smooth and full of flavour. We also discovered the presence of a sensational garlic chutney that surprisingly didn’t leave a stain or an odour on our fingers.

As with every thali, these had a sweet to finish our meal with — plump juicy gulab jamuns bursting with cloyingly fragrant sugar syrup. We walked to our destination that afternoon instead of taking an auto, a wise decision indeed.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 11:31:07 PM |

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