Just like everything else, it's hard to describe the experience you will have dining in India. There is such a wide variety of flavours, traditions, and specialties to try and, depending on where you go, you will be sure to find plenty of new dishes to taste. Look to Goa on the coast for fresh, spicy seafood or try the mishmash of flavours you'll find in a street snack from Mumbai.
The culture of food is constantly evolving and changing, and the cuisine varies and adapts to different ingredients and cooking techniques that are introduced from around the world. If there were any place to be adventurous with you food, India is it. You won't be let down by the diversity and flavour found in every part of the country.
As a major tourist destination, there is plenty to see and do in Goa—you will never lack activities to try. This makes dining in Goa interesting as well, because while they have their traditions and specialities (like melt-in-your-mouth seafood and stunningly spicy fish dishes) there is a rising effort to prepare food to the liking of the general public; that is, more frying and grilling and less spice, depending on your preference.
Goan food is big on flavour and typically gets it from chilli, tamarind, and coconut flavours that will take your palate by storm. Try seafood (fresh) and any meat dish (cooked thoroughly) and get ready for an explosion of taste you won't find anywhere else in India.
Mumbai is known as the central hub of cosmopolitan activity in India, and its culinary traditions follow suit. You can go to an incredibly upscale restaurant, or keep it casual in a local dive restaurant—but one thing is guaranteed: you'll be treated to superb food. Because Mumbai is a city that rarely sleeps, food vendors have found ways to reach their clients on-the-go and as a result, street food is a popular choice.
The variety of food available on the streets is astounding, from green mango topped with masala to Chinese noodles and vegetables, to kulfi (cream-based Indian ice cream) to fried fish, and even green-chilli omelettes served in a bun. The exotic array of street food is unmatched in India and you are sure to find a winner by visiting the stands that draw the biggest crowds.
We've read about Rajasthan being a hotspot of culture in terms of dancing, handicrafts and textiles, but it is also well-known for its hearty cuisine. Located in a desert-like setting, Rajasthan's culinary traditions are influenced by the dry surroundings and more times than not, a sweet treat will be the first taste of a meal. The foods are highly spiced and are often paired with lentils and corn instead of the rice and vegetables you'll find elsewhere in India. Restaurants abound with chefs looking to share the local delicacies so whether you are on a budget or looking for a lavish meal, indulge in a local dish and get a true taste of Rajasthan's culinary feats.
A true melting pot of culinary discovery, Delhi is a great place to try a little bit of everything and figure out what you think and what you like. Delhi establishments most often serve up kebabs and other grilled meats, rice casseroles called birianis and many Mughlai dishes with strong almond and saffron flavour influences. You'll also find Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and even Italian restaurants throughout Delhi. In smaller villages try one of their traditional vegetarian dishes that more often than not are filling, cheap and delicious. If you want to try South Indian cuisine, try a dosa, which is a crisp rice crepe filled with spiced potatoes—you'll marvel at how satisfying it is.
Before you take off to indulge in the culinary feast that is India, be sure to protect your holiday and your health with a travel health insurance plan from Cover-More Australia. Indian cuisine is so much more than a guidebook can describe, and with firsthand experience you can act as flavour ambassador to India and share the tastes and meals you tried while abroad.
By Dan Moore
Image courtesy of Flickr user AJ
Disclaimer: Please exercise caution while travelling in India and always be sure to check Smarttraveller's website for the most up-to-date precautions and travel advice.