On a recent trip to São Paulo, I spent the week turning up my nose at the idea of eating Indian food in Brazil, even though there was very little for a near-vegan to eat. It seemed like too short a trip to “waste time” eating something I could get at home. On the last afternoon, I gave in and accompanied some of the group for a meal to what guidebooks and locals described as São Paulo’s “best Indian restaurant”, named, somewhat stereotypically, Samosa & Company. After living largely on breakfast for a week, even bland vegetable curry was delicious. Everyone was clearly craving a taste of home, for even those who had tucked into coxinhas and empadões enjoyed the watered-down version of mutton bhuna on the menu.
While one doesn’t always travel to eat, there’s no doubt that good food adds a layer to the experience of enjoying great music and art, cheering at an interactive football museum and meeting new people. Food and travel—among our favourite things at Lounge—come together in our cover story this week. Lounge writers picked some of their favourite road trips, and, rather than lay out the sights along the way, they have told you where to make pit stops for the best local food. Food habits, ingredients and cooking methods change every few kilometres in this diverse country and no crowded food court can ever do it justice (though the restrooms are quite a draw).
We have picked the usual suspects—highways in Goa for delicious fish thalis and the NH44 from Bengaluru to Madurai for kotthu parotta and fiery biryani. But we have gone further afield too, and found Kathiawadi specialities on the road from Ahmedabad to Bhuj, brinjal in mustard oil while driving from Guwahati to Kaziranga, with many stops for Assam tea, and Bundeli specialities such as thadula on the way to Khajuraho.
We write often and lovingly of the many joys of travel but food is definitely central to the whole experience. And if you are looking for other diversions till you plan your next driving holiday, we have, as always, shows, books, art, events, food and drinks to recommend.
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