HOME > Chowhound > India & South Asia >

Discussion

Indian food experience

I've been in India for about three weeks now and I've been enjoying the food, but I get the feeling that I'm not experiencing "real" Indian cuisine. I've been eating at roadside restaurants and dining in cafes. In the touristy areas the Indian food is bland, but I suppose that's to be expected. In the other places the food all blends together in my memory, nothing really stands out. I feel like I can't taste the passion. So, my question is this: what can I do or where can I go to experience delicious authentic Indian cuisine? Is there a certain type of restaurant, or region of India or a particular dish that I should search out?

I've got plenty of time and flexibility, so I'm willing to travel across India if the food is good enough. Also, when are mangoes in season in the south of India?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Shopping Malls maybe your best bet. I know that's a weird suggestion but roadside places and cafes are going to be more low end, and many hotels will be a little bland (unless you go to a Taj or Oberoi).

    The new shopping malls are aied at the new middlle classes and urban professionals and uually have lots of good restaurants hidden in them - tourists don't really want to go to malls so their clientele is all discerning locals.

    1. Home cooked meals are the best, Indians usually don't eat out. I'm not sure what you mean by passion? To cook for a stranger, naturally food will taste mass produced, but to cook for your child it will take on a different character, because you personally understand the child's likes dislikes etc. I've heard some farm homes cook meals, but these are tiny places, in areas where they don't understand English well, and you have to book one day in advance so they can gather ingredients from the farm. Most tourists seem to like Kerala or Goan resort cooking because they are on the sea and can get fresh fish easily. Moreover, those areas are trained to handle tourist needs.

      To be honest, travelers keep insisting on having authentic food, but I'm not sure if they can handle it? It's a different way of eating. When they ask questions, it slows down the restaurant, so they rather serve you something you understand.

      Anyhow, these are recommendations by klyeoh.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844359

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844365

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844369

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844751

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842973

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/843030

      11 Replies
      1. re: brasslamp

        I agree with the words of sweetpea.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/400385

        Dahlias, your response surprises me. I spent 6 weeks in India a few years ago and definitely found that the most pleasant meal I had was at someone's home in Delhi. I had plenty of tasty food along the way, in the Gujarat, Rajasthan, in Varanasi, Delhi and Amritsar, but overall, no matter where we dined, dishes tended to be quite oily and made with very low-cost ingredients. The most exciting flavours were from street vendors making fresh foods while you watch (samosas, dhokla, chile peppers stuffed with potatoes and spices, breaded and fried, dosas, etc.).

        Interestingly, the family with whom I dined offered many dishes, some made fresh that day and others made in advance, preferred mild and gentle fare. The tastes were delicate. For health reasons they prepared foods with very little oil and ghee. There were no creamy, rich sauces. It was an impressive spread. I loved her homemade pickles.

        While in India, we heard over and over that most restaurants that are affordable for workers serve very cheap, low quality food. Expensive restaurants service the very wealthy, Indian travellers and foreigners. Ditto for hotel restaurants. Some restaurants had a higher priced menu and nice decor in one room, but also had another, simpler dining room with cheap set menus and rapid service. Foreigners were discouraged from eating in the simpler room. Any Indian we met told us the same thing: the best food is cooked at home. If someone is at home cooking, there is no need to eat in restaurants, except on very special occasions. Thus, most restaurants serve workers that have precious little to spend on extravagant meals. The busiest places were those that offered thalis with unlimited rice, dahl and veggie side dishes. People filled their bellies there, but the food was always standard issue pulses with few actual vegetables. We found that to stay healthy, we needed to supplement with yogurt, fruit bought at markets and fresh juice wherever someone was squeezing oranges or selling fresh coconuts.

        1. re: brasslamp

          Not simple to be invited to a home for dinner for many visitors though. I also think that thread is 6 years old and things are changing.

          I just visited Gurgaon and lots of restaurants are busy with Indian families - time poor, cash rich? So the restaurant scene is maturing - my colleagues know I like food and tend to take me out and about to interesting places. Lots of variety and some great food even (or maybe because) in in a modern big office area like Gurgaon, and maybe more "real" as most of the diners are the office based local workers - even the big hotels have 50% Indian guests given the amount of domestic business travel.

          1. re: PhilD

            The post was started in 2007 but sweetpeas comment is dated, 1sweetpea Nov 1, 2012 12:42 PM, and I agree with it.
            "Dahlias, your response surprises me. I spent 6 weeks in India a few years ago and definitely found that the most pleasant meal I had was at someone's home in Delhi."

            The person asked where to find authentic, because they felt something lacking despite eating out all the time. I've read reviews of shopping mall restaurants like Bon South which try to serve regional cuisine and hotel restaurants, and yes people are eating there, but some of the reviews tend to be negative despite being upscale. Mass producing food is not an easy task.

            Another place to experience food are agricultural exhibitions like one held I think in goa showcasing different varieties of mangoes. I don't think you can eat them, but these food festivals celebrate local farming.

            1. re: brasslamp

              If you are in India now, the best place to be now is chennai because its music season, which carries into the tourist season in kerala which is December January. January is harvest festival, A good time to visit the villages, there they will make authentic harvest feasts. However, many don't like Indian classical music, especially vocal, or going to the villages, but if you want the local experience that's where it is. If you know any locals ask them they will explain what I mean.

              1. re: brasslamp

                True, sweetpea wrote about her trip few years go. Yet, I can't see that much dramatic change so soon, except in an IT town like Bangalore or Guragon. True, people are eating out, yet the wives of these workers are seeing health issues develop in the families that were not there before. This is what concerns me. You are talking short term, what are the long term effects of this food? Traditionally we had ways to keep the Indian men from having bald head and pot belly. But now the Indian men are looking like this. There are other kinds of issues as well, I can tell by looking at them. The food is affecting them negatively.

                1. re: brasslamp

                  PhilD, I gave my honest opinion. If you think Guragon shopping malls offers a quality dinning experience, then beaulm should try. Please suggest which are your favorite dishes at which places?

                  I can't suggest a restaurant because we usually ate the home made meals because if we ate out it offends the relatives. The only place we use to go was HSB, Chennai based on a friends suggestion. Its canteen style eating. Not fancy.

                  You're right times have changed, people are eating out. But I'm from a different generation and background, so I can't relate. I understand food differently. The word hotel use to mean the canteen like places bachelors ate at. Now that word means something else. If you ate out it usually meant you were not married. There is a film called Avargal. I love the scene where Sujatha has a flashback after her bachelor friend compliments her on a delicious meal she made for him because he kept eating bread with jam all the time. He didn't know how to cook. The scene conveys a lot of meaning starting from when he eats his jam or dry roti.

                  Favorite dishes of mine, puli kuzhambus or vathal kuzhambus with pieces of kal dosai torn and dipped into it, instead of plain rice mixed with it or dip kal dosai in ginger chutney or roasted eggplant chutney. I know, odd but it tastes so good. Favorite dessert is jackfruit payasam. Favorite drink is coconut water with tender coconut to eat. Favorite meal would be a vegetarian thali rich with dal and vegetables from any region of India. I also like coconut based gravies with pongal like rice, hot soft and creamy. But these can only taste good from well matured fresh coconut and fresh vegetables. Appam or idiyappam with sweetened coconut milk is good too. It's not fancy food, but that's what I'm familiar with.

                  1. re: brasslamp

                    You can try cgh earth places to stay. I've heard of them, but haven't tried. Some destinations have their own chefs garden for food used in their meals. I don't know where you are located in India?

                    You asked despite eating out you felt something was lacking in the food. You are eating out at restaurants alongside other Indians, but still you felt something lacking.
                    This is why I wrote,
                    -Try home cooked meals,
                    -A farm that cooks meals,
                    -An agriculture exhibition
                    -A village harvest festival
                    -A resort on a farm or the sea itself, or has its own chefs garden or on a farm.
                    -Hiring a personal chef/cook to travel with you and cook from the local market produce if you have special dietary needs especially. People do this in Himalayas where restaurants are hard to get to,
                    -temple festival foods
                    -you can consult the website gourmet India, ask suresh hinduja because he eats out a lot. Most recommendations are for Bangalore. Sanjeevanam is an interesting concept, but some say food is not good.

                    You need a very good local guide. Someone experienced in eating out.

                    But even in that forum and others, some Indians write about this same lacking you speak of.

                    To me food is spiritual. And usually home is where the heart is and food is where the soul is. In Avargal Sujatha says, wait, I want the bad hour to be over, I don't want my cooking to do any harm to your health.
                    He says your food is delicious, from hands so auspicious they deserve a golden ring upon them.
                    It's not what she says, but how she say it with so much love. I don't think love can be mass produced, that's what makes love so unique, and thus so lacking. Hence, this lacking you speak of.

                    The way Indians are behaving today disgusts me, both males and females. Sure, they have money, eat in posh restaurants, resorts, bars, clubs etc. Yet their personal behavior is so shallow they're like immature junior high students forming popularity cliques that bully the ugly or the uncool or the non rich. If someone has a health matter, they stay 100 miles away from them like they're an outcaste.

                    Where is the love in this? Hate seems to be on the rise, especially self hate. What also disgusts me is the rise in drinking and alcoholism in India. It is creating a lot of problems for the family. Whatever money was earned is quickly lost to manage the health problems caused by these drinking habits and restaurant eating. So this spiritual poverty leads to actual financial poverty. I have seen families go through financial loss due to drinking. Rajasic leads to tamasic.
                    Excess leads to stagnation.

                    Gandhi was against alcohol, and with the rise of restaurants is a rise in drinking. The minute you enter a restaurant a bar is to be seen. Many local Indians are very offended by this. Gandhi, if he saw Indians today drinking would feel deeply hurt. Certain sector of Indians, like me, avoided restaurants due to the meat, alcohol and poor hygiene. Food contamination happens the most in restaurants! Indian population is very dense, contamination easily occurs. Home cooked meals avoid this risk.

                    I don't why westerners visit india?
                    They think it is the land of spirituality?
                    But this spirituality is taking a change and perhaps this is reflected in the food? Moreover, people are coming to India for business, not spirituality.

                    I have watched restaurant, hotel, resort chefs cook on Indian channels, and I carefully observe their technique, approach, and I don't like it. I've seen behind the scenes of restaurants, filmed and I don't like the ingredients they use, especially the cooking oils. The food is pretty, stylish, but I would not want to eat it. That's just me. I am in the USA and have eaten various cuisines, at the ultra posh to the dumpy places, and I don't like the food at both, which means food is not about money, it's about spirit. I've eaten at most Indian restaurants I come upon here and I don't like the food.

                    One exception, the only Indian restaurant food I liked was not in India, but in the USA. That was long ago at Indique in Washington DC . Maybe the chef was in a good mood that day? These chefs moods change, His biriyani was very good. His fish curry is good according to my friend. Ambiance, location is good. Some say he cooks like the Taj Hotels in India which was good standard those days. But I ate there long ago.

                    For westerners, boneless, skinless tandoori chicken kabobs or shrimp marinated in yogurt I recommend.
                    Provided they don't char it. I hate these saucy, gravy like dishes, with cream and tomato blah. It's not my style of eating.

                    In India I ate on the farm or small towns most of the time. They would hunt down the chicken, milk the cow, and pluck the ingredients from the garden while we waited. We knew what we were eating, what's lacking is people eat without knowledge. They are not on the farm. You asked what's lacking? Spirit and knowledge, and being with the nature as you eat.

                    1. re: brasslamp

                      Oh yes, I forgot, wedding food, attend a wedding if you know anyone getting married. Or holiday feast foods, meals served on banana leaf. This is when special dishes are made which you won't see often. You can also take a cooking class by a home cook. Some families even offer travelers to eat in their homes, having a home based restaurant.

                      Ask what's in season, and eat that. Don't ask for mangoes when mango season is over, you'll be eating from canned mango then. If its jackfruit season, then eat all the jackfruit dishes. Eat local specialties. If Jeeraga Samba rice just got harvested locally, eat biriyani made with it. Don't order Hakka noodles or whatever Chinese imitation food is on the menu. I hate it when Indians offer Chinese food to us in India.
                      You eat well in India when you know what is going on in the local farms.

                      Westerners like tandoori items in restaurants the most especially boneless, skinless kabobs of chicken or shrimp kabobs marinated in yogurt and spices, served on sizzling hot plates, with hot buttered breads. Tourists tend to eat at Taj, Oberoi, Lela Palace, CGH Earth, destinations, coastal resorts.

                      1. re: brasslamp

                        Yes, I have not been to these resorts or restaurants I mentioned. I just saw the videos for cgh earth,they're over idealistic and kind of contrived, odd. True, my opinions on Indian restaurants is based on reviews by other Indians getting food poisoning etc, observing how my relatives health changed after eating there, and close observation of how kitchens are run, and the chefs methods. But that doesn't stop many from eating out. Some have no choice. Some cook food in their hotel rooms if they have a stove, then pack it to eat later, or have their travel cook do this.

                        Other dishes I like are bisi beli bath, vangi bath is ok, fish pulusu when I use to eat fish, gongura leaves curry, dhokla, kanvi, patra, undhiyu, buttermilk drinks, mango rice, mango curry in curd, different kinds of podi or chutney with idli, ghee or jaggery with idli, although the restaurant dosa, idli and uthappam tastes horrid to me, and I dislike this refined white rice eating, and prefer whole grain foods, rarely served in restaurants. pittu is ok. Love steamed lentil dumplings curry. I love kozhukattai or any steamed desserts or foods. I avoid deep fried foods. Love citrus type pickles and things sundried and fresh vegetable dal curries. But this might be boring to others. I prefer vegetarian.

                        Ask Suresh Hinduja of gourmet India, or read his posts. I think he's a chef and food reviewer. You can then look up his reviewed restaurants on trip advisor. His reviews on sanjeevanam and adupadi chettinad in Bangalore seem interesting.

                2. re: brasslamp

                  "I've read reviews of shopping mall restaurants like Bon South which try to serve regional cuisine and hotel restaurants, and yes people are eating there, but some of the reviews tend to be negative despite being upscale."

                  Have you been to India or are you basing your advice on reviews, posts and other sources? You don't seem to relay any actual first hand experiences. I tend to get to India about four times a year and eat out a lot.

                  The shopping malls have a lot of variety - take Ambiance Mall in Gurgaon (not really an IT hub by the way). The top floor has maybe 15 different restaurants at different price points, then take the hotels in Gurgaon, ranging from the top end at the Oberoi with "fine dining" to some of the more basic. The mall had lots of families eating in the restaurants, and I was almost the only westerner there - Gurgaon isn't just a business hub but DLF have built a lot of new residential property there so it is a burgeoning city with a large population.

                  Check out the dialogue Klyeoh and I had and you can see how this stacks up: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911873

                  I have also eaten home cooked Indian food whilst in India - it is good but as I said not accessible for 99% of visitors.

            2. re: brasslamp

              People want their ego fed, not their soul.
              People need to understand that quality food takes time, a good agricultural system, and deep respect for the female.

              But in today's society the agricultural system is about pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, gmo etc.

              People want to eat a fast meal and expect it to be prepared within minutes, but in the past certain dishes can take one day to prepare for.

              The male treatment of the female these days is so bad, that women are not inspired to cook anymore. I'm not specifically speaking about Indian men, but any man of any ethnicity because I observed it among various ethnic groups. Even when she took so much skill and intellect to cook a nutritious meal, the men complain the female sits at home and does nothing and earns no money and is constantly eating his money and that the man is the superior one because he is the money earner. Yet, the female through her nutritious cooking, that took immense skill, helped to prevent so many health problems, which enabled men to work in the first place. Now, men don't even know what to do if they get an infection, but the females cooking use to prevent all that. After so much ego, arrogance, abuse, and lack of love, and idiotic beliefs of the man, women lost their inspiration to cook. If you treat someone like a robot, naturally your food will taste as if it came from a robot or will only come from a robot having lack of spirit, love, contrived fake taste. What people are getting today is exactly what they want, cheap and fast, from a flatterer, feeding ego not soul. People want their ego fed, not their soul.

              When the society's attitude changes then only we will see better quality of food.

            3. Thank you all for your replies and suggestions! I'm having more and more good Indian food experiences. When I leave India I'll try to post back here to give anyone else my suggestions.

              Thanks again and feel free to comment more!

              12 Replies
              1. re: beaulm

                kyleoh lists his favorite restaurant chefs here. He's very partial to the Taj hotels.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/527867

                This was his favorite place, its in Bangalore.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842973

                I wish all of kyleohs posts on India can be filtered and listed on one page. I like how he writes. He goes out of his way to research Indian food and seek out authentic places. Yet, at some of his recommended spots people got tummy upset. Its hard to maintain hygiene in India, population density is very high. So take care. I would avoid buffets and order dishes made fresh if hygiene is an issue. In Kerala they bring the fresh raw fish to you and have you select what you like then they will cook the raw fish. Eating at places where you are close to the food source is better.

                Websites like burp and tripadvisor give good reviews and ideas. I was surprised to see so many ultra posh restaurants in chennai on trip advisor. I never ate at such places.
                http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

                I read more on cgh earth, some say some hotels are old, dated not impressive. But customer service is good. Tripadvisor also gives reviews of cgh hotels.

                Some eat at charitable organization restaurants. The proceeds go to charity. The waiters are volunteers. Sometimes cooks are volunteers. In Chennai one such place is Annalakshmi. Its vegetarian. Someone thought the volunteers from the restaurant itself were writing good reviews on tripadvisor, but the reviewer thought the food was not good. So be careful on that too. Personally, I think one of the best judges of food are mangalore people. Most of my comments will be geared towards vegetarian meals and the region around chennai.

                http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

                1. re: brasslamp

                  Regarding online reviews. They will write positive reviews about a place, but when you actually go to such places you find yourself in a very run down space with poor hygiene and strange or irritating decor in uncomfortable locations. I've also read reviews of posh places, but when you eat the food its horrid and in hard to get to locations with no parking.

                  In addition to Taj, Oberoi. And Leela, travelers eat at ITC. But the prices I'm reading about are so high!

                  The idea of India is new. Indians didn't use the term India or Indian before because the area prior to the British consisted of kingdoms. The boundaries of these kingdoms kept changing. It wasn't a fixed area.

                  I think its better to eat regional specialties.
                  So in Delhi, tandoori style Mughal style cooking is well known. To have Goan food in Delhi seems odd to me. Gujaratis are amazing at vegetarian and vegan cooking. Kerala people are awesome at seafood. These cuisines have strong ties to the natural environment they came from. To eat them out of their contexts seems odd. Hyderabad is known for Biriyani. Kyleoh understood this and he thus orders the appropriate dish at the appropriate regions or restaurants and I hope, at the appropriate season. He even understood that Bengalis use mustard oil unlike other regions. That oil is very strong.

                  Some families specialize in certain dishes very well, and are well known in cities, it would be silly to have it at a hotel unless that hotel ordered it from that family kitchen, which some hotels do, like a thattu idli from ramassery. However, due to agricultural issues, these dishes are not the same these days. For those bored with dosa, there is also pesarattu, Adai, Pittu, and black gram dosai from azhagar kovil. But there are so many regional dishes I never heard of that are out there which many families make. I learned there are so many kinds of sambar I myself never had. Restaurants will serve foods with broad appeal, because not everyone likes mustard oil or coconut oil. However some restaurants do food festivals once in a while to showcase a certain regional fare or feast like onam sadhya.

                  Some families do tiffin carriers, these are lunch boxes delivered to office workers who can't leave the office. Now, hygiene can be very bad with these, but its possible some kitchens are good.

                2. re: beaulm

                  You can consult Times of India top picks for each city.

                  http://timescity.com/delhi/restaurant...

                  http://timescity.com/gurgaon/2013/tim...

                  I would pick places with highest user rating and critics rating of cuisine closest to that region. I think Indians are poor judges of Chinese and Japanese food.

                  1. re: brasslamp

                    Perfect. That was just the sort of thing I was looking for! All the other recommendations and commentary have been useful as well.

                    Is there anywhere online where I can find the local specialties for a region/city? *Sometimes* the wikitravel "eat" section has a decent guide, but I've found the ones in India to be lacking. The one for Srinagar (where I'm heading next) has a fairly good list of things for me to try while I'm there: http://wikitravel.org/en/Srinagar#Eat

                    1. re: beaulm

                      You're in Kashmir! I will try to help, but I never go to that part of the country. Look for places that say Kashmiri, the local cuisine. I think lamb, pulao, and dishes with saffron are the specialty. Saffron I think comes from that region.

                      Note, Indians are not about ambience or presentation, they are about price and food. So warning, often what is highly recommended feels like a dump to me. Stay away from restrooms especially.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmiri...

                      http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

                      Here is a restaurant that specializes in Kashmiri food, some say food is too oily and average. The reviewers list the specialties, in their reviews, like wazwan. Ask is it appropriate for non Muslims to experience wazwan? If its possible, where is the best place to experience wazwan which is respectful to it? In India eating can be community specific, they won't mix Hindu community dishes with Muslim community dishes. Restaurants are more generic because they don't want to offend people or create confusion.

                      You can tell them you want no salt, you'll add your own salt, and less oil. They cook oily because in cold regions they need more fat in the diet to stay warm.

                      http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe...

                      You can eat at hotel restaurants, or peoples homes that act like a hotel. the Taj is in Srinagar. Taj usually serves good food in clean environment, but the prices will be high.

                      http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g29...

                      1. re: brasslamp

                        I'm reading food in Srinagar is not good, and houseboats are not well maintained, especially the bathrooms. The hotels like Taj are costly, some hotels charge 50-100 dollars per person for a meal. Alcohol in some states is charged almost fifty percent tax, Usually, wazwan is experienced at a wedding, cooked by a master chef waza. It's almost like a purifying custom. So, when restaurants claim to do wazwan, I'm skeptical. I dislike many travel shows on Indian TV I think they leave out realistic information, like hygiene, price, accessibility, safety etc.

                        You could try this family for advice? Their homestay is far from town though, usually tourists like to be in town.
                        Perhaps their houseboats have better view and are more clean?
                        http://himalayanhandmade.com

                    2. re: brasslamp

                      http://timescity.com/gurgaon/2012/tim...

                      http://timescity.com/timesfoodguide

                      For list of regional specialities look them up in Wikipedia
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gujarati...
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punjabi_...
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maharash...

                      1. re: brasslamp

                        Can you avoid Kashmir, perhaps journey to some other peaceful state/city due to wiki travel warning? I think you're seeking too much passion, or expecting too much? From the food and from India itself? Kashmir is a disputed territory. Often people see things for what they desire not for what it is.

                        Street foods are another option. You can ask an experienced eater where to go that's clean and safe to eat at. They can offer some interesting traditional foods.

                        Yet, simultaneously traditional foods are also disappearing due to changes in agriculture, lack in traditional cooking knowledge, and low cost foreign fast foods like Pizza Hut. McDonalds, Dominos, Chinese take out style, etc who seem to have a chain in every city. These outlets price food so low, and offer indoor air conditioned eating environments and a different taste, its hard to compete with them. Its odd, but if you ask Indians what their favorite food is, they often say Chinese.

                        So if you are expecting traditional Indian foods from Indians, many Indians themselves don't know what that is. When the Europeans came to India trying to conquer its territories, they altered the traditional food system in which traditional spices, vegetables got lost, they were substituted with what the Europeans introduced or wanted so they can control that market.

                        The same pattern is repeating itself today. Many Indian food companies are controlled by Pillsbury, General Mills and Monsanto. They introduced foods not part of traditional Indian cooking. Whatever foods or defunct science Americans reject in their home country, will then get exported to another country like India and become part of their cooking or diet.

                        I was reading about a group of Americans journey to India on a culinary tour. They were taken to authentic places, but there was a point where they couldn't handle it. They were offered to be taken to a village for village meal and they refused. It involved siting on the ground eating with the hands. So instead they were taken to a formal restaurant and offered items they were more accustomed to. So often what a person experiences is what they can handle or understand. It feels safer, more comfortable. Its predictable.

                        I use to be a part of an Indian food forum, but left because the Indians could not understand my traditional Indian food queries. Its a generation problem. Had I asked elders of a very old generation they would have known. So there are changes going on, and you might be experiencing this thru the food. The most dramatic change is in the agricultural system and how connected people are to it.

                        1. re: brasslamp

                          Thanks for your reply. I just got out of Kashmir and I didn't have any problems and got to experience a unique and delicious (if a bit meat-heavy) cuisine.

                          I assure you, I'm not an average American. I'm actually used to eating with my hand on dirt floors. I understand your grievance: the same thing is happening all over the world.

                          1. re: beaulm

                            I'm glad you enjoyed the rich lamb dishes of Kashmir.

                            My perspective on food is different, from other Indians you may speak to. I read an article about a Kashmiri waza having a South Indian meal on banana leaf for the first time. He never knew of such, and couldn't understand it. It was funny. I probably wouldn't know what to do at a wazwan.

                            You got my perspective on food, but I encourage you to talk to other Indians and hear theirs. Some will speak about the modern trends in Bangalore or Bombay, some on the instant gratification of street foods, some on the wholesome village foods, some on the fresh catch from the sea eaten in a hut. Each perspective will be unique based on what they seek from life or what they experienced from childhood or what environment they came from.

                            In my opinion the real Indian food is the one most respectful and nourishing to the Indian land and to the Indian body, so that body can survive the Indian environment.

                            1. re: beaulm

                              Mango season is usually May, June.
                              These type of fruit festivals are throughout the country.

                              http://www.konkanfruitfest.com/the-fe...

                              1. re: brasslamp

                                Agritourism
                                http://redscarabtravelandmedia.wordpr...

                                Homestays
                                http://redscarabtravelandmedia.wordpr...

                                Heritage Homes
                                (I can't find a precise article, but these are very old ancestral homes of people or are recreated to be one
                                )http://redscarabtravelandmedia.wordpr...

                                I have not tried these things. I can't say how good they are.