Food Bytes: Quick Bites When You Are Craving Desi Goodness While Travelling Overseas

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Chances are, that, by the time you read this column, I’ll be somewhere in the middle of the Omani desert craving my daily fix of bhel puri and a tall glass of coconut water. Yes, I’m off once again on another one of my travel writing assignments where as much as I love to try the local cuisine, I do tend to miss my desi snacks from time to time. But don’t worry about me too much. Help for me is just a ‘pack rip’ away! I will have taken care of all my foodie wantings thanks to my secret tuck box of packed Indian goodies that I take with me on my long spells away from my country.

While in no way am I advocating the unchecked consumption of packed, processed food and drinks, I am giving you a glimpse into how an array of some of my favourite packed Indian goodies help me beat the foodie blues away when I simply can’t bear the idea of ingesting another ubiquitous soggy burger or a limp piece of pepperoni pizza while on the road.

Healthy or not, that’s not the crux of this week’s column, but seeking foodie convenience and familiarity in a foreign country, very much is…

Haldiram’s Fatafat Bhel
I’ve been partaking in the bounty of this wonderful yellow plastic bowl of goodness for the last decade or so. To me it is super yum and very, very convenient. And I’ve got to admit that I can’t do without it as much as I can’t do without my own blanket and pillow on international trips. All for a mere Rs 20, this 70 gram container has within its foil wrapped top, puffed rice, dal moth, flattened roasted chickpeas, sev, roasted peanuts along with three sachets of tamarind sauce, red spicy chutney and a coriander-mint chutney along with a spoon to mix it all up with. And I make sure to jazz up my bhel further if I happen to be within reaching distance of a chopped onion, a tomato, a boiled potato and a few sprigs of coriander. Ah, pure bliss!

Navitas Naturals Coconut Water Powder
I have to admit that at first I balked at the idea of a powdered version of my favourite drink in the whole wide world—coconut water. But when I actually made myself a glass of the nectar of the Gods from this powder (Rs 843 for a 5.8 oz pack), I made a mental note never to be prejudicial. It was that good! Now, I’d be lying if I said that it tastes just like coconut water straight out of a tender green specimen, but this one come real close. This freeze-dried powder (that I carry in a smaller plastic container) allows me to create my own glass of coconut water by simply stirring one tablespoon of the powder into a glass of ice cold water. And voila, I have a refreshing taste of home in a glass.

Mother Dairy’s Mishti Doi
Imbued with just the right hint of brown palm sugar sweetness coupled with the velvety texture that retains its form when scooped up, this packed version of the King of Bengali sweets is as good as any Kolkata halwai’s. At Rs 45 for a 90 gram foil topped tub, this is convenience and nostalgia at its best. My only grouse with it is that it needs constant refrigeration that isn’t always possible while on the road. But even warm mishti doi is better than no mishti doi. What say?

Chandu’s Gulab Jamun
Not just a great monotony breaker from oodles of firangi desserts like panna cota, crème brulee and baklava, this tinned gulab jamun also makes for a great ‘from India with love’ gift to give my friends abroad—who very cutely call them “gobul-jums”. Packed with golf ball-sized globules of goodness in a sticky rose water flavoured syrup, a 500 gram tin is modestly priced at Rs 85 and is worth its weight in gold.

Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation, actual products or services for featuring the above products. They have been chosen solely because I like them. Pics courtesy: www.bigbasket.com, www.mohrresults.com, www.findable.in and www.chanduhalwai.tradeindia.com

Post By Raul Dias (102 Posts)

Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.

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Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.