Food Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Food

The Tea Shop In Bundi, India That Changed Chai

A few have good business ideas, less follow through on them, but when someone does be guaranteed people will try to rip it off. Starting in 1999, that’s exactly what happened in Bundi, India; a sleepy northwestern town that doesn’t see many, if any, tourists throughout the year. Mainly a day trip for visitors with a bit of time moving to Jaipur or Udaipur, the single road leading through the town’s heart has a handful of shops that must work hard to entice the occasional tourist.

Krishna’s Chai Shop found a way to be the must-visit experience in Bundi, with help from a few creative visitors and it’s now an idea many are trying to replicate. You can watch the entire story in the video above or read on.

One Man Operation

Krishna is middle-aged, thin, and speaks little English but his smile can be universally understood. His cheerful demeanor is amplified by the bright yellow walls of Krishna’s Chai Shop. Until 1999 Krishna’s was merely a stall serving chai, the common spiced tea enjoyed all over India. Chai is hardly unique although Krishna’s smile caught the attention of travelers getting off the beaten path in Bundi.

krishna chai bundi india

Some helped him paint the small shop and others later used the vibrant walls as canvas to share messages from around the world.

The Right Spice

Aside from chai, Krishna serves a blend of various teas including honey lemon ginger and other special blends for a variety of tastes. He’s an artisan, crafting each cup with ingredients ground by stone at his feet. Sitting for hours a day cross-legged Krishna’s smile never waivers for his customers. Over the years, visitors have helped Krishna craft a Facebook page plus added him on Tripadvisor, with a banner above the shop to advertise.

Getting Noticed

Especially in a town as small as Bundi, this relative popularity has gotten local attention – both for tea drinkers and opportunistic tea shops. Across Krishna’s now you’ll find a handful of chai shops with brightly painted walls, banners advertising social media accounts, and a small kettle outside with tea.

krishnas chai shop

Those shops will often try to get you to leave or avoid Krishna’s altogether, often bad mouthing him in the process. It works on a lot of visitors who don’t know any better but Krishna’s is still most popular with Bundi locals as well as anybody who’s been already.

What the other shops can’t replicate is Krishna’s smile, joy of working his craft, and his honesty. (Prices are the same for locals as for tourists but I’ll add, tipping is appreciated.) The tea and Krishna’s unique stock of spice blends helps but Krishan’s Chai Shop is infused with his personality.

These days Krishna’s bright yellow walls might catch the attention of a visiting passerby but the experience will have you coming back during your visit in Bundi. Don’t be fooled by the bland copy-paste competition all around, Krishna’s is the best place for chai in Bundi.

How To Spend 72 Hours In Berlin: Quick Guide To Food, Booze, And Art

berlin street food

There’s a lot to do and see in Berlin, Germany but even better more to eat and drink. You can take in Berlin through many senses so here’s how to touch upon each one if you’ve only got a short time in Germany’s capital city.

Start Early Checkpoint Charlie

Before you immediately click away (I see you Berliner) – a lot of people want to see Checkpoint Charlie. Walking around this area is hard to avoid so it can be done anytime yet if you want to enter the decent museum, arrive before they open. Crowds are terrible, lines worse, plus you don’t have much time to get to everything else.

brandenburg gate

While you’re nearby Checkpoint Charlie both the Brandenburg Gate (ready for your Instagram selfies) and Holocaust Museum (read if you’re considering) are roughly a 20 minute walk away.

Getting Around In Berlin

If an hour of walking sounds nice, it’s about the time you’ll need to get most anywhere from the center of town. Otherwise you’ve got bike rentals everywhere, Uber’s JUMP bikes with a small electric engine, plus scooter options as well. Travelers who prefer getting around by car, it’s best to hail a cab from the road (or use MyTaxi app versus Uber) since it’s less expensive and cabbies are fairly honest in Berlin.

berlin art

Back To Lunch

At this point, you’re probably getting hungry. From the Brandenburg Gate, you can focus on the north part of the city. Oslo Cafe has good coffee roughly 30 minutes walking distance with some bakery snacks. On Sundays, add the Arkonaplatz Market to your list, there’s plenty of shopping and street food to choose from. Any other day of the week, arrive on an empty stomach to Holy Everest one of the best restaurants in Berlin.

holy everest berlin

As the day draws to a close you might be wondering where to grab a drink before dinner. Hop a cab to either Bateau Ivre for a louder environment whereas Cafe Luzia is a bit more relaxed – both are moderately priced; located in Kreuzberg.

Late Morning Food To Art

Ideally, you’re doing this plan on a Thursday. Around noon, you can enjoy lunch at Kopps, one of the best vegan restaurants anywhere most people will enjoy. Right next to it is Koppenplatz, a small park often with live music during the warm-ish months. Once refueled, it’s a 45 minute walk to East Side Gallery, the largest open-air gallery in the world. East Side Gallery features murals along stretches of the Berlin Wall; excellent for photographs or a nice stroll to digest lunch.

berlin sunset

Try to time it so you get to Oberbaumbrucke Bridge 45 minutes before sunset, these are some of the best shots of the Berlin skyline during “golden hour.”

To celebrate the great sunset photo, cheers over a fancy cocktail at Apotheken. Belly warm, walk over to Markthalle Neun for Thursday night’s street food festival. Martkhalle Neun also has other food events during the weekends which vary as well.

Just A Taste

There’s plenty more to eat across Berlin, options for vegans or carnivores, not to mention Christmas markets and summer festivals. For meals across the day this video will give you breakfast, lunch, or dinner and if you would like any other recommendations, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

How To Prevent Jet Lag (But You’re Not Going To Like It)

jet lag sucks

No matter what anyone tells you, jet lag is something you can treat but not completely avoid. Traveling in the sky fast enough to outpace our biologically imprinted circadian rhythms requires some body hacking to mitigate the effects.

You’ll still feel jet lag but less intensely for shorter durations if you subject yourself to a few uncomfortable rules.

1. Don’t Eat On The Flight

For some reasons as soon as we board a flight our appetites start fiendishly craving overly processed, tasteless airplane food. Our biological clocks are timed in big part through our livers. According to neuroscientist Matthew Walker, evolution has primed our bodies to become sleepy a short time after our final meal of the day. Having airplane food high in sugar and sodium resets this countdown timer. Also, the lactose in the foods and other additives may cause even more gas than flying already does disrupting deep sleep even further.

2. Run Right After Your Flight

A solid cardio-focused workout can help speed up our body clocks adjustment to a new timezone. The impact of running in particular might have a significant impact on combating jet lag, shortening it up to 8 times in limited animal studies. Anecdotally, the best time to get the workout in is immediately after arriving to a new destination. Don’t fall for the “I’ll just rest my eyes” trap and get to a park, treadmill, or if either aren’t an option, try these hotel room workouts.

Plan for a minimum of 30 minutes or more of exercise at the highest intensity comfortable for you to get your blood thoroughly circulating. Swollen flight ankles? Running or biking is a straightforward way to treat that flight side effect as well.

3. Control The Mornings And Power Through

Sleep is not a state you can will yourself into easily but staying awake is a goal we can achieve through conscious will. No matter what time you land, try to get to sleep at a normal hours but no matter how little you sleep, get up on time in the morning. Give yourself an extra hour from your regular wake up time back home but other than that, don’t snooze. Using your bladder as an alarm clock can ensure you get out of bed, no matter how much you want 5 more minutes.

sarajevo golden hour

Use Chemicals Subtly

Caffeine can also be used in moderation to help adjust your clock as well if consumed at the right times. Caffeine drinkers, get that coffee or tea as early as possible in the morning after you wake up but don’t consume any after noon. You might be wondering about alcohol but since that drug blocks rapid eye movement (REM) and deeper stages of sleep, if you must, keep it to one drink until your jet lag is gone.

One last thing, remember that getting over jet lag takes time so maintain these habits for at least a week, depending on how many time zones you’ve shifted. In the first day or two we often have a rebound effect giving a false honeymoon period that we’ve cracked jet lag – only to realize a week later at 3am completely awake that might have been wishful thinking.

How To Spend 48 Hours In Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city looks like a little storybook medieval tourist destination with plumbing our ancestors lived without. Many of the major tourist destinations are concentrated in the old part of Edinburgh, making it a walk-able city to explore without rushing, even if you only have 2 days.

I lived in town for a time and if you’re planning your first visit, here’s how to spend 48 hours in Edinburgh. You can see it all in the video above or read on.

On The Mile

The old part of Edinburgh at first sight is where you might go say to yourself, “oh I get it. Harry Potter makes a lot more sense now.” Not the magic, but the imagery. The Royal Mile is where you’ll spend a lot of your time since it’s the main corridor through the old city. Before planning anything though, know that the weather changes very, very frequently. In most other places a 5 day forecast can all happen in Edinburgh within an hour.

arthur's seat

Keeping that in mind, if you’re up for a solid amount of exercise, start your plans with a hike up Arthur’s Seat. The extinct volcano is a 20 minute walk from the Royal Mile, and another half hour to get to the top. Rain often closes down the main paths but if it’s dry for enough of the day, the views from Arthur’s Seat are beautiful. Warm weather? Sun? You can easily spend hours up there. Everyone else just in it for the views, set aside 2 hours – hopefully sometime in your 48 hours the paths to the top are clear.

Breakfast

Arthur’s Seat or not, enjoy breakfast at Southern Cross Cafe. They’ve got typical Scottish breakfast in vegetarian versions if you prefer, good coffee, with a nice atmosphere saturated with free wireless Internet. Plan to arrive around 10:30am at latest, it gets crowded closer to noon. Then walk down Cockburn (pronounced koh-burn you pervert) for shopping if you need to buy gifts.

southern cross cafe

Cockburn will lead you down Market Street, make a left, then walk 10 minutes up Ramsay Lane. At the top of the street you’ll find Camera Obscura, a good museum especially if you’re traveling with children. To the right is the Edinburgh Castle, not particularly interesting inside so stick to the courtyard in front for city photos to the right and left.

Working Up An Appetite

I’m burning some calories for you now toward Grassmarket (15 minute walk) where on weekends there are often food and other shopping stalls. Otherwise it’s a fairly bland blend of window gazing. From there you’re going to walk up toward Victoria Street, more shopping plus Instagram opportunities.

edinburgh castle

Like a lot of places here, JK Rowling may have been inspired by Victoria Street and nearby at the The Elephant House she wrote parts of the books. Many people just want a picture from outside so now’s your chance. Overpriced coffee with lousy service? Come back closer to 8pm, it’s much quieter then.

Assuming you didn’t eat at The Elephant House, walk up to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern and enjoy a late lunch with a beer with whisky dessert. You’re back now on the Royal Mile. Walk into St. Giles Cathedral, make a small donation for photos, tell your friends it’s where Avengers was filmed.

Planning The Rest

Hopefully you’ve read this far, because I suggest booking tickets to an underground ghost tour with Mercat. They meet right outside of St. Giles and take you to the vaults underneath Edinburgh. These walking tours are around an hour and a half, afterward you might be hungry again (I don’t blame you). The Albanach is right across the street.

st giles cathedral

This is a very full one day but the weather dictates a lot in Edinburgh. Anything outdoors (e.g. Arthur’s Seat) should be put first in your 48 hour schedule. Pepper in your plans a visit to Golden Hare Bookshop, whisky shopping at Royal Mile Whiskies, not to mention whiskey drinking at these 3 places.

Without a doubt, there’s a lot more to do than all I mentioned above. Warmer weather means more outdoors but bigger crowds and the cooler months ad-hoc planning with the weather (just like in Iceland). There are a few more suggestions here for your trip to Edinburgh, with a lot of reasons to visit the Scottish Highlands while you’re nearby.

Finally, remember it’s pronounced Edinburrah, a water drop or two in whisky is acceptable let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Cheers!

The Center Of Birmingham’s Balti Triangle: A Review Of Adil’s Restaurant

Did you know there was a balti triangle in Birmingham, England? Literally, an area so famous for introducing this northern Pakistani cuisine to the United Kingdom, the unofficial “Balti Triangle” is even listed in Google Maps. Don’t know what balti cuisine is? One of the best places to find out in the UK is at Adil’s, in the heart of the Balti Triangle.

You can see more in the video above or read on.

What Is Balti?

Originating in northern Pakistan, specifically the Baltistan region bordering China, balti is the name of the wok style dish the food is served in. Not only is the balti reminiscent of the Chinese wok, many flavors of course blend over ancient borders as well. Balti is a solidly spicy base of tomato sauce flash fried and traditionally served with vegetables as well as goat or lamb meat. At Adil’s you can order vegetarian varieties (no meat, more veggies) if you prefer.

balti adils birmingham

Why Adil’s?

Adil’s, in the 1970s might very well have been the first restaurant to serve balti cuisine in the UK. It’s in the southeastern part of Birmingham which has an Asian population of roughly 26%, 13.5% from Pakistan. Adil’s is well known in the area although opinions vary to whether or not it’s the best balti food in town.

Meals typically begin with a starter of papadum, a flat, thin fried bread cracker you can dip in various sauces. Those sauces vary from yogurt-based in garlic, to mint, plus onions or sweet and sour. You’ll also find more familiar appetizers like samosas as well. Keep in mind that alcohol is not served at Adil’s but they don’t restrict anyone from bringing their own. Literally everyone at the restaurant came in with their own bottle of wine so don’t feel uncomfortable doing the same if you want a merlot or Amstel with dinner.

Inside The Balti Triangle

Being “the best” might be subjective but the preparation of balti at Adil’s is straightforward, using flash frying techniques in vegetable oils with traditional masala spices.The restaurant itself isn’t very large, holding about 50 customers, getting much more crowded after 7 in the evening.

balti cuisine

Each balti has a spice flavor that will slowly creep up on you, requiring the occasional break for your taste buds to recover. The food isn’t so hot though that you can’t taste anything, it’s satisfying without being heavy or extreme. Anyone who can’t do spicy though, make sure you tell the server you want your balti as mild as possible. Make sure you get some rice (cooked with or without more vegetables if you prefer) or over-baked naan bread to continually cleanse your palate.

The Balti Triangle is a culinary adventure in Birmingham, a surprisingly low key city considering it’s England’s second largest. Most of the south Asian cab drivers I spoke with had a favorite balti place, giving me plenty of recommendations. Inside the triangle is certainly a good way to spice up a trip to Birmingham, worth taking more time to explore.

What To Do In London After Your First Trip

monty's seven dials market

London can feel at times like a dignified, obese man and all the people in it red blood cells getting by just enough to avoid causing a heart attack. You can meet him for a moment and see his proud hat, notice the odor, and after a trip or two think you’ve seen enough not to see more again.

This is where I found myself, somewhere in the third or fourth time I visited London, England. Knowing this year I’d be going again, for the (probably 8 or 9th time) since you voted it Best City in 2019, I though it was time to sit you down with London.

Let’s Talk

Yes, you can see Westminster and the visually jarring London Eye. Go to a pub, have a pint, visit the Tower of London – truly one of the easiest cities to have a first date with. Like with many massive cities (Istanbul, New York I’m looking at you), it’s natural to think that’s all there is to do. All that remains is just rat racing.

hyde park london england

The fringes though are where it gets interesting because those are where you’ll find the borderlands between locals, immigrants, and tourists hoping to get off some beaten path they saw on Instagram. London is not the most approachable place to get to know, it has to warm up to you and you to it.

Over Lunch?

Break bread with the city at a place in Seven Dials Market. Hipster haven full of whatever your particular preference, allergy, or indulgence might be. Take for example Monty’s, where you can find salted beef, pastrami, smoked salmon, and other classic deli fare. They call it “Jewish soul food” recently opened at Seven Dials after the closure of its flagship store.

Walk around the side streets shows on the map in my video above to try various other street foods from around the world nearby. You can learn a lot about a city from what it likes to snack on.

Head To The Hanging

A long, slightly isolating walk to Captain Kidd, a pub baring the name of the Scottish pirate who was hung nearby in 1701. Some nights you could probably write an entire evening television lineup based on the expressions of the patrons. Plenty of sarcasm for your comedy, drama politely loud enough to be overhead, and the occasional glassy eyes reflecting light between depressed and delighted.

Slightly bumping back to the nearest tube stop later in the evening, remember as you tip tap down the damp stairs that someone probably much drunker than you photographed Sir Winston Churchill’s ghost down below.

I for one, don’t quite see it but stare close enough, long enough, and you can vaguely begin to make out a shape. A lot like this city, London; hard to make out if you stick to the center but on occasion can become ever so tangible if you head to the fringes wherever you happen to find them.

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