I had ranted long ago about the Lonely Planetization of Travel – I had just returned from Hampi and was irritated above all, by the fact that I had come across only “Western” cuisine everywhere… In popular tourist destinations in India, menus are almost always prepared with the foreign visitor in mind – and therefore, authentic local food is hard to come by.
We were very lucky in Sikkim – we stayed at The Shire homestay and the hostess Mrs. Namgyal laid out this superb Sikkimese meal for us – with chang for starters. Chang is the local millet beer and packs a deadly punch. As a result, I do not remember all the details of this meal – but the husband says fresh mushroom and bamboo shoot and paneer and potatoes featured in it – he fondly reminisces over it even now (“I wish you had learned that potato recipe” – right, like I was in any state to) and swears I vocally expressed my appreciation for the meal then. Oh, alright, whatever.
While on this, a shout-out to the two great places we stayed in while in Gangtok – The Shire Guesthouse is a comfortable stay, reasonably priced and within walking distance from the MG road – the guesthouse (it is more like a home with rooms added at the rear) run by the friendly Mrs. Namgyal.
And the last two days, after we returned from North Sikkim, at Hotel Tashi Tagey – this is not a home but a hotel owned and managed by a very friendly couple (homely food and comfortable stay – promises the board at the entrance and it delivers these). Mrs. Dorji’s food is again highly recommended (this time I did ask, but she smiled shyly and refused to tell me the secret behind that chowmein).