The picture you see here is a typical Mumbai restaurant menu. I visited restaurants like this the Monday after Diwali in one of the most posh neighborhoods in Mumbai, Pali Hill. This is an extremely safe and residential neighborhood, one where I saw many women jogging in the morning and hoping on and off the bus at all times of day and early evening. Take in this photo, examine all the details. Remember that as a westerner no matter where you go it’s not a good idea to drink non-bottled water or eat from the street vendors. How would you shower and brush your teeth? Hell even my friends from India don’t drink the water and occasionally get put in the hospital for eating bad street food. One person I spoke with remarked “it’s just something that happens now and again in this part of the world”, this was after spending a week in the hospital.
Now consider this, during the week I was in Mumbai I didn’t get sick once, I ate all Indian food with the exception of 1 meal (will blog on this later) and I loved every minute of it. I am just going to come out and say it, the reason why Indian food outside of India has a hard time replicating the authentic flavors is 2 fold: Dairy and spice tolerance. Yogurt, cheese and milk are all from Indian cows that produce unique flavored dairy products. The cheese in my saag paneer was exceptional, the lassi’s were strong and the yogurt had a hint of sour cream. I am a loyal convert to the “India is the best place for vegetarians”. It is truly an awesome place for foodies and once you’ve eaten there you will long for those dishes in your hometown Indian buffet.