Food

Bangalore, a Spicy Culinary Tour in Historic Southern India

A journey through the wonders of this metropolis to taste all the specialties of the local cuisine. From banana Mangalore Buns to spicy Tikki Puri
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Duration: one day dedicated to tasting

Itinerary: a tour in town of about 20 kilometres

Equipment: sun glasses, water and anything that can help reduce the spiciness of some dishes

Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, is known as a world-wide famous technological hub, despite still retaining its ancient roots and top-notch silk and porcelain manufacturers. Many, however, are unaware that the gastronomic scene has become rather interesting in this city, with fancy restaurants alongside a strong tradition of street food. Hop on your Vespa and discover the tastiest foods of the southern part of the Indian peninsula.

The plan for the day is to please your palate, so have a taste of everything, trying as many foods as possible, indulging in sauces and gourmet dishes without skipping anything! Start with a specialty that falls in the category of breakfast, but it can actually be eaten at any time: Mangalore Buns – a banana bread (unleavened, but inflated during cooking), often accompanied by a coconut chutney or sambar and lentil soup. It’s a typical first meal of the day in this region. The perfect location to taste all this is at Chetty's Corner, which has being serving excellent street food in authentic Indian style since 1977.

But the morning isn't over yet; after an invigorating walk, try a second typical breakfast in Bangalore: hot idli (steamed fermented rice and mung bean cakes), vada (a fried bean snack resembling donuts) and dosa (crispy pancakes fried in ghee, clarified butter, and served piping hot). All come accompanied with spicy sauces and mint flavoured chutneys, which make these dishes the absolute favourite of the city's inhabitants. A good place to try these are at the Central Tiffin Room, where the butter dosa is a favourite.

Feeling a bit full? Great – it’s a good opportunity to dedicate a few hours to visiting the city. There are so many things to discover in this gigantic metropolis and fortunately, on your Vespa you will be able to get around quite easily. In twenty minutes or so, you can reach the Bull Temple, whose official name is Dodda Basavana Gudi or Nandi Temple. The bull in question is a Hindu demigod, known as Nandi, and this is the largest temple dedicated to him in the world. The most curious thing? You’ll learn that the great monolith that pays homage to the deity is always covered in – believe it or not – butter.

Leave the temple, and go into the old town, Pettah, where you will park your Vespa and join one of the organized tours to discover the traditions related to silk manufacturing. You will have the opportunity to discover all the secrets of this ancient and fascinating process and see the last few craftsmen who still weave by hand to create the perfect saree, India's traditional female garment.

To end your food tour at its best, indulge in the flavours of Tikki Puri, a dish consisting of small crispy semolina flour disks covered with vegetables and served with mysterious Indian dips – incredibly spicy ones, too! Try them at the Tikki Tikki, specialized in this type of local street food. Order some yogurt on the side to balance the spiciness.

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