Around the world with Manu Feildel

Manu Feildel in India.
Manu Feildel in India.

Episode three: India

I began my exploration of India in Mumbai, a city of almost 15 million, the home of the Bollywood film industry and the country's foodie capital. I was ready to get started but, as I had never cooked Indian food before, I first needed to do some research.

I explored the Grant Rd Markets, a place that really has everything you could imagine, from dozens of varieties of fruit and vegetables, to cooking utensils and services wherever you turn.

One place that I had been told to visit was a street very famous for its food - Tulloch Rd, Colaba - and in particular a restaurant called Bademiya, that has been there for generations. It's rumoured that Bademiya do the best chicken tikka in Mumbai.

Apparently bringing the cameras gave me VIP status so I got the best table in the house - dining on the bonnet of a car! What an amazing experience this was, talk about real street food.

Along the way in India I was given many opportunities by locals to try their food and also learn how to make it.

The people were really wonderful, and so welcoming. I learned how to make idli - one of the most famous breakfast dishes in Mumbai - and also vada pav, Indian potato burgers with an explosion of flavour.

To pass time on the 28-hour train ride from Mumbai to Kolkata, and possibly to make some spending money, I decided to try and sell my vada pav. They were a big hit - I ended up sitting down in one cabin and selling out in about 15 minutes.

I arrived in Kolkata at the oldest train station in India - a sea of people and very overwhelming. The second biggest city in India, Kolkata is known for its colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. I explored the flower market - Mallick-Ghat, but didn't have much time to spare because I needed to get to my next destination.

Again I was given suggestions for more dishes to try before leaving Kolkata so I tried a famous street-food fish dish, rohu bhaat.

I ended my Indian trip stuffed from so much wonderful food, culture and people - I'll be sleeping all the way to Hong Kong!

Manu's tips for Indian travel:
• Let the locals show you where to go/eat etc - they know so well and are the best tour guides.
• I upgraded my train ticket so I could go in an air-conditioned car but with a 28-hour journey ahead I think the extra $10 was well worth it.

Watch more of Manu in India on Around The World With Manu Feildel, 8.30pm, Saturday, TVNZ 1.


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