2016. augusztus 22., hétfő

Gluten free & vegan in India?

Is it possible to be gluten free and vegan in India?

My answer is: Yes, it's possible but it can be challenging.
India has one of the largest vegetarian population of the world, so it's easy to find suitable food for vegetarians. For vegans it can be more challenging, since (in my experience) many times they would tell me that the meal is pure vegetarian (it equals with veganism for many Indians, I suppose) but then turns out it contains milk or yogurt and they will not understand what you problem is... If you're vegan and even allergic to gluten, just as me than it will be even more challenging especially if you travel around Punjab that is also called as the "breadbasket" of the counrty. 

I took two travel cards in hindi with me, one for vegan and one for celiac disease, both was useless. Whenever I showed them at the restaurant it made everybody wonder. All the stuff members gathered around my table wondering what my problem is, they even told me there's no gluten in their wheat, I can eat it. Well thankfully I had a list of safe foods with me. ^-^ They also couldn't understand why I wouldn't drink milk, since milk is sacred. It's hard to explain for them but most of the time they are nice and replace it with coconut milk.
 Celiac travel card in hindi
Vegan travel card in hindi

The easiest to live as a gluten free vegan was at Rishikesh. (New Delhi just opened its first gluten free café though.) Westerns brought their influence to Rishikesh in many ways, one of them is food. You can find several cafés and food bars senving plenty of vegan & celiac friendly food. (My personal favorites are the Tiny Buddha and The german bakery, both at Laxman Jhula and Café Omkar at Ram Jhula). Sadly, Indian food is not the best here but the fried tofu platters, falafels, hummus and coconut milk chai is good enough not to complain.
veggie fried rice

If you still decide to go for Indian dishes rice and dhal are always a good choice. My favorite is papadum, I could eat it all day. It's the best choice to replace naan bread and roti. I also recommend sambhar (veggie stew) and dosai (lentil flour pancake stuffed with potato and veggies). There was a street food, too in Rishikesh I found once while walking around with a Chinese girl, she conviced me to have those potatoes they bake on  stove and spread spices over it. I really loved it but couldn't find the guy who sold them again. 
Some kind of thali, I had it in Amber and it made me sooooo sick 
spicey banana snack (as weird it sounds as good it was!)

Salad, papadum, veggie stew and rice with herbs at Akshi
lemonana (lemonade with mint and shaved ice) best at Café Omkar

watermelon for breakfast

 falafel, hummus, fries and salad at Café Omkar
 ginger tofu with mint rice and chocolate ice shake
 grilled tofu platter with watermelon juice

Some dishes to try:
  • poha
  • dosa/dosai
  • thali
  • papad/papadum
  • biryani
  • pulao
  • dhal 
  • all the seasonal fruits (watermelon, mango, jackfruit whatever it is)

 masala rice
a must try - Limca (lemon soda)

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