5 tips to survive without curry or rice
One of the many issues Indians face when travelling out of their comfort zone is food. And I have seen first hand how mentally tortured they become when they cannot find curd rice or a simple thosai in the places they visit. So for my fellow mates who can only eat Halal /or Indian food to feel alive in a foreign country - these are the tips for you.
When you book the hotel room - look for facilities such as a mini fridge, microwave or at least a water heating jug. Don't be a cheapo on this.
1. Instant food
Ever heard of instant noodles in a bowl? They happen to have halal versions of it. So get them in packs. Separate the seasonings from the noodles and pack them in to save space in your luggage.
Also - you are encouraged to pack instant porridges ( there are some varieties of it in Knorr's).
I can think of Milo, Coffees and Teas. Now this is assuming you are staying put in a decent hotel room with a water heating jug. I would advise you to bring along the smallest version of it just in case (Kenwood has one and I bought it for forty plus dollars in Mustafa) with you when you travel.
Buy lots and lots of biscuits that you eat. Not what is edible to your toddler. Buy digestives, or Maries or Hock Guans( I'm not sure if I got that name right).
In the same line - go ahead and purchase snacks such as potato chips, Twisties, chocolate bars and nuts. They are for you to nibble on when you are out on the road. You don't want to be hungry when you are walking around.
4. Canned food
I brought these in bulk because I can eat this. But not all Indians do. And also these cans do not require bringing along a can opener. They have tuna varieties in chilies and mayo.
5. Food outside
Yes yes we know you cannot eat the food outside, but trust me people, its not easy to locate indian restaurants either. So first - take a look around your area of stay. You should be able to find a supermarket so venture there. Buy bread. You can survive on bread, canned tuna and Milo.
Buy milk - if you are the type of peep who cannot drink milk out from the carton - but must heat it - then skip this option if there is no microwave in your room. You can buy plain nuts or plain water.
Now with all that said and done - if you have spent the money to do sightseeing, its also worth the experience to try to eat the local cuisine if you can find vegetarian options. For Muslims - its even tougher - but look out for seafood if you can. Look for fish related items - such as baked or boiled fish or something like that.
I had no trouble with food in Europe. Trust me. When we are checked into hotels where there is no kitchenette, but water jug, I go shopping at the supermarket and shop for staples like bread, butter and milk. The only place we had a hard time finding food was in Vietnam. I didn't think to bring all the above there since you know - I thought all Asian cities have halal food. What a dumbass! Anyway - lessons learnt.
Try not to expect thosai, curd rice, sambar rice or your mother's curry in a foreign country. If you have issues with food, but must travel then please do your homework.
- Locate the places you want to visit in the country - in Google Map
- Locate Indian restaurants ( they are usually named Taj or Raj )
- Locate Indian localities if you can possibly - like maybe research online or check with people who have been there
- Find a hotel near these Indian localities. Or at least find a hotel near a train station that brings you to the station where these locations are.
When we arrived in Paris years ago - a very friendly cab driver told us the location of their very own "Little India". He even pinpointed the station name for me in my map and I didn't even ask!
So there - my ultra basic helpline for food when you are going to a non Indian/Halal country.