Truly, that’s all a restaurant needs to succeed in the Indian backpacker market; a phenomenon that I haven’t seen elsewhere in the world.
“Comfort” is attained by sitting on a thin mattress, similar to those found in many $3/night guesthouses. Back support comes from pillows and the occasion wall of debatable sturdiness.
A 6’3” guy like myself spends spend much of the meal shifting around. Sometimes I’m cross-legged. If not, then my legs are stretched under the table. This has been known to cause a round of unintended footsie with whoever is across from me. Hopefully, it’s my wife.
And yet I spend hours a day in these places and love every minute of it.
Tired of Indian Food? Have Something Else!
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Indian food. Eating a thali a day was one of the main reasons I was most excited to return to India. But sometimes, you just need a break from curry, rice and naan.
Imagine going to a restaurant at home and seeing pizza, falafel, omelets, chow mien, sandwiches, ziti, soup, shwarma, paneer, yogurt and fresh fruit smoothies on the same menu. It just doesn’t happen!
Yet somehow, these touristic and hippie-friendly restaurants in India have mastered the art of a full continental menu. Sure, they may not do everything well; sometimes they don’t do anything well. But the choices! So many choices.
Some days, we hike around, see the sights, take a class or do something else touristic.
Other days, our activities consist of sitting at one or more of these restaurants, eating a variety of meals and drinking copious amounts of chai milk teas with a few lassies and ginger lemon honies mixed in.
Dreadlocks, backpacks, journals and laptops sit down at the tables nearby. Conversations are had. Plans are (sometimes) made. Days are recapped. After a while, it feels like we’re a part of a community: because we are.
Musical Jam Sessions
Whenever a musical instrument enters the restaurant, Carrie and I get especially excited. You just never know when a jam session will break at the next table over…. Like this one, at the Green Café on our first night in Bhagsu, India.
What do you think? Have you been to India and eaten at one of these types of restaurants? Did you like it? Why can’t we have them back home?
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