Monday, July 30, 2012

Snow Lion Restaurant (Hotel Tibet) - Review

It is undoubtedly my favourite eatery in Gangtok. Situated on Paljor Stadium Road, the restaurant is vaguely out of the way and yet just a ten minute walk from M.G. Marg. I have been visiting it since the 8th standard, initially with parents when we used to dwell in Gangtok and subsequently with my college friends who had only agreed to come the first time at my insistence and persistence. Yesterday I visited the diner with a mix of both school and college friends and the food was as usual unmatchable. 

The ambience of Snow Lion Restaurant is appreciable- with cosy four or eight seater dining tables. The cost per head is pretty reasonable and the taste of the delicacies remarkable. Initially we ordered for my usual front-runner choice 'Chicken Wanton Soup' as an appetizer while some friends ordered 'Hot and Sour Soup'. You'll find the best wanton soup in the world in Snow Lion, with liberal amounts of wantons with liberal amounts of chicken in your soup. Ethereal as usual, they were! Then we ordered Veg. Sizzler and Mushroom Chilli for my vegetarian friend, Chicken Chow Mein, Shredded and Sautéed Pork and Baked Fish. Thanks to my friends' orders I came to know that sizzlers are best to be avoided and mushroom chilli and sautéed pork to be given a thumbs up. The baked fish was the show-stopper and you can vouch for me to order that if and when I go there next. There were six of us and the expense roughly added up to Rs.230 per head.

The other specialities include Chicken Momo, Chicken Drumstick and Chinese Rice Dishes. It is worth a visit at least once and highly recommended for gluttons as well as connoisseurs of food. I would rate it a 4.5 out of 5. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Street food @Kolkata

Recently I came across a list of 'top ten cities with the best street food' in the internet and was shocked to not find Kolkata on the list. Shocked, I say, because for me it'll always be at number one: in taste, quantity and price, maybe not in hygiene. Here is a list of a dozen most popular street food found in Kolkata:

1)Phuchka: Called as Golgappa in North India and Pani-puri in the West, they are at number one.

2) Telebhaja: This includes all the deep-fried savouries such as chops, cutlets, Fuluri, Daaler Bora, pakoras, (both veg. and non-veg.) etc.

3) Jhalmuri: It is puffed rice mixed with spices and vegetables.

4) Kebabs and Kathi Roll: You'll see innumerable stalls selling 'Chiken', 'Morton', 'Bheg', 'Poneer' and 'Dimer' roll (chicken,  mutton, veg., paneer and egg rolls) on the streets. The kebab used in the meat rolls can be consumed separately as a snack.

Kathi Roll

5) Singara and Kochuri: Some of the only salty delicacies found in a sweet shop.

6) Mughlai Paratha: Parathas stuffed with potato or meat and laced with egg.

7) Chow-mein and chilli chicken: Cheap and scrumptious Indo-Chinese meal.

8) Bhel-puri and Chaat: Though Bhel Puri and Batata Puri are originally Maharashtran dishes and Chaat is more widely sold in North and Central India, these items are fairly popular in Kolkata.
9) Momo and thukpa: Tibetan treats being among Calcutta's favourites.

10)South Indian food: Many stalls sell tasty Idlis, Dosas and Vadas at dirt cheap prices.

11) Chilla: My favourite, but not so popular with the general public, it is basically a vegetarian omlette using Besan (chick-pea powder) instead of egg.

12) Fruit juice and fruit stalls: Being predominantly a hot and humid city, fruit juice (mostly sugarcane or Mousambi juice) stalls and cucumber, guava and Kaalo Jaam vendors sell stuff like hot cakes in Kolkata.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alma Mater

New people. New denizen. New environment. Academics. Road trips. Library trips. Eating out. Midnight snacks. Cooking endeavours. Cribbing about mess food. Birthday and other treats. Teeny weeny crushes. Mocking teachers. Respecting and admiring them. Being in their good/bad books. Classmates. Class/Departmental get-together . Random acquaintances. Movie nights. 'Gossip times'. Not so hot 'hot news'. Rivals. 'Frenemies'. Friend-turned-strangers. Examination blues. Mass bunks. Studying. Unending fests. Winning/ losing competitions. Bouts of homesickness. Monotonousness. Impatience for impending vacations. Riots, road blocks and earthquakes. Lifelong friends. The good and the bad times.

No matter how much one hates one's college, he/she has fond memories attached to it and will eventually miss it. Now that this is my last semester in this institution, I too will sorely miss my Alma mater, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology. Though many individuals have succeeded in tarnishing the reputation of the college, many have also made it proud. Every individual (including me) has contributed in some way or the other in building what the college's image is today and many have also contributed in shaping up my personal character. The list of people to thank or blame is endless. I just want to express my gratitude towards all my friends for loving me because of and despite who I am and to all my rivals/ those who don't like me much for showing me that 'I must have done something right'. 
 College BFFs
 Departmental BFFs
Annual Day, 2012.
There's an idiot in the classroom.
 The only Diwali spent in college till date 
The 'Gandhiji ke teen bandar pose' at Mayfair 
One identical twin feeding the other cake
The Changu trip
Back in first year when we were all 'Seedha Bachchas'

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Redang - Gallery

Pulau Redang is one of the biggest islands on the east coast of Malaysia.
 On the way to one of the snorkelling sites
 Rocky corner
 School of fish
 Snorkel snorkel!
 BBQ Platter
 Abandoned coconut
 A beach scene
Besides man


When bored, write a blog. When extremely bored, watch TV. When boredom is about to kill, read my blog.

Peter Cat - Review

Although graded 'pricey', Peter Cat is an absolute crowd-puller. The last time I went there was most probably a good fifteen years back. I still remember the long queue outside the restaurant, we being a part of it, waiting impatiently to pounce onto the great food. 'Peter Cat' defines Park Street. 'Peter Cat' defines Kolkata's Cuisine. I had the privilege of dining there yesterday with a good friend and the experience was incredible.

We ordered the speciality, Chelo Kebab (original), of course and a House Special Sizzler along with a drink called 'Strawberry Crush'. The service was instant, the ambience above average and the taste 'out of this world'. All that was ordered was scrumptious and more filling than we expected. The Chelo Kebab had the usual combination of Chicken Reshmi Kebab, Mutton Seekh Kebab, Buttered Rice with extra butter, poached egg and grilled tomato. The sizzler constituted of boiled and buttered carrots and beans, liver, sausages, fried potatoes and chicken in brown sauce with a poached egg on top. The meal cost us around Rs. 400 per head (Yes I agree a bit expensive).

It seems 'Peter Cat' sells around 400 Chelo Kebabs per day, the kebabs being cooked with Persian herbs. The other recommended items of the restaurant are - Mutton Nawabi, Chicken Marakesh, Dum ki Raan, Afghani Chicken and Malai Kofta. The prawn cocktail is also delicious. Had I been a permanent resident of Kolkata I would definitely visit this place often. I would rate it a 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh Calcutta!

This is the place I was born in. This is what I call my 2nd (or maybe 3rd) home. This is where most of my relatives reside. This is what Durga Poojo means to me. This is where my heart lies. This is Calcutta!

In no other city will you find so many spit and mucous-laden streets. But in no other city will you find people on the streets voluntarily coming up to you and asking where you're headed, deciphering your clueless expression to be one of having no idea which direction to go. In no other city will you find such overcrowded and 'Pocketmaar'-prone metros. But in very few cities will you even find a metro - the easiest mode of transport. In no other city will you find so much pollution. But in no other city will you find such clear-hearted ('mann ka  saaf') individuals (well,mostly). In no other city will you find unhygienic little shops on the pavements, with throngs of individuals licking off gravy from their plates. But in no other city will you find so much variety, such great quality and such cheap priced street food. 

Kolkata (or Calcutta) despite being hot, polluted, a clubhouse for a "couldn't care less" multitude and lacking in so many basic needs that even non-metropolitan cities possess (e.g. a half-decent airport. Hopefully this problem won't last long since the new integrated terminal's functioning properly commences.), it has got its own aura. It is both modern and ancient, both young and senile, both heaven and hell. Calcutta is but an amalgamation of all the little things that constitute one big thing called 'LIFE'.