A welcome basket of apples awaited us in our room that we could not eat under any condition. While my husband was at work, I took an apple, washed it, rubbed it dry with a towel and ate it. No ill effects, no running to the bathroom, nothing. I thought it was a touch overripe, but that could have been because I waited so long to eat it.
Often we saw names of familiar foods only to discover they were an Indian variation. Pizza came with a paper-thin crust often with lamb, onions, feta cheese and a vinegary sauce. Unexpected when we expected a soft crust, tomato paste base, but welcome all the same. Food labels were different too.
Rolls in the delightful Khan Chacha eatery were more like wraps. Prawns served as another name for shrimp, a large, firm variety. Most of the foods we were able to figure out without too much trouble, but some were new to us.
On Thanksgiving, we found ourselves in Agra where we stopped into a family-owned eatery. The restaurant eating experience was different too. We dined with two Indian friends and there was much discussion on what we would eat. Each dish would be shared among the four of us family-style. It was important to take in consideration the one vegetarian. The dishes arrived in bowls with rich curry sauce or gravy. Flat Naan bread allowed each diner to scoop up the gravy.
Vegetables comprise the majority of Indian diet and they show up in amazing places. For dessert, I had a bell pepper pudding that was both sweet and custardy while retaining the flavor of the pepper. At times, the food can be very hot. The green Dal dip served at an Indian restaurant demonstrated this phenomenon very well. Two bottles of water later, I still felt the fire.
On my search for the familiar, I came up short on the Diet Coke hunt. I located a few bottles in a local convenience store, which were flat and unappetizing, definitely past their due date. Pepsi rules in India, but it is a less carbonated version. The better bet is the sparkling water.
On the way home, we encountered a sick woman in the airport. I handed her my never opened bottle of Tums. The only problem we had with eating in India was deciding what to try.