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Street Food Tour

- Carla Hillekens, ICB member & culture enthusiast

© Carla Hillekens - August 2022 Street Food Walk

Last year, as a newbie in Bangalore, I decided to sign up for the street food tour led by Anita Rao. Food is a great way of getting to know a new culture and I love strolling around in old neighbourhoods. We started with a short visit to Lal Bagh Botanical Garden where there was a flower show in honour of India's 75th Independence Day (August 15, 2022). The show was dedicated to Puneeth Rajkumar, a famous and very popular actor who had died at a young age. It's obvious he was very popular!

As I still needed to get used to the craziness and busyness of India, I was happy the show was not too crowded. I loved to see the beautiful flowers at the show and the colourful clothes people were wearing. Next to the flower show, we also did a small tour of the park riding in a buggy to see some of the amazing old and huge trees like mango and silk cotton trees. And a tree with the shape of an elephant head. Very real and funny! I visited the park another time to give it the attention it deserved.

© Carla Hillekens - Park Eats. August 2022

In the park we tried some Indian food. I liked that Anita explained what everything was and we could try different foods including rice with vegetables, fresh mango, and sweet sticky stuff that I cannot recall the name of.

From the park we walked to Old Market Street, with a small stop on the way at Anita's childhood home. It was so nice to hear some background stories and walk in parts where a newcomer or foreigner normally never goes. We also stopped at a former vegetable market with a stall selling Lord Ganesh statues. Again, so beautiful and colourful.

© Carla Hillekens - Paan (betel leaves)

We arrived at Old Market Street, a street filled with food stalls and lots of people. Anita explained the different kinds of foods, how they are prepared and on which occasions they are eaten. We tried pani puri (small balls filled with sauce), a huge bowl of roti, fresh fruit juice, paan (betel leaves), and many more. As I am not used to eating spicy food it was a challenge to find food I could eat, but I still really enjoyed the tour! We learned a lot about Indian food and culture and met some nice people and I enjoyed taking pictures of all the food and people at the market.

One year later, I still enjoy strolling around local markets, exploring colourful Bangalore and India. But this first trip with ICB was a good one to start!



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