One of the exciting things about living abroad was my exposure to new foods with unfamiliar tastes and textures. My taste buds were put on high alert as I repeatedly tried to discern the composition of the foods that I tasted. Frequently, the ingredients could not be determined. This was especially true when it came to the mystery cookies that were sometimes served as an afternoon snack on the school’s campus. Even my fellow Indian colleagues were unable to identify the savory element. The monkeys shied away too. Instead, they scampered into the teachers’ lounge to forage on homemade pizza and sweet snacks.
I have always been a lover of baked goods, but many of the Indian desserts took sweetness to a new level. Most of the cakes served on campus and elsewhere were coated with sugary syrup that oozed completely through and was sticky to the touch. Until tasting these items, it was rare for me to say “no” to any dessert.
My desire to avoid foods that mixed dairy products with meat coupled with my wish to avoid foods that were either fried or overly saturated with fat prevented me from trying a whole category of Indian food. I did eat trafe (non kosher foods) and was not averse to eating spicy foods even though most waiters questioned whether Americans can tolerate spicy food. Far too often I was asked, “Are you sure?”
After repeated bouts of diarrhea, my adventuresome spirit was put on hold. I tended to gravitate back to familiar western foods and cooked foods. Within walking distance of Josh’s Bangalore apartment was UB City, an upscale shopping mall with European and American style dining. I frequently visited three notable restaurants in this area- Café Noir, Toscano and Sunny’s.
Sunday mornings were spent enjoying a leisurely breakfast at Café Noir’s outside seating area (on the second floor on U.B. City) followed by my weekly purchase of baked bread and French desserts. I rationed this small goody bag of treats for the remainder of the week. Whenever I chose not to travel to Josh’s apartment for the weekend, I missed these tasty treats.
My desire for Italian food was satisfied by visiting Toscano, either in U.B. City or at their location closer to the school campus in Whitefield. Their pizza was the best I found in Bangalore. Although different in composition, it was on par with Flavors a restaurant located New Delhi’s Defense Colony. I did not always rely on old time favorites such as pizza. Toscano’s extensive menu provided a wide assortment of other foods. I especially enjoyed the red snapper.
When I felt like deviating from an Italian menu, I would dine at Sunny’s located at 34, Vittal Mallya Rd . This upscale restaurant was less than a block from U.B. City. Here I could partake in a wider continental menu that included sandwiches, burgers, fish, poultry, and meat entrees. The dessert and imported cheese selection was housed in a glass enclosed refrigerated case. This was another source for special treats.
If I did not indulge in dessert at one of the restaurants, I sometimes stopped at Natural’s (St. Marks Road) on my way back to Josh’s apartment. This air conditioned ice cream store provided a respite from the heat and allowed me to taste unusual flavors such as fig and honey and tender coconut to complement the standard flavors. I would have to walk quickly back to the apartment before my ice cream would melt.
Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.