Voracious in Vizag | Nat Geo Traveller India


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

As the Bay of Bengal swallows the sun whole, Vizag’s streets are ignited by lampposts and the buzzing MVP Colony gears up for a flamboyant show. The magicians, clad in simple checkered shirts and jeans, draw a ravenous audience that gather to witness a beguiling act. Except, the stage is replaced with a giant iron griddle and the wand with a ladle. The oil hisses and the batter sizzles upon contact with the hot surface. Chopped onions garnish the dosa, and a minute later, the crisp delish is up for grabs.

I patiently await my turn for a taste of the regional grub. My guide exchanges a quick word with the food vendor in Telugu and returns with a plate of aviri kudumu. The urad dal idli—served with piquant peanut and coconut chutneys—resembles a dosa in appearance, but is much fluffier in texture. I tear away one bite after another and they melt like butter in my mouth. If first impressions are telling, then Visakhapatnam’s street food scene knows how to score brownie points.

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Come evening, food trucks and stalls ubiquitously pop up in every corner of the city’s centre. Bikers and pedestrians, locals and tourists swarm the stores that dish up crowd favourites: heaps of Mysore bonda, momos, biryani, keema dosa, and “Indianised” versions of Chinese noodles and fried rice. The scene unfolds almost identically every day.

A woman at a tube light-illuminated stall is busy marinating meat pieces with a vermillion spice rub, which with a little help from my guide, I learn, is made of ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, salt, pepper, egg and a secret masala powder. She then skilfully pokes the chicken and chicken liver chunks with bamboo stick skewers and roasts them over a bed of coal. The embers spark like fireworks as she rotates the kebabs on all sides, until evenly cooked, and then goes on to top them with a generous squeeze of lime.

 

Read the complete feature in the print edition of National Geographic Traveller India May-June 2022. Get your copy here.

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