Every chance I get, I use. After locating my ride at Vadodara the first question I put to him was where I could get some good ‘snacky’ Gujju breakfast! He knew just the place. We went to Payal Farsan Mart from where I got packed a bite of quite a few things – very like the proverbial kid in the toy store I was. Masala dhokla, a redder version of the above, was not even my favourite! That would have to be the crispy methi na gota: deep fried spiced besan + whole wheat flour batter with just the hint of bitterness from methi leaves. How they get the gota to be spongy-soft has got to be a skill, for I saw no holey signs of baking soda. There was khandvi which I had to try, naturally (mine’s better 😉 ). Pattis – a different kind this time. These were stuffed with a mixture of grated fresh coconut, ground peanuts, coriander, and sesame, with the thinnest outer layer of cooked mashed potatoes. These are much in demand by ladies who are observing a fast, all ingredients being kosher – permitted as fasting foods! I also tried their house-special makai ni bakarwadi – which was a very delicious version of the common bakarwadi. A very rewarding breakfast; absolutely worth the wait.
Everything was packed charmingly – wrapped first in a square of grease proof paper, then in newspaper (pink coloured Gujarati newspaper!), and tied with string. Weren’t we just talking about newsprint as wrapping paper?
I highly recommend a visit to Payal if you are in Vadodara. No pictures of the delicious food, I’m afraid. I was hesitant to whip out the camera and shock the man; I was supposed to be there for work. Serious work. Like streambank stabilization. I would be telling engineers and contractors at the site a thing or two. I would also face my first public participation meeting before the gramsabha later that day.
After a lousy lunch I refused to eat dinner in the hotel’s restaurant that, for whatever insane reason, does not serve Gujarati food. They, naturally, serve Mughlai and Chinese. After drinks (yeah yeah, it’s a dry state), we all went to Tapi (I think that was the name of the dhaba) for a taste of food from Saurashtra. They have an AC section! The food was okay, but the company and the rotlas were first rate.
While Payal was closed next morning, I found Surti, near the airport, that had barely opened its shutters. There was some time before the pattis, gotas, and other fried items would start coming out of their hot karahis. They only had dhokla ready which I gladly got a parcel of (very greasy though). I grabbed some thepla with pickle, and bakarwadi to bring home a taste of Gujarat.
Payal Farsan Mart
2 B N Chamber
R C Dutt Road
Opposite Welcome Hotel
Alkapuri, Vadodara 390005