“How much longer?”, I ask the driver.
“Just 15 more minutes, Maddum…few kilometres only”, he says to my reflection in the rear view mirror.We are cruising down State Highway 17, south-west of Bangalore towards Mysore and onwards to our lovely weekend holiday. An early morning start with no breakfast and a bumpy stop-and-go ride within city limits has introduced me to a new malaise, one that I’ve so far been unacquainted with – motion-induced nausea. And it’s not nice. All I want to do is stop, and eat. The driver has lifted my spirits by telling me we’ll soon be stopping at a “famous idlee place” – “Very nice idlees, Saar”, he tells my better half. The thought is comforting and I cannot wait.Almost every Indian highway between two cities has a “famous eatery” on it. The cuisine , ambience and service will depend on the region or state you’re in, but if there’s an excellent , sure-shot way to sample some of the best local cuisine in India, this is it. The towns and cities that these highways connect will of course have their own “famous eateries”, but if you’re on the road and on the move, this is your choice.

So on every road trip in the last few weeks and despite the return of the motion sickness on each of these trips, I urged the driver to bypass the famous coffee-shop chain outlets enroute and head to the “famous idli places” – after all, machine-made coffee and bland sandwiches have nothing on authentic south Indian filter coffee and idlis. And each time I was rewarded for my additional effort to keep the bile in (sorry for that imagery). It wasn’t just the excellent food and coffee…

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating -1

Highway Eating - 1

… it was also the bustling busy men and women who served us, sometimes wearing uniforms that were an interesting mixture of the new and practical and the old and traditional.

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

… and the ambience, made special by its local flavour and quirkiness…

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

But then no India food guide could possibly miss the ubiquitous street vendor, and these highways are no exception.

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

Highway Eating - 1

Each stop a delight for the foodie, for the flâneur, for the photographer. I’ve been a flâneuse and photographer for years – and although I’m not a foodie, I think I could totally become one if I spent the rest of my life cruising down India’s highways. I do not know about the rest of my life but I’m certainly hoping to make a few more road trips and a few more highway food stops here before I return to London. Motion sickness be damned.
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