Are 24 hours enough to explore this foodie’s paradise? If you travel to eat, it is.
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After a cosy and quiet stay in Rakkar, a sleepy village in Dharamshala, we landed in the touristy town of McLeodganj on a rainy afternoon. Stomachs growling, all we wanted to do was soak in the mountain rains with some warm food.

A sudden craving for momos took us to Tibet Kitchen on Jogiwara Road. A plate of steaming hot chicken momos (Rs. 150 for 8 momos) and a bowl of Tibetan chicken noodle soup or thenthuk (Rs. 120) got us back on our feet. While the light drizzle continued, we started walking towards our homestay.

The food scene in McLeodganj and adjoining towns of Dharamkot and Bhagsu Nag is bustling with cafes and home kitchens ready to serve anything and everything. Tibetan, Italian, Indian-Chinese, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Mediterranean, Israeli or Punjabi – you name it and McLeodganj has it. Are 24 hours enough to explore this foodie’s paradise? If you travel to eat, it is.

Still drizzling, when we stepped out of our homestay looking for coffee, the main square of McLeodganj was full of life. After buying some souvenirs, we headed to Illiterati, highly recommended by tourists and travel blogs for its lovely collection of books and a view to die-for. Some hot chocolate (Rs. 100) and a comic book in hand, we stayed put until it stopped raining.

Our next stop was Zomsa Laundromat Café for a quick snack. Situated on the busy Tipa Road, a flight of stairs took us to a café with a laundromat where foreign tourists did their laundry. Amused, we walked in and found a table in the balcony overlooking the square. While the attendant got us the menu card, we found men at the open kitchen preparing rolls with a mysterious filling. A look closer and a chat later, we ordered two spinach rolls (Rs. 90) – greens tossed with onions, garlic and some spices – something we had never tasted before and delicious to say the least. Tempted to go for another one, we instead ordered a plate of chicken noodles (Rs. 130). By no means we were leaving the Tibetan town without eating the spicy, greasy delight with the ubiquitous Schezwan chutney!

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Poetry Café - We did not step into this quaint place, but could not resist taking a picture

Making plans of retiring to the Himalayas someday, we then walked into an exhibition hosted by a Spanish artist campaigning for ‘Free Tibet’ at a local school. With a heavy heart, we came out to find the sky had opened up again. Having planned a trek to the nearby Triund range the next morning, we decided to call it a night by having an early dinner.

When we reached Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen on Jogiwara Road, it was 8:30 pm. We straightaway ordered for the Roast Chicken Pizza (Rs. 250) and Baked Potatoes with Bacon and Cheddar (Rs. 220). The latter was surprisingly excellent, whereas the pizza was just about okay. We called it a night with a Yak Cheese Slice (Rs. 70) from Tibet Quality Bakery on our way back.

When we woke up the next morning, the skies had cleared. All packed up, we headed towards Bhagsu Nag for an Israeli breakfast. After all we were in Jew town. We chose German Bakery for nostalgia sake as it was one of our favourite breakfast joints in Pune. Eggs, a cucumber and tomato salad, labneh (a tangy, strained yoghurt) and in-house bread (approx. Rs. 180) made for a memorable breakfast. We headed out with some oven-fresh cakes for our trek to Triund.

Addresses:
German Bakery: Bhagsu Nag Road, Dharamshala
Tibet Kitchen: Jogiwara Road, House no. 1, McLeodganj Main Square
Illiterati: Jogibara Road, Dharamshala
Zomsa Laundromat Café: Tipa Road, Opp Zomsa Restaurant, McLeodganj
Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen: Jogiwara Road, McLeodganj
Tibet Quality Bakery: Jogiwara Road, next to Post Office, McLeodganj

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Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
PC: Priyamvada Kowshik, Rituparna Roy, Instagram Rashmi_Nathan and Vipul_XDA

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