My first trip to Bangalore in February 2005 was, practically speaking, the reason I started blogging. Somewhere about there the blog, as it became, was a few years away but my first travel blog post was written about that first trip to India.
Now I’m on my way back. Ten years, many miles, many places & many moments on.
Here’s my favorite moment from that first blog post.
Saturday I had my first true taste of Indian food when I had masala dosa (a bready pancake with a spicy filling) at breakfast. Even better than the food was our first rickshaw ride to MG road. Anyone familiar with bumper cars will already know something of the feeling you get riding a rickshaw. These guys don’t mess about, if there is a gap in the traffic they lurch for it regardless of whether it is even on the right side of the road. Buses hassle cars, cars harass rickshaws and rickshaws bully bikes. The result is a jerky, noisy adrenaline filled ride. Fantastic!
I love maps. I love counting the places I’ve been on them. I love looking at the gaps and imaging the trips to those far (and not so far) off places. I love thinking about “where next?”
This interactive map from Wanderlust was pretty easy to complete and is pretty easy on the eyes.
So where to next?
It’s been over a month since the big trip ended. In some ways it feels like normal life has resumed completely and in other ways it does not. The difference will always be different.
I feel calmer and more confident. Less afraid to be wrong.
I feel like I’m going at the pace life intended. I’m not pushing it. I’m not too slow.
I breathe and I look around. I see things.
I want less stuff in my life. Less things. I want more people, more places and more memories.
And I know how to do this now.
No sign. No cloakroom. No fancy servers. A notepad with our name and a nod to a table.
Other foreigners. Some professionals. Tourists. A local family. A film crew? Bourdain’s photo on the wall above us. Was that a drunk politician in the corner? Of course.
We’d all come here, the same, to this quiet place where an old man with a hat and wispy hair makes a handful of fish dishes at a table in the dining room. We’d all come to experience first rate ceviche from the hands of a master. Hands that were appropriately cutting and chopping their way through a flounder as we entered. It was a perfect lunchtime setting.
And apparently it is perfect as only days before our lunch we read that the ceviche at Chez Wong had been voted the tastiest fast food dish in the world by Chowzter. That explains the TV cameras then.
We started with that now famous dish. Ceviche. Famous in Peru. Perfected in Lima. And praised here.
Flounder, octopus, onion, seasoning and a touch of lemon juice.
Fresh. Salty. Firm. Zingy. Spicy.
Rawer and with more bite than I’m used to, the fish and octopus were hardly cured at all. They were unadulterated. Simple.
It’s no fast food I’ve ever encountered before. But it was tasty and it was fast.
Next up was a dish cooked on the wok. Flounder and shrimps. Sweet and nutty. Again the seafood stood out. The sticky peanut sauce was delicious and moreish. A fine dish indeed.
Finally we finished with another wok dish. This time it was soy based and savoury. The inclusion of black wood ear mushroom added an interesting texture and reminded me our of days in Beijing. Again a good dish.
Then we were done.
We left as unceremoniously as we entered. Leaving the politician still drinking in the corner. Chef Wong still cutting as his table. Smiling to himself.
Do I think the ceviche was one of the best dishes in the world? I’m not sure. I am sure that was clean, simple and honest. It tasted great. Chef Wong knows his fish and serves it well. The atmosphere is genuine and happy. I’d certainly come here again and encourage you all to do the same if you get a chance.
Calle Enrique Leon Garcia 114, Lima, Peru
+511 470 6217