Once again there is not too much tourism-wise to be seen here but from a culinary perspective this place is heaven. Mangalore is one of the main southern port cities on the Indian west coast on the Arabian Sea. It is a seaside city and is far from the dirt and filth of the north and as such the waters are clean and the seafood is good. It is one of the few places where non-vegetarian is common and the options available for us carnivores are spectacular.
It is still incredibly hot with mid 30’s temperatures daily but we are in a nice air conditioned room and we can time our excursions to miss the heat of the day. Rajasthan in the north was full of tourist sites like palaces and forts etc however the south seems to be more of an unspoiled natural place. The skies are clearer, the air is beautifully breathable, the water is cleaner, the streets are neat and everything just seems better…except there is nothing really touristy to see.
Our first foray into the food of mangalore was the Lalith bar and restaurant where we had a great lunch of pomfret (a local fish) and a ghee roast chicken. I am not exactly sure that this fits within my post heart attack diet but it was magnificent.
We got back to our hotel where we have a restaurant that specialises in Kebabs. It is essentially a buffet however in addition, each table has a hole in the centre which they fill with a square box filled with coals upon which all sorts of goodies are placed and grilled. Needless to say I picked the non-veg option and we feasted upon prawns, mutton, fish, chicken…all washed down with kingfisher beer. The buffet had a range of options to be grazed upon and the meat on a stick man kept turning up asking which go the above list we wanted more of. While I am a huge thali fan… I remain a carnivore and charred meat on a stick is the best.
Another restaurant that we have in our hotel is the seafood one. This serves a lunchtime thali we discussed this and Jill chose the crab and I chose the prawn thali and we were to share. Until….We found something better…We headed to the Gajalee seafood restaurant high on the hill in mangalore. It is safe to say that by Indian standards that this place is expensive. By Australian standards however…our first point of order, after swilling half of an incredibly cold beer (did I mention it is hot here), was to head to the row boat at the front of the restaurant to choose which of the live crabs that we intended to eat. I asked the type of crab and was told it was a rock crab however it looked like one of Australia’s best muddies.
Crab chosen it was down to examining the menu proper. I must mention the crab was not compulsory…but it was for us. You could order any type of meat, fish or veg dish that you would like. We chose the garlic/pepper crab and accompanied it with chilli prawns with some naan and a roti and we were in bliss. To date mangalore has had the best range and quality of food since hitting India. Each region has its specialty but mangalore seems to do it all.