My Favorite Meal in India

There is no story to this entry. I did not impersonate a doctor, speak to classrooms of children, get my life threatened by a crazy man, bribe a police officer, get taken to a gay bar by transsexuals, go looking for a legendary stripper with expats, buy $12 pistachios and fight with a whore over them, see an exciting new style of toilet, get wrapped up in red tape, ride a train, or even make any new friends.

But I did have the best meal I’ve eaten in India for lunch today at a place called A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi in Mumbai. I left feeling like I could die happy. It was 85 rupees, which is $1.67. It’s all you can eat. Best part other than the killer food? The plate is a banana leaf.

This one goes out to the people that like food entries. Big ups Dru Down, Jumpin’ Jim Crow at Harvard, and E. J. Wiaky.

It went like this:

Go past the cows near Matunga station. Not Matunga Road, but plain Matunga. Give a nod; they made your curd.
Thanks for curd, ma'am.

You go to the end of this alley. You’re not going to find it, so have a local with you. The stairs up to the restaurant are past the guy in the blue shirt at the end of the alley:
A. Rama Nayak's Udipi Restaurant, Mumbai.
(Side note: Does anyone else thing the guy at the bottom right of the above picture looks like an Indian Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters?)

Up the stairs:
Go up the stairs.

Squeeze through the big line of people waiting to get in:
Squeeze the people.

Your plate and place mat in one will be this banana leaf:
My Favorite Lunch in India

Food guy comes and brings food. He’ll be back as many times as you need.
Food guy serves food.

It’s like this once he’s done. From left to right, that’s a spicy fresh pickle curry, bean curry with coconut, something called “aviyal,” and potato & peas curry. Curd guy also brought curd.
My Favorite Lunch in India

Bread guy serves bread.Then bread guy comes and brings bread. There’s papadom on the left and chapati on the right. Papadom is a crunchy, fried, rice-based South Indian wafer and chapati is your standard Indian wheat bread.

My Favorite Lunch in India

Then you get a desert. Shirkhand on the left, which is an awesome sweet dish made of strained yogurt, and sweet mysore pudding on the right. You can get mango juice, too, which is in the middle and basically the best thing ever.
My Favorite Lunch in India

Rice guy will also come if you’d like. You’re eating all this with your hands, so go for the glory:
Eat the rice with your fingers.

And here it is all laid out and labeled. Click the image to see the easier to read full-sized version.
Best Lunch in India Key

Indian Buffet near Lafayette Square Mall in Indianapolis, you know I love you, but you just got served.

14 Responses to “My Favorite Meal in India”

  1. benjion 26 Mar 2009 at 10:04 am

    How come there’s no chicken curry or chicken masala? Unless I’m mistaken this seems to be a meat-free meal…is that common?

  2. nathanon 26 Mar 2009 at 10:10 am

    Quite common, actually. Being a vegetarian in India would be a (meat free!) piece of cake. Restaurants often say on the outside if they’re vegetarian. Menus are almost always divided up into “veg” and “non-veg” sections with plenty of vegetarian options. Tofu abounds. Plenty of delicious chicken masala, too, of course.

  3. Emilyon 26 Mar 2009 at 5:53 pm

    you watch OUT for that mango juice, son. seriously. i don’t trust it.

  4. Bradon 26 Mar 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Loving th blog o far buddy…nice to be back in touch!

    Check out ours…you and another friend prompted us to finally get one going!


  5. Amyon 26 Mar 2009 at 11:29 pm


  6. danon 27 Mar 2009 at 12:41 pm

    dangggggggggggg that looks good.

  7. Bobon 28 Mar 2009 at 9:44 am

    Looks yummy! Just like home cooking, in fact we had the same thing last night, but without the banana leaf.
    Happy Birthday, birthday boy! You probably didn’t find a cake and candles, but hope you enjoyed it all the same!


  8. Jocelynon 28 Mar 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Things That Make Me Extremely Jealous (and drooling), Chapter 6.

    Have you had badam milk yet, or dahi puri? Or Bombay sandwiches, with all the layers and beets and potatoes and questionable processed cheese? Or vada pav? Take the train downtown to Churchgate, cross the Oval Maidan (maybe stop for some pickup cricket), and walk down in the direction of the Supreme Court in Fort. There’s a tree with a Sai Baba mini-shrine, and the best vada pav-wallah around right next to it. Talk about prime real estate. Wash it down with sugar cane juice, there are numerous vendors on the way back to Churchgate.

    Have you met my friend Akshay yet? Ask him to talk to you the Parsi apple pie shop. Things You Won’t Regret, Chapter 8. :-)

  9. stileson 29 Mar 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Humph. Needs meat.

  10. nanfanon 03 Apr 2009 at 10:44 pm

    wow – that cow looks seriously skinny

  11. Kaushal Karkhanison 27 Apr 2009 at 8:14 am

    Dude, very well documented! :) I’d have taken you here if you didn’t already… glad you did go tho!

    Following the rest of your travels thru this blog… do keep the awesome updates coming. Cheers!

  12. satish rama nayakon 16 May 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Mr Nathan, good to hear such High comments on simple but nutricious square meal,
    next time when you are in Mumbai please call me a day before I will personally be there,
    what a way to express.
    being the son of the Founder (intoducer of ‘UDIPI’ food to people,) feels is this the same resturant where I eat daily,
    awaitng your arrival next time
    satish Rama Nayak

  13. Madhhavon 20 May 2009 at 12:02 am

    Illustrious and informative. Have been to the place so many times but this one takes the cake.

    The owner Mr. Satish is there almost on all days- difficult to miss him at his commanders seat orchestrating the smooth flow of one and all.

  14. Ravindranath R Gadiyaron 06 Apr 2011 at 11:32 am

    Nathan Sir,

    We as Mumbaikar and hard core Matungait we are really proud that even today the same food is served with lot of love and affection by the owner. Dr Bhavin Jankharia who writes regular columns in Mumbai Mirror on Saturdays appreciated the new concept of IDLI HOUSE based in Matunga itself and owned by Shri Satish Rama Nayak.

    I feel the “Lunch Paradise” runs on Customers Blessings and to add a bit of Pure Butter… the writings done by you. Honestly I feel blessed the day i have my lunch this place. May the Almighty shower petals on A Rama Nayaks family to serve the customers who come from long long way with a rich feeling in heart to eat at this place called Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding … where Krishna’s come to visit Sudama.

    Long lived the Emperor ( A Rama Nayak ) Long live the King ( Satish Rama Nayak ) Blessed are the Heirs ( Sashant / Srikant Satish Nayak )

    Ravindranath R Gadiyar ( Sion ) Mumbai

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