Yumdude is my handle / user name on Zomato.
For the uninitiated, Zomato is a leading food ordering, restaurant search and review app in India. They are present in other countries too.
For the ones, who are not aware of Indian mythology, Yama is God of Death and Doot means messenger. Yamdoot is Yama's Messenger and my handle is a play on that. I thought I was being original and relevant while keeping this name. But, to my disappointment, much later, after I made this handle, I discovered a T - Shirts brand called Yum Dude and Snapdeal did a campaign with a character called Yam Dude. Huh! One can never be sure in today's world. And I think being original is going to be increasingly difficult.
If I haven't lost you already, let me tell you that this post is not about originality or Zomato handles. I am a foodie and I wanted to document my love for food in some way. I have done almost 100 restaurant reviews under this handle and I feel my journey has just begun.
They say a Punjabi's adventure gets over at the last Sher-e-Punjab Dhabha on his journey. I don't know if that is true, because I enjoy all kind of cuisines. When I eat somewhere, I don't add ketchup or salt / pepper to what is served. I love to eat food the way the cook wants it to be eaten. I had heard somewhere, this is a respectful thing to do for your host or chef. Over the years, due to this habit of mine, I developed a taste for different cuisines. Yes, some foods are still off the table, like pungent smelling foods. I won't ever have reptiles and insects. I will never fall for the fad of eating live food. But I mostly try everything otherwise.
I can't name my favorite food, but I have a weakness for sweets. I remember every time my school results would come, I would ask my mother to buy a Bengali sweet called Chena Murki (made with Sugar & Cottage Cheese). So this sweet reminds me of success.
Whenever I smell, a mixture of flour, ghee and sugar being roasted, I get reminded of my grand-mother, who used to prepare delicious Pinnis. No one can cook Makki ki Roti and Sarson Ka Saag better than my mother. I think every proud Punjabi son thinks the same about his mother. But the memory associated with this food is so strong, that every time I go home, I know my mother will cook it for me. And I think I get a dopamine hit in anticipation, before I even reach home.
While I enjoy all my fine dining experiences, if I have to choose my best food moments, they are not related to a very costly restaurant or any complex dish. Chena Murki, Pinnis and Makki ki Roti with Saag will be at the top always. And there are few places / food moments which are etched in my memory very strongly.
Once during our school vacations, my father took us to a trip to Kullu and Manali. A long stretch of the journey was along the river Beas. Beas had gushing ice cold water. We sat at one such spot and got some mangoes chilled in that water and then we ate them by the side of the road on the banks of the river.
On yet another trip to Manikaran Sahib, we had a breakfast of hot stuffed parathas with butter and really sweet tea at a road side dhabha. Cheap, yes. But at that time, it was the most heavenly food.
There was a shop near my home that served Chhole Bhature. I used to go there often, but my favorite part was when the cook used to keep two fresh pieces of paneer on the plate. That was like a reward for eating there.
I discovered cheesecake very late in life. I was on my honeymoon, and we were shopping in Kuala Lumpur and we saw a cheescake shop. I had never tried it before. And when, I had the first bite, I knew Chena Murki and Pinni had a strong competition. After that I tried cheesecakes everywhere. But I got my best experience at the Cheesecake Factory Dubai Mall. This is what I had there. If food can kill, this is the way I would like to die. Tell me your food story.