From Punjab’s Thalis To Kerala’s Toddy, Here’s What Anthony Bourdain Tried While Travelling In India

Discover his adventures through diverse cuisines and memorable dining experiences.

by Mallika Khurana
From Punjab’s Thalis To Kerala’s Toddy, Here’s What Anthony Bourdain Tried While Travelling In India

Anthony Bourdain, renowned for his adventurous spirit and love for exploring global cuisines, left an indelible mark on the culinary world. A celebrated chef and storyteller, he gained fame through his TV shows like “Parts Unknown” and “No Reservations,” where he immersed himself in the local food scenes of various countries. Bourdain wasn’t just about food; he used meals as a lens to understand cultures, politics, and history, making his travel shows both enlightening and mouthwatering for foodies and fans alike. His journey through India, a land teeming with diversity and rich food traditions, showcased his deep appreciation for local flavours and cultural nuances.

Anthony Bourdain’s Experiences In India

Crab masala
Photo Credits: Canva

India captivated Bourdain with its vast culinary tapestry, from the fragrant spices of Kerala to the robust flavours of Punjab and the bustling streets of Mumbai and Kolkata. His travels were more than just culinary adventures; they were cultural explorations woven into the fabric of each region he visited.

In Kerala, Bourdain delved into the coastal state’s distinctive cuisine, shaped by its tropical climate and abundant seafood. At a toddy shop, he sampled toddy—a fermented palm sap popular among locals. Alongside this unique beverage, Bourdain enjoyed fish head curry, pearl spot fish, crab masala, and puttu.

Known for its intellectual and cultural heritage, Kolkata offered Bourdain a glimpse into its vibrant street food culture. He immersed himself in the city’s bustling markets and iconic eateries, where he savoured puri aloo bhaji and masala muri.

Bourdain’s visit to Mumbai, India’s financial capital, was a culinary adventure through its diverse neighbourhoods and iconic street food hubs. At Bhendi Bazaar, an area known for its bustling markets, he explored kebabs, baida roti and falooda.

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Here’s All That He Tasted

Photo Credits: Canva

In Punjab, Bourdain explored the heartland of India’s agricultural and culinary traditions, starting with Amritsar, home to the iconic Golden Temple. His culinary adventures in Punjab included Punjabi thali at Kesar da Dhaba, showcasing the region’s robust flavours and generous hospitality.

He also enjoyed delicacies at Beera Chicken House, known for its tandoori specialities. Bourdain indulged in tandoori baked chicken and keema naan here. His visit to Punjab wasn’t just about food; it included witnessing the Wagah border ceremony and understanding the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Bourdain’s exploration of Rajasthan took him through the princely states of Udaipur and Jaisalmer. Here, he sampled the regal cuisine and experienced the desert landscapes. Highlights of his Rajasthan journey include bhang lassi in Jaisalmer. He also enjoyed Rajasthani thali at various local eateries and roadside stops.

Anthony Bourdain’s exploration of India was not just about food. It was also a journey into the heart and soul of a country rich in history, culture, and culinary diversity. His adventures across Kerala, Kolkata, Mumbai, Punjab, and Rajasthan certainly highlighted the regional nuances of Indian cuisine. They also celebrated the warmth and hospitality of its people. 

Bourdain’s legacy continues to inspire food enthusiasts and travellers to explore India’s culinary landscape.

Cover Image Courtesy: Anthony Bourdain/Instagram