A Week of Indian Food: Day 1 – Chai

There is just no way that I could fit the massive quantities of food that T-bone and I consumed in India into a single post. Your screens would explode and splatter your walls with calories. Instead, I’m going to do a brief post every day for a week, with each day covering a unique food group. It’s just gotta be done.

*Warning: This is in no way a definitive guide to Indian food. It’s just a selection of what I actually captured on film + our particular food fetishes.

Starting off with…chai! Chai is foundational to the Indian diet, and the average person drinks something like ten thousand cups a day. Basically, chai is a combination of tea, milk, and spices (may included cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, etc) cooked together until it boils.

Gettin' a little possessive of his chai

Gettin’ a little possessive of his chai

Oh, and let’s not forget the sugar. Similar to their regional buddies in Thailand, Indians like sweeeet drinks. If you want to have a proper cup of chai, add sugar to the milk/tea mixture until it is totally saturated. When the sugar stops dissolving, you know it’s ready to drink.

Often, the cheaper the chai, the more sugar it contains. Train chai is particularly sweet. At only 5 rupees (10 cents) per cup, you can really give yourself some cavities. It’s lucky that the cups are so small. The best part about train chai is the chai wallahs that serve it (“wallah” roughly translated means someone who performs a particular task. ie: chai seller). You can hear them before you see them. They chant “chaiiiii-yuh, chaiiiiii-yuh” in a voice that is impossible to replicate, but is totally unmistakable. New chai wallahs must receive special training, because they all sound exactly the same.


Not impressed with this train’s chai, or its wallah

The more expensive chai served at guesthouses is often unsweetened, and comes accompanied with a sugar bowl, thus allowing unaccustomed westerners to sweeten their own brew.


Chai was a huge blessing on our trip. Whenever we (ie: I) started feeling overwhelmed, we’d stop for a chai break. Sometimes chai breaks happened 10 or 15 times a day. You do what you gotta do.

And T-bone clearly needs a break.

And T-bone clearly needs a break.

And now we’re suffering from chai withdrawal. Suddenly having a caffeine/sugar IV drip removed from your body is a rude shock. Good thing there are 5 iced coffee vendors on our street.

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