The weekend before last was a delicious one for Tokyo vegetarians. Yoyogi Park's event area was taken over by India, and that meant a congregation of cheap and tasty meat-free meal options. I headed over on Sunday, and before I had reached the park I'd already decided on my first course. Friends that had gone Saturday recommended I try a South Indian meal, including a light and crispy crepe-like bread called dosa.
According to a quick Wiki search, dosa batter is made from ground rice and lentils. For masala dosa, they pour the batter on a griddle, spread it out, and when it's nearly cooked, a mix of potatoes, onions and spices is added. If we can trust Wikipedia, there's an interesting story that goes along with why the mix is placed inside the wrap. Apparently a potato and spice mix used to be served along side the dosa, but during a potato shortage, vendors started mixing in onions to compensate. As orthodox Hindus and Jains aren't supposed to eat onions, vendors placed the mix inside the wrap to conceal the onions. Sneaky!
While I was enjoying my masala dosa, I noticed a lot of people around me eating little crispy egg shaped morsels. I watched a mum crack open a little hole in the top of the ball, spoon something inside, pour sauce over it, and feed the whole thing to her kid. I decided I needed to try some for myself!
The morsel in question turned out to be a sev puri, a popular Indian snack sold by street vendors. What a mix of flavors! Due to the sauces drizzled on top, these guys were sweet, salty and sour. Add that to a crunchy deep fried bread ball. Wow!
We had to take a break from eating with a bit, so we browsed the shopping area, and tried a few glasses of 300¥ a pop Indian wine. Not bad! When we were ready for another nibble, we opted to try aloo tikki. This yummy little potato cutlet disappeared quickly between the four of us, so we had to go back for a second order.
Above are two of my companions for the day. We had such a lovely time! It was nice to have the chance to try a few new Indian dishes. I go for Indian food pretty often, but always order curry and nan. Now that I know what these newly discovered dishes are, I'll happily order them if I see them on a menu.
With the Namaste India Festival behind us, the next Yoyogi Park event I'll be attending is the Tokyo Vege Food Festa on the 15th and 16th. While the reviews I've heard of previous festivals have been mixed, I'm really looking forward to this one. I hope to see lots of you out there!