Expat food guide for Bangalore

Bangalore has a wide range of eating options, from simple establishments serving local cuisine to speciality restaurants featuring international fare. You can eat a whole meal for as little as Rs. 50, or an appetizer for as much as Rs. 1000. Much depends on what you are looking for, but Bangalore has something to offer every palate.

Surprisingly, the hardest thing to find (in all its range and subtleties) is local Kannadiga cuisine, simply because most restaurants serve a limited range of dishes. You are more likely to come across some of the finer local dishes at someone’s home than you are in a restaurant. What is easily available, however, is the traditional South Indian breakfast, served at many eateries across the city. Dosas (savoury pancakes made of rice and lentil flour), idlis (steamed rice cakes), vadas (savoury doughnuts) and upma (a spicy semolina dish) make for a quintessentially Bangalorean breakfast.

Also readily available are ‘Thali Meals’ which are lunchtime meal platters intended as a hearty working lunch, containing a range of curries, rice and vegetables. Mango rice, tamarind rice and lemon rice may form part of the offering.

There are also many options for trying out cuisines from other parts of India, from Andhra Pradesh to Bengal and of course, the ubiquitous Punjabi food. Keep in mind that the Indian palate is much more used to spicy food, and most dishes tend to be piquant, so venture slowly at first!

In general, street food should be avoided in Bangalore because of the health and sanitary risks involved. Look instead for clean restaurants with a high turnover of clientele, or go by recommendations, as it’s often hard to tell the quality of food as an outsider.

In terms of international cuisine, there are a slew of new restaurants in Bangalore offering South-east Asian, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, Japanese and mixed Continental fare. Most of the better (five stars) hotels in the city have more than one restaurant offering international and Indian fare as well.

The marketplaces have a staggering variety of tropical vegetables and fruits, so for those who like to experiment with cooking, there are a lot of discoveries to be made, and many new supermarket chains and larger grocery stores have a good stock of more ‘international’ vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus and broccoli and a small range of cheeses and bread.

All in all, there is enough culinary variety in Bangalore to sustain and entertain most tastes.