India in pictures
Indian Railways Soup9:20 AM
A lot is said about the food served on board Indian trains. And, let's face it, it is not always good. That said, some of the things they serve you on board in some trains is actually good enough. My favourite has to be the tomato soup.
It is by no mean a gourmet soup, don't get me wrong. But it is warm, has a taste that is neither too spicy nor too bland, it comes with a portion of Amul butter and two big crunchy bread sticks. And, they will give you a refill if you ask.
The soup usually comes after they served you a tea time tray of namkeens, sandwiches, sweet and chaat (already quite substantial). An hour or so after the soup service has been done they start with the dinner service. At this point you are usually too full to really mind the fact that the main course is a fairly standard and non original "dal sabzi roti chawal" (lentils, vegetable, bread and rice) or its non-veg avatar of chewy a bit too spicy chicken, dal, rice and roti.
Each time we take the train and are served food, I wonder if what makes the soup so much tastier than the main course is the fact that it is more "train friendly" than all the other food stuff. After all, you can hold the cup in your hands and sip at will and the potential for mess is quite low.
The main course is always awkward to eat. It's a full Indian meal with food soaking in gravies put on a tray you end up trying to balance on your lap on a moving train. If you put the tray on the berth the potential for spills is huge. If you are on a night train it means you'll be sleeping in your own food spills...not good. On our last train ride earlier this year I ended up silently thanking the inventor of baby wipes because we got a "dal tsunami" a "Dahi disaster" and a "Pickle packet explosion", something that judging by the look of the floor all across the train is not an isolated incident.