Last night I got a little carried away in reflective mode, and did not end up posting the original thoughts that I had been having about Tulip Time. So, here we go– round two…
JP and I were happy to learn that this year our travel dates coincided with those of the Porulkatchi, or the fair. I was able to go to the fair once a few years back, and I loved it. It was the year that Teresa was living here, and so we went first with Teresa. That year my mom and dad also came to visit and explore India, and we figured the fair was a pretty good way to explore some of the nitty gritty of Indian lifestyle. The fair isn’t typically geared toward foreign guests, and hence is a perfect place to live large with the locals. (Just don’t plan to blend in!!) We have many fond memories from these two prior trips to the fair, and so it was with eagerness that we piled into the Tavera with Tata and Ava and drove the short distance to the Porulkatchi grounds. Leila even got strapped in the Baby Bjorn for this one.
Upon entering the fairgrounds, you go through a large bazaar area where vendors are selling everything from washing machines to jewelry, from dried fruits and nuts to tortilla makers (used to make chapatis). The bazaar area is probably my favorite part of the fair. There is so much to see, and there are so many unique items at great discount prices. Plus, there is this one guy who hands out the most amazing samples of spiced cashew nuts. We definitely bought a packet of those!! Once you make your way through all of the booths, you’ve reach the rides and the fair food, which is JP’s favorite part– the food, that is. 🙂 This is what got me thinking about Tulip Time. It is so fun to see all of the Indian fair food options. At the top of our list of favorites is definitely the Chaat Stall. Chaat comes in many varieties, and is usually a mixture of fresh chopped items like tomatoes, onions, and cilantro mixed with different kind of crunchy savory and spicy items. Some chaats involve broth, some are more like buns with a spicy marinara sauce, some resemble chips and salsa with fresh pico, some are like rice krispies… It is a long and delectable list. Perhaps some day I will be able to write a more helpful chaat entry, but for now, hopefully a few photos will suffice.
After the chaat stall, we headed for the fresh sugar cane juice. Sugar cane juice is sweet and also lime-y. Very refreshing, and it is oh-so-enjoyable to watch the squeezing process.
So many kinds of goodies, just like 8th street and Tulip Time. There were fried rice and noddle booths, cotton candy, spicy versions of our elephant ears, and bhajis, which are deep fried, batter-coated bananas, peppers, potaotes, and the like. Check out our banana bhajis below.
The other thing that always happens when we go to the fair is that it rains just as we begin making our way through the food area, and we have to make a sprint toward home. This year was no different. My photo-taking and eating spree came to a quick close, but it was probably for the best as Leila was ready to head home for a nap. Good times were had at the Porulkatchi this year. If ever you get the chance to to meander through a Porulkatchi yourself, I highly recommend it. And for those of you who enjoy Tulip Time, it just might seem familiar… minus the tulips, of course.