Before our big trip travelling around India our first stop was in Vagator for 1 week at a great hostel called ‘The Jungle’. They do dorm rooms for a cheap price and private rooms for a few rupees extra, it’s a lively place to stay thriving with travellers from all over the world. You can grab some boiled eggs, bananas & tea in the morning for free before heading out for the day. I also got a yummy peanut butter GF cookie from their coffee shop and cooked some decent meals in the communal kitchen which has a fridge, gas stove and cooking utensils. We picked up some essentials like veg, spices, rice & lentils from Mapusa market for our home cooking.
My first experience eating out was amazing, went to a French restaurant on the beach called ‘La Plage’ that a friend had recommended. It’s in between Vagator and Arambol, on Ashvem beach. I used my gluten free Hindi card to explain my dietary requirements (thanks to celiactravel.com) and the waiter kindly confirmed the green risotto I’d chosen was GF. It was delicious, I’ve honestly never had a better risotto and eating on the beach by palm trees was a luxury.
The next place I ate out was just round the corner from our hostel in Vagator, it’s a vegan restaurant called ‘Bean Me Up’ and it was so good that I had to go again the next day for lunch. The menu offers a wide range of fresh juices, smoothies and the fermented drink Kombucha which is full of health benefits. It also mentions celiacs in the menu so I was instantly reassured that I was in the right place! Pictured below is a GF vegan pizza made with ragi flour (millet) which is high in protein and a great GF alternative. There’s also a green smoothie and a tempah, tofu & veg stir fry with brown rice. It was delicious (and all less than £10 believe it or not). The staff were great and the vibe of the place is super chilled with a good awareness of nutrition and sustainability.
There’s loads of fruit & veg stalls in the street where you can pick up things to make your own food too and the good thing I’ve found so far in India is that if I’m ever stuck I know I can always get a bowl of plain rice or a handful of bananas/pomegranates/mangoes so shouldn’t ever be without something to eat.
We’ve just taken 1 taxi, 1 bus, 3 tuk-tuks, 1 train, and 1 boat to get to Hampi from Vagator so watch this space! (Although I currently can’t eat a thing as I’ve picked up travel sickness, most likely from tap water ice cubes or just generally an adjustment to new climate. Fingers crossed I get to eat lots of GF treats soon!)