Highway On My Podcast
About this podcast
The creators of the much-loved TV travel show -- Highway On My Plate -- revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur's travel, sign up for the HOMP newsletter: http://bit.ly/HOMPnewsletter See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
About this podcast
The creators of the much-loved TV travel show -- Highway On My Plate -- revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur's travel, sign up for the HOMP newsletter: http://bit.ly/HOMPnewsletter See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Highway On My Podcast
Ep 29: Of ancient festivals, snow-capped mountains, and medieval shipyards
Has the coronavirus pandemic disrupted your plan to take that long trip? Is the ongoing lockdown making you crave going off-road? Fret not. If you can’t go to the highway, Rocky, Mayur, Prashant, and Abhinandan — the team behind shows like Highway On My Plate, Vital Stats of India, Jai Hind, and Rocky and Mayur's Food Xpress — will bring the highway to you! So, here goes the newest offering from Newslaundry: Highway On My Podcast. The creators of the much loved TV travel show revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and — for when the roads are open and inviting again — recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more. In this special episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Abhinandan, Mayur, and Prashant take a trip down memory lane, and recount some of their favourite experiences together in the past years. The team recounts their memories of witnessing Onam at the ancient Thrikkakara Temple in Kochi, Kerala. While the festival is celebrated by people of all religious backgrounds — both devout and otherwise — no one wants to kill anyone, which according to Mayur truly showcases India at its secular best. From costumed elephants and quarrelsome bulls to a never ending feast, the port city does not disappoint the discerning travellers. The panel also reminisces the magical interconnectedness between the Himalayan town of Darjeeling and Mount Kanchenjunga, visible through every window frame, doorway, and verandah. Although they missed a ride on the iconic toy train, they did visit some of the town’s most celebrated eateries, including Glenary’s Bakery and Pub and the original Keventer’s which serves what is arguably India’s best continental breakfast. Later in the episode, the gang remembers their trip to Mandvi, a small but historic town in Kutch, Gujarat. Mandvi is home to India’s most exclusive and most talented dabeliwala, the now-late Gababhai. Talk of the quaint, medieval shipyard in the beach town evokes in Rocky and Mayur memories of the time they replicated the iconic ‘king of the world’ move from the movie Titanic. And since any journey across India is as rich a gastronomical tour, the group also recalls some of their favourite meals together, including the royal wazwan in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pahalgam, the theatrically-prepared chaat at Indore’s legendary Sarafa Bazar, and in Nagpur and Tezpur, chillies hot enough to make your life flash before your eyes. All this and more, only in this week’s episode of Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 28: On Pol Sambol, being superheroes in Sri Lanka, and spotting elephants in the wild
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky , Mayur and Abhinandan fly off to their first international destination for the show, Sri Lanka. During the first leg of their Sri Lanka tour, the men discuss their visits to Habarana, Sigiriya and Minneriya. Rocky sets the conversation going with the socio linguistic relevance of “bada bhai” (big brother) and “chhota bhai” (younger brother) with reference to Sri Lanka. Delving into what he thinks the essence of Sri Lanka is, Mayur talks about the spices, beaches, Buddhist culture, plenty of green cover, and the generosity and courteousness of people. On reaching the island nation, Rocky and Mayur decided on becoming Indian superheroes who would represent culture in a foreign land. This led to the birth of “Masala Man” and “Aachar Boy” (pickle boy). The duo reminisce about the lack of changing rooms during most of their travels and having to don their superhero costumes on top of the clothes they were already wearing. Talking about superheroes, the gang talks about how Masala Man and Aachar Boy saved a deer from being hunted down. Abhinandan is reminded of how pleasantly surprised he was by the extraordinary use of jackfruit by Sri Lankans for making a wide variety of exquisitely unique dishes. The team fondly remembers their first pit stop — Cinnamon Lounge, a beautiful property with tiny cottages where monitor lizards peacefully cohabited with guests. Next comes the trek up to the magnificent Sigiriya rock and the beautiful statues on the way. Once back down, the boys head to a nearby village where local hosts arrange a luncheon prepared by the villagers. While the food is cooking, the gang take two canoes and go boating on a local reservoir built by a king. Abhinandan is yet again stunned by the beauty and cleanliness that a place left completely to the locals reflects. The meal, like all meals prepared by locals, turns out to be scrumptious. Abhinandan talks about how similar it was to Indian Goan cuisine despite the stark differences. The men then travel to a national park where they see hundreds of Asian elephants in their natural habitat. They talk about red rice and a local preparation “Pol Sambol” whilst busting the myth about Indians never having invaded a foreign lands. Oh, and they also go hunting with a local tribe. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 27: The beauty of a Rum Baba, Andhra’s Andhra, and the people we can’t forget
Has the coronavirus pandemic disrupted your plan to take that long trip? Is the ongoing lockdown making you crave going off-road? Fret not. If you can’t go to the highway, Rocky, Mayur, Prashant, and Abhinandan — the team behind shows like Highway On My Plate, Vital Stats of India, Jai Hind, and Rocky and Mayur's Food Xpress — will bring the highway to you! So, here goes the newest offering from Newslaundry: Highway On My Podcast. The creators of the much loved TV travel show revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and — for when the roads are open and inviting again — recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more. In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, the gang sits across (virtually ofcourse! ) to read out mails written by some of the most dedicated and loving fans of all the shows the team has created over the years. Abhinandan asks his co-panellists to think of the people they still remember meeting during their travels. This opens an interesting can of anecdotes about some really interesting people. Abhinandan begins by talking about Sweeta who had shown the gang around a rum factory in Mauritius--‘the lady with the voice and face of an angel,’ as Abhinandan calls her. Meanwhile, Rocky is more interested in the Rum Baba, a dessert made with sponge cake soaked in rum, sugar, and spice...and all things nice. The team reads out a mail from Sovesh who suggests the team ought to make their next journey to Cuttack more satisfying than the last one with the Cuttacki biryani. Mayur is reminded of one Mr Raja about whom he promises to talk more in the Sri Lanka episode. Reading Sujay’s mail, the gang expresses their gratitude for fans who have become family over the course of years. Special shoutout to Abiraan who has been writing to Rocky and Mayur for a long time now. Another mail from a fan in Andhra Pradesh is loaded with recommendations for the two tsars of Indian food and travel. The mail lists Bhimavaram, the “Andhra of Andhra,” with its exceptional range of dishes on offer. The fan shares historical trivia about some of the places the team talked about in the Andhra episode. Then, Rocky goes on to narrate some behind the scenes anecdotes from one of the shows they hosted, called India’s Most Haunted. He talks about how Mayur nearly killed himself multiple times during the shoot at various locations. The conversation meanders across topics, from Prashant’s favourite soft spoken Jaat to a really sentimental story about Major Vikrant, a reminder for us to respect our differences and love one another to honour men like him who sacrifice so much for the country we call home. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 26: Kareem’s, UPSC ki Chaat, and finding Delhi's best Butter Chicken
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, the gang — like all professionals playing on their home turf — hits it out of the park with recommendations and stories from Delhi. Instead of heading out of the city as they usually do, they drive through it, packing in as much as they can. Starting off with chaats and sweets, Abhinandan brings up Bengali Market. Here, Rocky has visited the same golgappewala for over 20 years. Prashant says the market is the most sanitary place to have street food as compared to other famous food streets across the country. Sticking with chaats, they list Delhi’s wide range, from Moong Daal Ki Chaat in old Delhi to UPSC Ki Chaat. Rocky comes up with multiple stories on how the legendary Gantewala came to be, and they end their trail at Daulat Ki Chaat, which Mayur calls the King of Chaats — though not before a heated argument with everyone else. Ustaad Chai near Jama Masjid gets a mention for the “best tea in the world”, with Prashant calling it an institution, while Rocky and Mayur think it’s one of a kind. They scoot off to Chandni Chowk, taking a food trail up and down the legendary street to talk about the incredible food that it’s been credited with serving for hundreds of years now. Shahi Tukda, Rahim Ki Nihari, Kareem’s, Halwa Paratha — there’s a veritable bouquet of delicacies that you shouldn’t miss if you’re ever in Chandni Chowk. Next up is the top three Chhole Bhature places in Delhi followed by Delhi’s greatest gift to the world: Butter Chicken. Rocky offers fundas on how the dish was invented and the team lists some of the best places to get Butter Chicken in Delhi now. Delhi is where all four panellists grew up and given the city’s incredibly varied palette, the group talks about some of the most famous late night places, the Delhi of the 1990s (it was definitely better!), and other food institutions that the devout must pay homage to when the roads are open and inviting again. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 25: Masala Shark and cold beer in Daman, and a game of cricket on the beach
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant head to the booze oasis bordering the dry state of Gujarat: the erstwhile union territory of Daman and Diu. They laze on beaches and drive across endless green pastures while sharing a drink, some laughs and lots of food! Starting off, Abhinandan talks about the beautiful road leading to Daman, with the ocean on both sides. Heading straight to grab a chilled one on a hot afternoon, they visit Veere Da Dhaba. Rocky describes a typical dhaba in Maharashtra and Daman and Diu: people sit on a “khaat”, drink cold beer, eat delicious fresh food, and listen to music. The team then visits Khajura restaurant, where Rocky tucks into a portion of Masala Shark. It’s a wonderful meal, he says, and though it isn’t widely known, shark is a popular food along India’s coastal belt. Meanwhile, Prashant has a more “civilised” (in his words) Pomfret. They then head to The Dara, where Mayur, as the sole vegetarian, makes up for all the seafood raving by describing an unusual okra preparation called Khaatu Bhindi. Rocky also mentions the delicious Bombil Salad here. Taking a break from an overdose of food, the gang visits some shacks on the beach, which mainly cater to those looking to enjoy a drink instead of a meal. They meet a group of kids playing cricket, which inspires Rocky to revisit his gymnastic days. Sadly, it ends with him on his posterior, which doesn’t allow him to sit in peace for the next three days. The group also visits a local fort, tries some great food at Daman Delight, and checks out a few not-so-special restaurants. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 24: Pilgrimage to Britto’s, and the quest for Cafreal in Goa
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant head to India’s national holiday destination and now Mayur’s place of permanent residence — Goa. During their trip across the coastal state, they discuss food, alcohol, and Goan culture and how it has evolved over the years from when the group first visited the state years ago. Starting off, Mayur is urged to lead the troop which he does with nuggets of Goa’s history. Rocky reminisces about their first visit to the state for a shoot, when they spent a considerable amount of time looking for Cafreal, a spicy preparation that came to Goa through its foreign inhabitants. Prashant’s memories of their first shoot leads him to their interaction with Commander Dhonde, who circumnavigated the globe solo by boat, before a much-famed troop of women and Abhilash Tomy achieved the feat. Prashant describes the opportunity of sailing with the commander in the same boat used for the adventure, and a scrumptious meal they had on board in the middle of nowhere. The team lists famous, and not-so-famous, food joints in Goa that are unmissable, including Cafe Bhonsle, which Rocky raves about. Calamari is a restaurant that’s one of Abhinandan’s favourites for its potato jackets and vibe. Rocky says Calamari pioneered the “shack with a shower” concept, and explains how its burgers, cocktail and live music (and shower) make it legendary. Abhinandan then talks about the experience of shooting on a casino ship, and their pilgrimage to Britto’s. But what would define Goa’s food culture? Rocky and Mayur bring up Dhananjay Fish Curry, a nondescript shack that serves simple fish curry and rice along with a few other dishes. The team explains what makes it special and why the restaurant is worth a visit alongside the many fancy places that now make Goa attractive. The conversation also covers what kind of drunk each of them are, Abhinandan’s severe seafood allergy, Mum’s Kitchen, the socio-cultural mix that makes Goan cuisine so special, and breakfast at Leela Cafe. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 23: Biryani-hopping in Hyderabad, and a day at the Kakinada fish market
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant drive to a state that they claim is a driver’s delight, with beautiful roads running alongside paddy fields: a trip to erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh. Their travels take them to Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Machilipatnam and Ongole. After a beautiful drive to Kakinada, the team sleeps it off and sets off early in the morning for the famous local fish market. Its wares included bull sharks, octopus, eels, and all sorts of other sea creatures. Rocky talks about the women who primarily run the market, and the gang unanimously agrees that it’s a photographer’s paradise (check out examples in the newsletter!). They also recall the sutta the women smoked — locally-rolled mini cigars that were incredibly aromatic, though Rocky nearly passed out when he tried one. Kakinada’s signature dish is Kaaja, a kind of cylindrical jalebi. Heading to Hyderabad, they had no choice but to try biryani in every nook and corner. Abhinandan and Rocky bring up Spicy Venue, a restaurant in Jubilee Hills, where the biryani made it to Abhinandan’s top five favourite meals across years of his travels. Prashant recommends a restaurant called Bahaar, a local legend, run by a patriarch who keeps an eye on the kitchen from his home through multiple CCTV cameras. Rocky remembers spending several Ramzans in Hyderabad doing nothing but wandering the streets, eating Haleem, and having a good time. He and Mayur explain that their most favourite bakery in the country is in Hyderabad, and why it’s unmissable. Moving on to Visakhapatnam, Abhinandan says the city has tremendous potential with its topography, since you can drive from a beach to a hill in less than an hour. They discuss the seafood at the Sea Inn, where an old retired couple serve the day’s fresh catch. The team moves on to Tirupati and then Vijayawada, where they meet a man who could fit surprising amounts of rice in his mouth at one go. They also discuss the Ongole bulls and what makes them so special. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 22: Road-tripping with fan mail, and a tipsy pudding
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant take a swift trip across multiple locations. But this time, they take their cues from some of our wonderful listeners, who have written in with their travel experiences. Starting off, Abhinandan reads an email from Atharva, who recommends visiting the Irani restaurants in Mumbai and trying a wide variety of dishes. Atharva says the podcast helps him get through daily chores during the lockdown. Picking up from Atharva’s city of residence, Abhinandan describes a visit to INS Hamla in Mumbai, which is the Logistics Training Institute for the Navy. Rocky remembers how the people at INS Hamla prepare an “electric” lemonade. Abhinandan and Prashant reiterate that the Army, Navy and Air Force know how to look after their own, though Prashant thinks the Navy has an edge over the others. Next up is an email from Ashok, who says the podcast has become a staple while he jogs. Ashok details a trip to Sikkim, replete with photographs. Prashant points out how it’s interesting that we often remember things that go wrong during our travels — they make up some of our strongest memories from trips. Rocky adds his two cents on what he loves about Sikkim, and why we need to respect the diversity that India has to offer. The gang reads an email from Prabhjot, who also talks about a Sikkim trip, and discusses a local favourite along the Northeast, Thongba, which is a drink made from fermented rice. Abhinav writes in to offer his patronage to his “food gods”, as he puts it, and why he loves Rocky and Mayur, with their show and now podcast being his steady companion through the years. Abhinav is from a fauji background, so Abhinandan and Prashant take listeners to Bengaluru, where the army’s chefs are trained, and the knife skills they witnessed. Rocky brings up the Floating Islands (an egg white preparation) and cold coffee from the NDA and IMA that he loves. Prashant talks about jelly custard, another standard dessert that he associates with the Army. Rocky jumps back in to salute yet another dessert that the forces make like no one else: the tipsy pudding. The gang wraps up with emails from Shashank, Rohit, and a few others, and what they’d like their last meals to be. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 21: An army special from defence campuses across the country
In the light of the loss of 20 Indian soldiers killed in action in the Galwan Valley, Highway On My Podcast decided to dedicate this episode to our men and women who survive extreme conditions for our safety and well-being. So, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant take you to various defence campuses across the country, which they had the fortune to visit during their 24-episode stint of Jai Hind. They travel from the freezing cold of -25° Celsius locations to excruciatingly hot terrains where army personnel train in 49° Celsius heat. The conversation begins with the group discussing their reactions to the Galwan Valley deaths. Rocky corrects Abhinandan when he uses the term “martyred”, explaining that he prefers the army terminology of “KIA”, or “killed in action”. Prashant remembers how cold, dark and harsh it gets in Galwan, and says, “I can’t imagine what they went through.” Skipping his usual cheeky approach to life, Rocky, who lost his father in action during the 1971 war, passionately speaks about the futility of war. He describes the loss of reality that looms over talking heads calling for war from television studios, and the sheer respect he has for the forces. At any point of time, an army man is ready to fight for his country. But, he adds, “If you need to go to war, have a very good reason for it.” On a visit to the Eastern Air Command in Shillong, the group reminisces about a funny story involving Rocky’s broken leg, made worse by Abhinandan’s miscalculated bravado. While talking about shooting somewhere in the desert, Prashant describes the minimalism of the fauji lifestyle and why army men stand apart from a crowd. Speaking of the desert, Abhinandan remembers being around one of the world’s only mounted cavalry, and also how a platoon erected a kitchen and a dining area in the middle of the desert in no time. Another memorable experience was a formal dinner with the para commandos, made special by the tradition and discipline enforced. According to protocol, Abhinandan explains, the main seat is taken by the senior-most officer, and nobody starts eating until food is served to the last person in the room. Once the food is served, the senior officer raises a toast to the president, who is the head of the army, along with the others in the room. Only once the officer picks up his spoon do the others begin eating. The coordination runs like clockwork, with everyone functioning in tandem. Towards the end of the podcast, Rocky and Mayur recollect the various times they underwent training during their travels, and Rocky’s experience of firing a medium machine gun while shooting with the Garud Commandos. They also talk about sitting around a bonfire with jawans and swapping stories and singing songs, and the glorious time they spent with men and women around the country who make up the most efficient institution this country has ever had. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 20: Bhaang Ki Chutney in Dehradun, and a visit to the Indian Military Academy
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant drive off to Abhinandan’s home state of Uttarakhand. Abhinandan starts off by expressing his disappointment at how Dehradun has become cluttered with traffic and urbanisation. The team then visits the Indian Military Academy, one of the most efficiently functioning institutions in the country. They describe how a sense of “nation first” is instilled in young cadets here — and how nobody lays out a party like the army does! Rocky also explains why first-year cadets can’t ride bicycles to commute from one place to another. The team leaves the academy behind to visit places that hold nostalgic value for Abhinandan and Rocky. First up, they remember a Bhaang Ki Chutney they sampled in Dehradun, where weed is abundant. Abhinandan takes listeners to his alma mater, the Doon School, before the team heads to Ellora’s bakery in Dehradun to have lemon tarts and lemon custard. Hopping on to another food favourite, the group goes to Kumar’s, next to the Ghanta Ghar, where Mayur remembers the unconventional Lauki ke Laddoo. Driving towards Mussoorie, the team halts at Rose Restaurant on Rajpur Road where a gentleman serves delicious Pakodas. In Mussoorie, they debate what makes the Lovely Omelette Centre famous across India. The discussion spans ghosts, and softies, hot chocolate and Kalimpong Lollipops at the Chic Chocolate cafe. Heading to the neighbouring area of Landour, Prashant brings up the Devdar Woods restaurant, one of his favourite places in the region, with its coziness, scrumptious wood-fired pizzas, and fantastic coffee. Moving on to Haridwar, the team looks out for Mathura Walon Ki Pracheen Dukaan, a place famous for its pumpkin preparations. They attend the evening aarti at Haridwar, with its mystical atmosphere on the banks of the river as the sun sets. They then head to Kathgodam, the last train station in this region, where they visit Lee’s restaurant. They also discuss boating in Nainital, the Patal Bhuvaneshwar caves, and sift through Rocky’s list of secret places across Uttarakhand. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 19: Spicy black meat and orange-based sweets, and a seafood meal at Gajalee
Has the coronavirus pandemic disrupted your plan to take that long trip? Is the ongoing lockdown making you crave going off-road? Fret not. If you can’t go to the highway, Rocky, Mayur, Prashant, and Abhinandan — the team behind shows like Highway On My Plate, Vital Stats of India, Jai Hind, and Rocky and Mayur's Food Xpress — will bring the highway to you! So, here goes the newest offering from Newslaundry: Highway On My Podcast. The creators of the much loved TV travel show revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and — for when the roads are open and inviting again — recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more. In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant traverse the coastal state of Maharashtra. Doing justice to its highly varied food culture, the gang eats everything with equal enthusiasm, from Bhel to exotic bird preparations. The journey begins on a heartbreaking note in the breezy hill town of Mahabaleshwar, where the team’s dreams were shattered once they were welcomed by the caretaker of Hotel Regency. As it turned out, the hotel was so dirty that Rocky decided to sleep in the clothes he’d been wearing all day since he was sure they were much cleaner than the bedsheets. Shedding the memories of their horrific overnight stay, they hit the road to try out some roasted lentils, a speciality of Mahabaleshwar. They also try delicious jams after feasting on Chana . Driving to the plains, the gang discusses, while in transit, whether monsoons are a good time to visit Mahabaleshwar. Mayur doesn’t think so but Abhinandan strongly recommends it, only for the beautiful waterfalls. In Pune, they head to Kayani Bakery, a landmark in the city, that’s known for its scrumptious Shrewsbury biscuits. Prashant says the visit to Kayani is one of his more delightful experiences from their travels. They also talk about Pune’s authentic Maharashtrian food, their visit to Dorabji’s, and a place with an interesting menu. Heading to Nagpur, the team visits Saoji restaurant, which Abhinandan thinks should have a national presence. Rocky advises listeners to beware of the kind of spice that goes into the food, saying Saoji’s chefs typically add half a kg of chillies for a preparation with one kg of meat. Moving from spicy black meat to delicious orange-based sweets, Rocky highly recommends the orange Soan Papdi and the orange Barfi when in Nagpur. Falling short of time, the gang rushes out of Nagpur for Mumbai, discussing their memorable encounter with Mr Kohinoor, the owner of much-renowned Britannia & Co., an old Irani Cafe that is a part of city folklore. Listeners are also introduced to Mr Tony of Tony Da Dhaba, and how his salesmanship talked them into some exoic food. They feast on delicious seafood at Gajalee while Mayur tries Khichdi at Soam. The team also discusses the history behind Colaba’s iconic Cafe Mondegar and Cafe Leopold. Speeding off to Kolhapur, the gang shops for chappals and then samples Rajabhau’s Bhel, a local favourite and an example of how India’s street food never ceases to surprise. Prashant talks about Maharashtra’s good and bad vineyards and how locals developed a taste for wine. The group also talks about trying Mastani in Pune, the variety of Paan in Nagpur, and Mario Miranda’s art at Mondegar. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 18: Jungle training in Vairengte, and Rocky’s close encounter with a snake
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant take us to Mizoram to talk about warfare training and jungle foods, before setting off for the abode of the clouds, Meghalaya. After a backbreaking bus ride and a trip in a small aircraft that Abhinandan was scared to board, the gang reaches the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare Training School in Vairengte, Mizoram. This is where the army is trained to survive harsh jungle conditions, and the team gets straight to shooting after a tiring journey. As Abhinandan opens his box of memories, he lists food they tried that people might not believe can be eaten. Rocky talks about being bitten by a snake while eating a snake-eating snake — and that’s the most he’ll disclose. Mayur remembers the wild and abundant growth of bamboo in the area, and how the training schools make everything, from ladles to pipes to cups, out of bamboo. Abhinandan says it was one of the most special shoots he’s been a part of. Driving to Meghalaya, the gang discusses how they’ve seen the state transform over their multiple visits. While driving from Guwahati to Shillong, they habitually stop at a certain point to eat fresh pineapples with red chillies. As they enter Shillong, they talk about how much the people in Meghalaya love their pork and their experience of eating Jadoh, which is red rice made with pig’s blood and various organ meats. The conversation also cartwheels across trying Khasi cuisine, the friends they’ve made in the state, and celebrating Christmas with locals. Before leaving for Cherrapunji, Abhinandan recalls visiting the Matter Of Taste cafe, with its slick interiors and thriving local music scene. In Cherrapunji, the group remembers a beautiful night where they cooked food in the darkness atop a rock that overlooked a lit-up town in Bangladesh. It was a special moment, Abhinandan adds. They also talk about some really stinky food, how Rocky is the first man in history to be bested by a dummy at the training school, dodging traps, and what it’s like to live off the land. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 17: Hot butter tea and a visit to the Rumtek Monastery
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant head to Sikkim to indulge in some spiritual seeking, try the food of the monks, and meet the most beautiful human they have ever seen in the unlikeliest of places. Mayur gets into the mood and pulls a Shashi Tharoor, offering elaborate, poetic descriptions of Sikkim’s beauty. Rocky says Sikkim’s geographical layout resembles a chicken’s neck, and Mayur chips in with how Sikkim’s location influences its cultural and culinary traditions. Discussing the Rumtek Monastery and its “wide-ranging colour palette”, Abhinandan, as always, reminisces about the beautiful drive to their destination, with wild-grown orchids that reminded him of his childhood in Siliguri. The team attended a morning class at the monastery with the monks where they discovered that irrespective of age and subject matter, a classroom always has its backbenchers — even if it is a religious setup. Rocky, usually known for his activities in front of the camera, was inspired by his surroundings and the favourable habitat it naturally provided for birds. So, he got behind the camera instead, and Abhinandan says it was in Sikkim that Rocky took some of his best photographs. On the subject of Sikkim’s scenic beauty, they talk about how in the last few years, Sikkim has been the only Indian state to only consume and produce 100 percent organic food. Prashant and Mayur, the inhouse trekking enthusiasts, talk about an underrated trek in Sikkim that all nature lovers should go for. They also talk about the state’s cuisine, Danny Denzongpa’s brewery, and the taste of hot butter tea. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 16: Crabs to die for near Chilika Lake, and the frenzy of Puri’s Rath Yatra
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant take a trip to an underrated food heaven: Odisha. Starting from the nondescript seaside village of Gopalpur, the gang drives through eerie lanes to reach their destination, only to find a quaint village with nothing more than a couple of shops and a really scenic and calm seashore. What sets Gopalpur apart is a DRDO testing centre on a nearby island, so the quiet is punctuated by thumping explosions. Mayur remembers eating Mathura cakes, which Rocky doesn’t really recommend. Driving out, the team lands up at a dhaba opposite Chilika Lake. The dhaba is basically a tent with an open kitchen and no tables or chairs. Abhinandan skips the food thanks to a seafood allergy, but the rest got their fair share of veg and non-veg food, including prawns the size of a human fist, soft rotis, and authentic Odia fish curry. The team made multiple visits thanks to the delicious food, and the crabs are to die for! At the Jagannath temple in Puri, the group witnesses the Rath Yatra. Rocky says the vibe was infectious, with drummers, babas smoking herbs, and the entire community preparing to pull the temple chariots. The day of the yatra was a “frenzy”, Abhinandan says, and they feared for their cameramen, who were trying to shoot sequences of Rocky and Mayur in the middle of this chaos. Otherwise, Abhinandan remembers Puri as small and ill-maintained, though Rocky brings up its Khaaja, a sweet dish that he loves. The gang also discusses the chocolate pancakes at Peace restaurant, which was a welcome respite from the heavy Indian food they were otherwise devouring. Moving on to the Konark temple, Abhinandan remembers our very professional anchors waking up at 3 am and getting camera-ready for when the first rays of the sun hit the temple — only to be welcomed by a sunrise blocked by clouds. Driving to the epicentre of food in Odisha, Bhubaneshwar, Rocky highly recommends the Bhubaneshwar Food Festival, the heavy Lingaraj Lassi, and the Durga Mandap, an open food court with some of the most heavenly Odia dishes. Prashant sighs at the fact that Odisha’s food hasn’t made it out to the larger world, considering the state’s array of wonderful sweets and mutton dishes. As the group delves into discussions on Odisha’s food, people, culture and quirks, they remember a disappointing biryani in Cuttack, a fantastic meal next to an open drain, and the finesse of the Chenna Poda, a cheese dessert. All this and much much more, only on Highway On My Podcast. Donation links for Odisha’s Cyclone Amphan Relief: Odisha Chief Minister's relief fund Donate to Cyclone Amphan Relief Response - ActionAid See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 15: Jumbo jalebis in Gohana, and behind the scenes with the armed forces
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant drive across Haryana, a state famous for its sporting culture. During their journey, they take you to one of the best dhabas in the country, a place in Rohtak where they stopped during most of their travels, and Murthal, which holds a special place for all of them since it’s where the pilot episode of Highway On My Plate was shot. The team starts from Murthal, which Rocky calls “the first oasis” as soon as you head out of Delhi. They discuss their favourite breakfast: hot parathas and white butter served at Gulshan Dhaba, which Rocky also remembers fondly from his college days. According to the group, the dhabas here serve the best local, seasonal food. Mayur adds that Haryana is also known for its pachranga pickles. Rocky and Mayur also reminisce over fun experiences with Satish, their driver, who made the trip much more enjoyable. The team then heads to Karnal, where they had their second best breakfast at Zhilmil Dhaba, just opposite the Savoy Greens motel, near the lake. While Mayur remembers enjoying a cup of good coffee there, Prashant remembers that it was here that they came up with the idea of “food quotes”. Rocky shares a few for listeners. Abhinandan brings up Puran Singh Ka Dhaba, which serves delicious mutton curry and rotis. Many outlets share the same name, but Rocky points out the original Puran Singh Ka Dhaba, saying the best way to find it is to look out for a photo of Rocky and Mayur pasted outside. For Prashant, the food is outstanding but it isn’t a place to linger, due to the sheer volume of customers. From delicious mutton to a heavy dessert, the gang drives to Gohana where they had their share of jumbo jalebis at Lala Matu Ram Halwai. The team then goes to Palwal where they had a terrible food experience. They were served a “special dish” at a dhaba that looked like a lemon souffle — but wasn’t — and Prashant says it was like “Atithi Devo Bhaago”. The next stop is Panchkula, where they had pretty good food at Pal Dhaba. Rocky was very happy to see a lot of kids and young people out there. The conversation ends with the gang talking about a wonderful shoot with the Indian armed forces. Rocky says it was absolutely fantastic to get an in-depth look at what the army really does. The armed forces carry a kitchen with them, the stand-out being a bag full of shakkarparas for last-minute protein and energy. Mayur concludes: “If you really want to understand how respectable the armed forces are, you must go and see the conditions they operate under.” All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep 14: Garba-hopping in Baroda, and Rocky’s tryst with Matla Chicken in Anand
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant take a deep dive into their memories of their travels in Gujarat. They drive across multiple cities, from coastal towns to bird sanctuaries, sampling food on the way. The trip starts from Baroda, famous for its dance festival during Navratri. As the team reminisces about the two occasions they got to be a part of the dance festival, in-house “bhalle dancer” Mayur recollects going shopping for traditional attire. While garba-hopping, the team landed up at one of Baroda’s biggest gatherings with over 40,000 participants. Rocky is reminded of a special Jain Chicken he ate at the time. Heading to Ahmedabad, Abhinandan recommends taking the old highway, not the new expressway, if you’re looking to try delicious Kathiyawadi food at the Umiya hotel near Anand. Conversations on Anand, naturally, lead to discussions on the history of Amul. Equally naturally, Rocky describes a Matla Chicken he tried in Anand, and its unique preparation style. In Ahmedabad, the team visits Seva Cafe, a unique space run by volunteers where customers can either pay nothing or whatever they wish to. They then wind up at Bhatiyaar Gali which, as Abhinandan explains, is the place to visit for scrumptious food, and to bust the myth about Gujarat being a vegetarian state. Later, they tuck into a traditional thaali at the exquisite old Agashiye hotel. Driving to Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, Abhinandan remembers spotting a huge flock of flamingos on the way. In-house bird expert Rocky chips in with why flamingos turn pink. Abhinandan has his favourite meal at a paratha house in Porbandar, and the team discusses its pristine beach and huge fish market that is home to some of the rarest types of fish. In Mandvi, a nondescript port town, the team looks for a man named Gaba, famous for his Dabeli, a unique snack that originates in Kutch. Rocky describes it as the “food he gets in his dreams”. Then they head to the white desert of Kutch, which they experienced on a moonless night, their visit coinciding with an eclipse. They also visit Jamnagar to have some Shrikhand, Surat to hunt for garlic ice cream, and play music from an old jukebox at a small Irani hotel on the border of Gujarat. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.
Ep 13: Watermelon sabzi in McLeod Ganj, and watching the train at Barog
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan, and Prashant – or PRAM, as a Newslaundry subscriber recently dubbed them – drive up to the pahaads of Himachal Pradesh, journeying through Shimla, Solan, Chail, Kufri, Kasauli. They talk about the good, and bad, food they have along the and all the interesting people they meet. Starting their journey by taking a vote on who is a beach person and who is a mountain guy, the gang head to Shimla with much enthusiasm after discovering that all of them prefer mountains over beaches, for varied reasons. They follow the food trail on the Mall Road where they visit Sitaram and Sons, which serves a limited menu yet holds a special place in Rocky’s to do-list in the city. Abhinandan reiterates his love for confectionaries from the hills which are special due to the hawa paani of the place. They talk more about food, a haunted house, and Prashant’s love for the mail boxes in Shimla. Heading out of the city, they drive to Solan, where they station themselves while hopping to multiple places during the day. They first venture out to Barog station, a site of great scenic beauty, where they have railway wala khana that brings back fond memories from childhood. Rocky talks about how beautiful a sight it is to watch the train emerge from the tunnel near the station. The gang then talk about a jam factory and the not so happy women making the jams. Abhinandan talks about how he and Prashant seriously considered moving to the mountains and starting a small jam factory. Rolling back from Barog to Solan, they stumble upon interesting food places, one of which is Gyani Da Dhaba. Abhinandan remembers Gyani Da Dhaba for it’s lemon chicken, Rocky remembers it for the “home style food” which makes an endless string of travellers feel at home in the middle of nowhere. From Solan, they head to Chail, which Abhinandan doesn’t have many great memories of, but Rocky and Mayur remember for the Chail Palace and their jokes about the King of Patiala who built it. Mayur recommends having a cup of tea and pakodas at the palace. Heading out towards Kufri, they meet an “interesting character”, Ranjit Singh Kaushal. He runs a restaurant where, according to Rocky and Mayur’s report card, the food is barely 1/10 but the ambience is 8/10. Rocky imitates Kaushal and talks about his love for the word “kickback”. Abhinandan talks about what makes Kaushal interesting and how he would have loved to make a documentary on him. Kufri also somehow makes Abhinandan think of mule excreta that the town stank of. Near the end of their journey, as the gang head to McLeod Ganj, they find an “erratic food place” famous for its watermelon sabzi, apricot mutton and hot liquorish tea. They also give a shoutout to Alan and Cheryl, who Rocky fondly remembers as a jovial couple who run a fine food place called The Chocolate Log. They also discuss seeing a beautiful monastery, their visit to the First Cup Cafe, and where one must go if they wish to bump into Richard Gere. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.
Ep 12: Rabbit roast at Amma Mess, and discovering Rocky’s inner ‘French Punjabi’
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant drive across Tamil Nadu. During their journey, the gang deep-dives into the culture and stories from this region while they travel across topographically wide-ranging cities with equally vivacious food culture. The drive into Tamil Nadu starts with Rocky breaking down the myth that it’s a predominantly vegetarian state. As he explains, Chennai has some of the most delicious Kadhai Quail and Nand Curry, and these dishes are a sign of how much the people from this part of the country love their meat. Meanwhile, Prashant describes a brusque ordeal with a representative of the Meenakshi temple in Madurai where, as they later realised, cameras and shooting was not allowed. Prashant also talks about how, like a good Dilliwala, he got out of the mess. Making inroads into his memories of Chennai, Abhinandan talks about one of the most satisfying breakfasts he’s ever had at Murugan Idli, a fairly medium-sized local favourite which now has branches in multiple countries. Rocky recollects the wide range of chutneys that were served at Murugan and how they could constitute a meal in itself. The team then drives to Mylai Karpagambal Mess, a small family-run eatery in Chennai’s Mylapore. As they pick through their memories, the gang talks about the authentic cuisine the owner dished out, and how he had borrowed the recipes from his mother and grandmother. The team reminisces about Mylai Karpagambal Mess as much for the man who ran it as for the food. As they drive out of Chennai, Rocky takes the listeners to the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre For Herpetology. This, as Rocky mentions, is a crocodile conservation centre which had more than 23 species of crocodile when they visited. The centre is also credited with having released more than 5,000 crocodiles and alligators back into the wild. The team then makes its way to the “fountainhead of biryani”, as described by Prashant: Dindigul. Rocky explains how Dindigul’s unique version of biryani came to be, and how it’s prepared with short-grain rice and lots and lots of spices. He also explains the difference between “kacchi” and “pakki” biryani. Heading from spicy biryani to great coffee and confectioneries, the gang drives to Puducherry, where Rocky demonstrates his “French Punjabi” style of speaking. Prashant recalls his long walks down the promenade, and why it’s the best place to have a meal in the middle of the night. Mayur remembers the French owner and French wine at Satsang Hotel, where Rocky ate unforgettable pork chops. The team then goes to Kodaikanal which, as Abhinandan describes, has a beautiful drive leading up to a small town with a small marketplace filled with restaurants and cafes. Mayur leaves our listeners with a list of the most famous things from Kodai, which includes magic mushrooms, chocolates and schools. The next stop is Ooty, with great food at the Sidewalk Cafe, and then Madurai, where they embarked on a search for Amma Mess. Rocky remembers a meal at one of the messes, of bone marrow omelette, rabbit roast, and Chicken Kalikattu. The conversation ends with everyone swapping stories on the energy of the Tamil people and their passion for politics, films, and food, and Abhinandan’s trip to his maternal hometown of Tirunelveli where he ate its famous Halwa. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.
Ep 11: State that loves its pork, and strange encounters at Kohima’s Naga Bazaar
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur and Abhinandan visit the “land of festivals”, Nagaland, as proclaimed by a huge gate they passed through during their travels. Mayur, who is vegetarian, talks about his struggles with finding vegetarian food during this schedule of the shoot. He describes Naga food as “heavily pungent”, thanks to the Nagas’ love for adding fermented soybean sauce and fermented yam to all their preparations. Rocky chips in with his two cents on why the food in this part of India is pungent. Moving away from food for a bit, Abhinandan recalls the influence of the West on Nagaland and how that has led to a widespread love for rock and metal music. Rocky, once again, dives into the reason behind why the Nagas love their rock ‘n’ roll and how this love came to be. Abhinandan says the highlight of the Nagaland trip was the wet market at Kohima’s Naga Bazaar. Unlike the infamous wet markets that led to the birth of this podcast, this wet market was very hygienic. The gang recollects the weirdest animals they saw being sold there, which included caterpillars, rodents, frogs, eels, snails, snakes and hornets, to name a few. As the discussion about the bizarre meat sold at the Naga Bazaar progresses, Abhinandan nudges Rocky to talk about his experience of trying dog meat. Rocky was also pleasantly astonished, as he puts it, by the non-existence of caste and class barriers in and around Nagaland. Abhinandan recollects their shoot at a posh hotel with a lavish spread where Rocky, quite literally, chased his lunch. He also remembers a dish comprising pupae, caterpillars, silkworms and a specific kind of grub that only Rocky dared taste. Abhinandan also talks about the pickles he picked up from the Dream Cafe in Kohima, and how they helped him survive bland meals back home in Delhi for the next couple of months. The Dream Cafe, Rocky says, is right opposite the Naga War Cemetery on one side and overlooks a beautiful valley on the other. Abhinandan notes how confectioneries in and around Nagaland were often a saving grace for him. Towards the end of the journey, the team made a final pit stop at the Hornbill Music Festival where, as Mayur recollects, they came across more people packed in a stadium than they found on the streets of Nagaland. They discuss how well laid-out the festival is, offering a great opportunity to understand the cultural construct of Nagaland and also allowing visitors to experience the local culture of different tribes. Speaking of which, Rocky narrates how he participated in a “who’s the coolest warrier” contest with the Konyak tribe, only to end up with the Konyaks getting a taste of the big mad Sardar that he is. The gang also discusses why the people of Nagaland feel alienated from the mainland, the state’s silent nights, and the locals’ love for pork. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.
Ep 10: Raan Ke Kabab Musallam from a royal kitchen, and trying Panchhi Petha in Agra
In this episode, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant visit the wild wild west of India: Uttar Pradesh. As the gang wonders where to begin, Rocky decides to go someplace that’s “done to death” and talks about why it still stands ground: Tunday Kababi in Lucknow. While Rocky, Abhinandan and Prashant cannot stop gushing over the delicious food, Mayur enlightens listeners about how the famous kebab place came to be. Rocky says Tunday has a taste that’s unmatched anywhere else in the world, which is what makes it the legend it is today. From Tunday Kababi, which was born at the behest of a king’s farmaaish, the group heads towards a present-day king, Nawab Jaafar Mir Abdullah’s royal kitchen. Here, apart from being fed some exquisite Raan Ke Kabab Musallam and Parche Kebab, the team learns, from the king himself, some important lessons on the respect that must be bestowed on food in verbal discourse. Lucknow is also home to Gyaan Vaishno Dhaba, which is famous for its home-style food, and Pandit Raja Thandai, credited with having served thandai to none other than Atal Bihari Vajpayee. They also attend a dangal, stuff themselves with sweets at Ram Asrey Sweets, and go on a quest to find the much-recommended Rahim Ki Nihari. Prashant steers the conversation towards Allahabad, where they eat a unique Matar ki Tikki at a dungeon of a place called Shukla Chaat. They remember the Besan ke Laddoo and chaat at the Lok Nath bazaar, and discuss why one must not miss the boat ride in the Sangam in Allahabad. Prashant talks about the mysticism and dichotomy of Banaras, and the group discuss how one needs to see through the dirt enveloping the city to discover the beauty beneath. Rocky and Mayur talk about their dip in the Ganga, which was filled with what they hoped was river mud (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). Rocky waxes eloquent on the magic of the indelible Babulal Kachori and how Swiss, Italian and Israeli food made its way to Banaras. They then head to Agra, the home of Panchhi Petha, a sweet made of dried pumpkin. Hurrying to cover as much conversational ground as they can, the team talks about Meerut and how the city with an extraordinary military presence is infamously lawless. The journey shifts gears and cuts across many more anecdotes from Mathura, Meerut, Agra, Benaras, and Bareilly. Rocky reminisces about the time he tried the original Banarasi paan and why he’ll never eat it again in his life. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.