After the flight, landing in India, passing through immigration, the 1 hour cab from the airport, checking in, throwing your bags anywhere as long as they don't impeded the door from locking, panting nervously in front of the receptionist and with beaming red face asking "Is there a good Momo and Thukpa place near here?". Seeing for a split second the diadems of sorrow profusely carpeting brow as if wondering "Why don't you want to eat some Keralan food", but being polite and knowledgable, tips you of a tiny place run by a real Tibetan family who make great food thats just around the corner.
Praise administered, road taken to, sweat continuous and building, sun tormenting with evil glee, roads snake-like in confusions surrender you to the tiny alley to walk down until you reach the restaurant.
"Make sure not to stop at the first one, it has similar name and advertises Momo but it is not good".
Message received, find the real one, settled down upstairs cross-legged like domesticated shaman, peruse menu, order everything due to irrational hunger, lean back and finally allow the fact to hit you: INDIA!
The thukpa was served first. For those who may not be familiar with this rather under-represented dish, think a noodle soup with chicken pieces and lots of vegetables for crunch. If that doesn't sound exciting then just know that each restaurant usually make their own chilli sauce to splatter on which really kicks it up a notch.
In the universe of a million thukpa bowls, this would rank in the top 40%. Not a show-stopper, but a solid, well made, hearty bowl of healing goodness. Sherpa's up yonder mountain use this as rocket fuel.
Next up a plate of meticulously presented momo's, and a bright orange bowl of aforementioned chilli sauce. My jetlagged heart skipped beats, my hands trembled, my mouth watered in parting joy. I dove right in, burning the roof of my mouth as I happen to do every single time I eat momo's. Something about them, the fear of them getting cold forces you to defy your natural tendencies and chomp into one literally seconds after it has been lifted out of a steamer.
There are no prizes for idiots, but hunger slaps harder.
Both the soup and the momo's lifted my spirits, and with the kind service and kinder prices, I made a note to return here if I tired of the fortnight of spicy coconut seafood curries and local treats.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored by the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"