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, 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:
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