To round out our first day in Mumbai, we headed to Hiranandani, an area in Mumbai where a lot of expats choose to live because of its larger-sized apartments and close proximity to markets and places to eat. It’s not very far from Powai where my parents live, so they come out this way often to do their grocery shopping at Hiranandani Market and grab a bite to eat.
Our first stop in Hiranandani was for ice cream at Natural Ice Cream of Juhu Scheme. This particular shop carries some of the oddest flavors of ice cream I’ve ever seen. Musk melon mango, anyone? I was not feeling particularly adventurous, so I ended up just getting vanilla. Another cool thing about this place is that they make their ice cream with only fresh fruit, dry fruit, milk, sugar, and chocolate – no preservatives at all. To find ice cream in India was unexpected, but to find a place that serves natural ice cream was a real treat!
We then walked to Hiranandani Market next door to purchase some lychee. Lychee is a fruit similar in appearance to a strawberry, but with a very fragrant smell. None of us had ever had any before and were curious to taste it. After haggling with the lychee vendor for some time in an attempt to get a fair price, we walked away. (Many vendors in the markets will hike prices way higher than they should be if you look like tourists.) We even tried to get my mom and dad’s driver, Shanker, to talk him down, but it was no use. We left lychee-less.
All was not lost, though. When we returned to the apartment, we had something extra special waiting on us – our first authentic Indian dinner in India. The chef at the hotel had prepared it especially for us and had it sent to our room. On the menu was chicken biryani, paratha and curry sauce, tandoori chicken, and creamed spinach and paneer.
I ate hesitantly at first, worried about the effect the spices in the meal would have on my stomach, but after two bites of that paneer, I was in. The food was excellent, probably the best I had until we got to Darjeeling, which is a story for another day. My favorite was definitely the creamed spinach and paneer (an Indian version of cottage cheese), but the chicken biryani came in a very close second. And bonus – no icky sickies from the food!