An article in last week's New York Times brought to mind my recent two-month trip through India. On a train in Rajasthan, I was getting very hungry. The train was several hours late and there was still a long way to go from Jaipur to Jodhpur. A vendor working the train came down the aisle selling snacks, which I had been warned against eating. I didn't want to get "Delhi belly," but I figured a sandwich he called "vegetable cutlet" didn't sound so bad. Turned out it was quite bad. Just a cold, soggy lozenge of fried potato between two pieces of white bread. The risk/reward ratio was not in my favor.
But later, on the streets of Mumbai, I eventually shed my fear of getting sick from street food and learned what a "vegetable cutlet" was truly intended to be: vada pav. As the Times article mentions, chef Anthony Bourdain singled out this humble snack as his favorite food in India. As described in the article by Kavitha Rao: