The American Tax in India and the Best Meal EVER!

Almost everything in India is negotiable.  If you don’t want to pay full price on that ice cream, just tell them what you want to pay and most likely, (if the amount is reasonable) you get your ice cream!

I of course paid full price for that ice cream because I really wanted to try delicious Indian mango ice cream.  Take my word – it was delicious!

Like I said – all things are negotiable save oneThe American. Whether you’re white, black, brown, orange, green or blue, once the Indians get a whiff that you are from the states, it’s over.

Case and point – Binks and I wanted to mozy along on a houseboat for a long afternoon.  My aunt and some family wanted to join.  So, we all went to the houseboat office to ask for the price.  Despite the fact I’m dressed in a salwar and am not talking, there is something that caused the manager to stare at me and Binks, and tell my aunt: “‘The price for everyone is 18,000 rupees.”  (Approx. $400!)  Ridonkulous!

There were about 5 of us, and my aunt had gone previously for less than half that price with more people nonetheless.  And for once, no one was willing to negotiate.  Everyone thinks, the Americans have dollars and it rains money there.  (A post on this later.)

Needless to say, Binks and I high-tailed it out of there.  We went to Alleppey beach instead.

After being in the sun, I needed a refreshing snack.  Enter the orange:

It looks monstrous but if I told you that these pruney wrinkly things uncover the most delicious orangey orange you have ever eaten, would you believe me?  You must! I think I had one-a-day.  They were that delicious and because I like oranges! 🙂

Now for the kicker, after the beach, we drove about 3 hours to the shopping city – Ernakulam/Cochin.  Upon arrival, everyone was hungry and my aunt suggested lunch at the Grand Hotel.  It has of the best and most reputable restaurants in the city, I dare say the state.

First, the fabulous and lengthy menu:

It has everything you could want and more.  Indian and not.  I went for the usual/classic – The Meal and The Fish.  At first, I had no idea what that meant, but I was all in.

We were started off with light airy papads.

Then arrived The Fish.  It arrived wrapped in banana leaf, which the waiter carefully opened.

I don’t think you can imagine all the steam that came out after they unwrapped.  This was the most delicious fish I have ever eaten to date.  Believe me because I ate the whole thing myself.  And, I have no regrets.

Turns out my meal was the traditional thali, which consists of rice and several Indian side dishes, including but not limited to the following:

different vegetable thorans, fish curry (not pictured),

and different chutneys.

My aunt ordered the mutton biryani.

All of the food was so delicious and totally makes me want to come back!  Such great service and a great presentation.  I will definitely make the 3 hour trip back when I go again to visit (post coming soon).

We went shopping galore.  Spent way too much money for pretty things, and finally made our long  journey back to the house.

After that big meal, an evening snack was sufficient.

That looks like an unripe banana, but it was wonderfully ripe on the inside.  You have to trust me on that.

I’m an American, and it’s non-negotiable.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “The American Tax in India and the Best Meal EVER!

  1. That meal looks absolutely splendid!!!

  2. I had a similar experience in the Dominican Republic…once they find out you are American, the price suddenly gets jacked up!

    Clearly it rains money here and all Americans are filthy rich.

  3. The papad looks so light and amazing! Yum!!

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  5. That is really strange how they could tell that you’re American, just really really strange. However, I love that you can negotiate prices there–I want to live in a barter society!

    And yeaaaaaah, all the food looks delish. I love the fish wrapped in a banana leaf, that’s very creative and visually pleasing. I’ve never had a papad or heard of it but I want one!

  6. Jen

    If it rains money here, I need to find out where!!! I’ve never had a papad before, but it looks tasty 🙂

    Jen

  7. Can you tell me what state and city this rain is in??? Because I’d move there in a second! 🙂

  8. Wow all the food looks incredible!

  9. Believe me I cracked up reading this post. Indians can smell an American or European from a miles distance. We were in Rajasthan shopping for something and an existing transaction ended since a European had arrived and the owner believed he could make better profit with them. So I totally understand what you mean.

    That leaf wrapped fish looks so delicious. I am going to Bombay to visit my family this January just.can’t. wait!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, you have an amazing space of your own here!

  10. I need to live there! I love that you can barter for prices. Wish I had some of that money they think all Americans have. 😉

  11. WOW! What an amazing trip!!! I’ll keep that in mind if I ever travel there 😉 Merry Christmas!! I hope you have a wonderful lunch!

  12. I am speechless. What beautiful pics and exotic:) Fantastic post!

  13. An American in India experiences are always so interesting. A friend of mine spent two months there with her brother and returned with some of the most incredible stories — both good and not so good.

  14. Indian food in India! How does it compare to the Americanized version?

  15. SO interesting! I love reading about other countries. And that fish does sound delicious… I want fish wrapped in a banana leaf! 🙂

  16. Thalis are the best! I always order them when I can find them here in Los Angeles – which isn’t often.

    $400 is absurd! And yes, they totally rip you off when they can tell you are an American. It goes without saying that you have to have someone from India negotiate things in advance, on your behalf. Not always possible though, I know!

    Happy Holidays!!

  17. Kat

    That fish looked just incredible. I don’t blame you for eating the whole darned thing, I don’t think I’d be able to resist it either!

    I’m absolutely fascinated by the fact that even though you didn’t utter a peep, they still raised the price.

  18. This is so funny. They just *knew* by looking at you. The food looks terrific. I’m curious if we can get those “Indian” orange in America. They look lumpy but I believe you when you say there is deliciousness inside.

  19. Pingback: Mumbai Revisited | OliePants

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