Kicking it back on the #28States28Plates drive
We reached the capital city of Sikkim so late the previous night that we could barely sample any of the local grub. So, we decided to take a day off to explore some popular restaurants in Gangtok and also give the Renault Kigers some tender loving care.
For the first time since the #28States28Plates drive started, the team got a full night’s sleep and stepped out of our night halt at around 9am to go and drop the cars to the local Renault dealership (Anum Motors) for a general check up and service. The Kigers weren’t really in dire need of a check up, but since we were in Gangtok for an extra day, we decided it’d be best to get the cars looked at and prepped for the battering they’d face in the next week or so.
MG Marg is a popular tourist destination with plenty of shops that sell local artifacts, local eateries and there are also name brands like Fabindia, Reliance Trends and The Body Shop here, among others. We walked around for a bit and then proceeded toward our lunch destination — the Local Cafe.
The Local Cafe too is located in MG Marg, though they have a second location in Vajra World, which from the pictures, seemed a little prettier. Even the spot in MG Marg is very quaint — a small cafe with cozy seating and a great vibe. There we were met by Tenzing who heads the cafe and Asha who is the baker-in-chief over there. Both of them were incredibly sweet and took lots of effort in explaining each dish to us. What were we eating? We started off with a Tibetan Bread Sandwich which is essentially a regular chicken sandwich but instead of your run-of-the-mill bread what you have is a roti of sorts, but thicker and softer. It is closer to a Panini than it is to a regular loaf bread. However, more unique was something known as the Laphing. The Local Cafe makes two variants of Laphing — one extracted from dal (known as White Laphing) and one from flour (known as Yellow Laphing). The latter are flat noodles basically which are wrapped around spicy and cruncy chicken (can also be made vegetarian). The noodles almost melt in your mouth and the charred taste from the chicken, plus the kick from the chilli inside is a winning combination. This is then taken to the next level with the soupy version where the Laphing sits in a broth of soy sauce, chillies, garlic and some more herbs. It tastes brilliant — our cameraman had an ulcer, and even then he couldn’t stop himself from taking spoonfuls of it. The White Laphing is essentially cubes of jelly that are placed in a spicy broth, served cold. While it is healthier than the Yellow Laphing, it doesn’t absorb the flavours as well. Both of these are gluten free though and are actually very light on the stomach. We topped this off with some lovely red velvet cupcakes and retired to our hotel for a much needed afternoon siesta.
By the time we were awake, our Kigers were ready to be picked up. Anum Motors had done a great job of getting our cars ready in pretty much no time and while they left mucky and dirty, they returned absolutely spick and span, looking totally ready for what’s to come ahead. Tomorrow is a short drive down to Siliguri, before we make our way to Kolkata and then toward the south!