Everyone knows that it’s the gastronomical experiences that make your travels that much better. But how do you eat like a local if you’re shiny and new to the place? A similar predicament led Bengaluru-based Maheima Kapur to start the Talking Street, a startup that curates and lists the best of local food – everything from popular street vendors to cosy cafes that could soon be your adda!
As travel buffs, both Maheima and her husband (and co-founder too) Abhishek Mukherjee, love to embrace all things local and stay far away from what you’d term ‘touristy’. “On one of our travels in Berlin, we were told of a Turkish eatery where I stumbled across a Gozleme, a traditional savoury Turkish flatbread, something that would have been impossible to find otherwise,” she recalls. With the startup bug already in her system, this alumnus of IIM Bangalore decided to give the idea of discovering local food, a go. “At the Talking Street, local foodies organically come up with their discoveries and places they frequent and vouch for. There are no paid listings,” she explains.
The listings that are available on their website and app also have stories behind the eatery to add a pinch of interesting. “There’s a story behind each of these food joints that are little known – for instance, a bajji wala in Gandhi Bazaar is selling out of a cart. But did you know that he’s the third generation to be doing it and it’s been around for 25 years?” says Maheima, who needless to say, is a foodie herself. Her favourite local haunts are those that scream quintessential Bengalurean too.
“I think VV Puram brings out the Kannada food fest – from akki and ragi rottis to paddus. Vidyarthi Bhavan, Mahalakshmi Tiffins etc at Gandhi Bazaar and Malleswaram lend an old Bengaluru perspective. There’s even a little Rajasthani place in Koramangala that serves the best poha for breakfast!” she grins.
Right now, the app and website is live across 15 locations including cities like Chandigarh, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Indore, Goa, Kolkata, Manali and Mumbai to name a few. And they are only looking to trudge further through the country’s streets populated with curious cuisines! “We realised that food tourism was unexplored and so, we want to map states from a food perspective. We are hoping to work with state tourism boards to do that,” says Maheima, adding that they will now be rolling their initiative to mini metros as well. When she’s not savouring local eateries, this physics graduate can be found photographing food.
“Or travelling. I’m off to Chikmagalur next,” she tells us, already giving us the hope that she might find some hidden eat-out gems in the town’s hilly streets too!...