Aloo Parantha for Breakfast

Along the path to Expatistan, one must learn to adapt. Perhaps it is the one single thing we must all do as we travel this path. Breakfast has always been one of those meals that was subject to change — we’re all familiar with “have dinner for breakfast” and “why can’t we have pancakes for dinner?” And everyone knows that if pizza isn’t any good cold for breakfast, then it isn’t any good.

But I think those are all temporary. In the States, we don’t make a habit out of this kinds of meals, though some phases might be lengthened more those others. I confess that chicken enchiladas still sound like a good way to start the day.

But as one gets further away from the States, breakfast begins to take on a whole different look. And Europe can be a pretty wild and crazy place when it comes to breaking that fast of the night before. Especially when you find yourself in a place where the cafes don’t really open before 10:00 and their first language is not Indo-European in nature.

The neighborhood I’m staying in right now is an amazing mixture of Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi, and goodness-knows-what-else, all of which makes for a true feast of choices for eating. The air is truly redolent with spices and the eye is filled with the color in the same way.

Wikipedia dryly proclaims that aloo paratha (their spelling, my little local cafe spells it with an “n”) is a ” bread dish originating from the Indian subcontinent; the recipe is one of the most popular breakfast dishes throughout western, central and northern regions of India as well as in Pakistan.”
( And yes, that it is. They go on to describe it as a flat bread filled with potato, usually mashed, and spices and having been cooked in ghee.

Oh, how insubstantial that description!

Hot and fresh from the tawa, chutney and pickle in dishes on the side, perhaps a cooling bowl of bondi raiti served with — what a way to start the day! This could easily become a regular thing… bacon and eggs will never look quite the same.

Suffice it to say, I’m having some visual adventures, too, and here are some samples for you to enjoy:


The green grocers, the bakers, and the butchers DO open early, as evidenced here. It’s a little harder to find coffee and a place to sit down if you’re out early, though. You’ll just have to wait for that paratha!

The eye is drawn in so many different directions, visual textures everywhere.

Jaleni Station

It’s still very much “Winter’s light” and the mundane is graced by what sunlight there is.

Like giant knees


People watching is a little different — since we’re not in “cafe country,” being a flaneur means adapting, as well.


But, of course, there’s ALWAYS the train —


The Mysterious Newspaper Reader —


So until next time, a bientôt!

Author: alfonsoelsabio

Citoyen du monde: Photographer, librarian/archivist/academic, musician, and writer... I've lived in, or visited, every state in the US except South Dakota and Hawaii.