Fashionable Fruit Creations in Udaipur

While traveling in SE Asia and India over the last few months, a mantra has been popping into my head.  It’s not my own catch phrase though.

At the Backpacker’s Inn in Managua this past January, I spoke with a gregarious Canuck from Saskatchewan.  He was eating breakfast that he’d brought from home while we were chatting about healthy eating and exercise.  He had some sort of fiber-laden cereal concoction.

I said:

Is that healthy?  Is there sugar in it?”

Straight out of his mouth, in an instant, came:

Sugar is the enemy!”

One thing that I love about the tropics, is the easy ability to acquire fresh fruit.  But, a problem I’ve run into often, especially in Thailand and Cambodia, is the fact that a generous helping of sugar is added to fruit shakes and smoothies by default.

In Kanchanaburi, Thailand, there was a woman who refused to serve me fresh fruit drinks without added sugar.  She thought my concept was ridiculous.  Everyone else in Thailand served me without sugar as long as I  made the request while ordering.

There was one vendor that made fun of me for asking for such an unconventional form of a fruity tropical concoction:

Falang mai blah blah blah.”

You can see that my Thai is limited.

Yesterday, on my first morning in Udaipur, I was pleasantly strolling across the pedestrian-only foot bridge over the Ahar River when a smiling man asked:

Can I help you with something?  Anything.  What do you need?

I’m looking for fruit juice.”

Come. Come. Come.”

I followed him to the other side of the bridge.  To the right appeared PAP’S JUICES.

The man led me inside and introduced me to Pappu, the sole-proprietor who I’d come to find out designs his own smoothies and fruit salads.

After assuring me that he’s also a firm believer that adding sugar to his concoctions is taboo, I ordered a banana Lassi.  This wasn’t any ordinary Lassi.

Pappu explained that he mixes cardamom and wild honey in the drink.  On top he sprinkles freshly shredded coconut and drizzles honey.

It was the best Lassi I’ve had and that’s not an exaggeration.  I went back today for the same elixir but with pineapple.

Both yesterday and today I followed my drinks with Pappu’s famous muesli fruit salad.

He starts by finely cutting fresh pineapple and layers it on the bottom of the bowl.  Then he finely chops papaya.  Then it’s apple, and next banana.  Orange goes on but I opted out of that ingredient.  Muesli is then poured over.

Pappu’s toil continues with a bed of curd and then a coat of plain yogurt topped with freshly-peeled pomegranate and a drizzling of jungle honey.

I tried to get all 10 ingredients, including cardamom, onto each spoonful.  I think that I succeeded.

Four varied fruit flavors with crunchy muesli slid amongst curd and yogurt. The sweetness of super-fresh honey and chewy, juicy pomegranate complimented a sensational burst of flavors.

Never have I had a muesli fruit salad such as the one designed by Pappu.  Again, I’m not exaggerating.

I explained that I’d never had a fruit salad with such finely chopped fruit.  Pappu replied:

When it’s chopped fine you are able to taste it all together in one bite.”

Pappu doesn’t believe in additives.  Another thing that sold me instantly is that he doesn’t use ice.

In Thailand and Cambodia I’d often thought:  These people are obsessed with ice.  The freezing temp ruins the whole drink.

Pappu mentioned:

Ice thins the fruit and ruins the drink.”

He went on:

My goal is that business and happiness go together.  I don’t like to copy.  I prefer to create from my heart.”

THE SECRET

Today, after finishing my muesli fruit salad I sipped on an ultra-smooth, black Kerala coffee.  It was then that Pappu shared his key ingredient with me.

The secret to the flavor of the smoothies and fruit salads is the wild honey.”

I really like the terminology: wild honey.  What makes it wild?”

I don’t buy my honey in the store.  I pay more for my honey.  About 70 kilometers from here I have a man that goes up into the tree to get the honey for me.  This is what keeps the people coming again and again.

Tomorrow will be my third day here in Udaipur, and it’ll be me my third straight morning enjoying your fashionable  fruit creations.”

He chuckled.

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –

Apparently some low-budget backpackers have complained that PAP’S JUICES’ prices are too high.  As I’m a traveler who needs to be concerned with budget orientation, I’m really big on value.  I can’t settle for the complete bottom.   Regarding food, I must spend what I need to for the sake of my health.

The Fruit Salads with or without muesli/yogurt/curd cost 80 Rupees or $1.63.  A Banana Lassi costs 50 Rupees or $1.02.  Pineapple Lassis go for 40 Rupees or $.82.  A cup of Kerala coffee set me back 50 Rupees. 

Considering the premium product, I call this the best fruit value I’ve had anywhere on earth.

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pru on November 29, 2011 at 14:09

    Looks delicious. However, did you know that eating raw honey (particularly when not local to where you’re from) can be potentially dangerous? Honey is one of those weird foods that offers amazing nutritional benefits and allergy protection when consuming it locally, but it can trigger health problems in some cases when consuming “foreign” honey.

    Reply

    • PRU: Yeah, my favorite part of the furit salad is the pomegranate. From what I gathered from the concoction’s creator Pappu, the honey he uses is local.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Elizabet on November 12, 2011 at 21:33

    Se ve muy interesante y delicioso la ensalada de fruta al estilo de la India. Me recuerda un poco a Peru, la difererencia es que no le hechan demasiado yogurt. Que bueno, me alegra por ti que sigas comiendo, comida saludable en conociendo gente nueva…Cuiate mucho.

    Reply

    • ELIZABET: A Thousand Thanks! Yes! One great think about the tropics is the easy access to fresh fruit. India tends to be a yogurt/curd happy land so yes, they tend to throw a lot of that into their fruit salads. 🙂 Yogurt / curd is used in many other ways here too.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Al on November 8, 2011 at 13:27

    I was inspired by your post to try an enhanced fruit salad of my own: bananas, strawberries, civilized honey (no wild honey at the grocery store) a bit of sugar (yes, it is evil, I know) vanilla yogurt, raisins, and granola. Not exactly pap´s best, but not bad either.

    Reply

    • AL: your fruit salad sounds great, no sense in comparing yourself to Pappu who does this 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Then, when he goes home he sometimes thinks up new menu creations. All you’ve gotta do is consume the fruit. You don’t need sugar, honey, yogurt or granola. But, whatever works for you to consume it is still good. I’m slated to be in the U.S. from Thanksgiving until X-Mas. I’ll have a kitchen and hope to learn a bit from: http://www.raw-food-health.net/

      Reply

  4. Posted by Mamma on November 5, 2011 at 22:16

    I’d love to try the fruit salad at Pap’s too…

    Reply

  5. Posted by Annie on November 5, 2011 at 10:03

    I know you’re in heaven when you find delicious healthy food. Enjoy!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Roger on November 4, 2011 at 14:09

    Sugar is a carbohydrate, and you should get about half of your calories from carbohydrates every day. But most of them should be in the form of complex carbohydrates that come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and not from added sugars like table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or honey.

    Reply

    • ROGER: Thanks for the concise explanation! Complex carbs are the way to go. I guess that honey isn’t. You’ve reminded me that I need to research the differences between consuming honey and sugar. 🙂

      Reply

  7. Posted by Darren on November 4, 2011 at 14:05

    That sounds like an amazing fruit salad! I want to go to Paps!
    My only request is to see a step by step photo journal of the making of that salad. I know this isn’t a cookbook, but a man can dream… 🙂

    Great post, tell Pap I’m coming to visit whenever I can!

    Reply

    • DARREN: Thanks! I was actually thinking about the step by step journal, even a video. Once I’m hosted solo (soon), then video’ll be doable. And once I get my niche photo app I plan to have the pages/photos formatted nicer. It’s a constant learning curve, fun stuff…

      Reply

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