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Culinary delicacies at roadside eateries

New Delhi: Afer their hit TV series, `Highway on My Plate` Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma have come out with their book listing good eateries found on every major highway in the country.

`Highway on my Plate: The Indian Guide to Roadside Eating` chronicles the roadside eateries the duo visited while hosting their show on NDTV Good Times.

"We had a popular show on TV. Despite that we used to receive a number of queries. This made us to think that we were not reaching out to many people. So we thought of coming up with a food guide which can be carried anywhere while you travel," says Rocky Singh.

Whether it is Punjab`s legendary Kesar Da Dhaba (established in 1916) renowned for its parathas and kaili dal or the kachoris (called Kachoras) from Chawani Lal halwai in Rajasthan, the book has enough information to appeal to all the foodies and those who frequently travel on Indian roads.

Each chapter includes information about a particular state, begins with a simple map and trails the eateries along the landscape. The chapters are further divided on the basis of the cities and towns, and the eateries visited.

"All the food joints have been described in a very informal manner by us and its a genuine account of what we have found. The book has been written keeping both vegetarians and non-vegetarians in mind," says Mayur.

The highlight of the book is overview of the history of certain famous eateries along with the method of preparation of their cuisines which one can try at home.

At the end of each eatery description is a rating of the quality of the food on a scale from 1 to 40, the ambience and the value for money, among other things. The famous dishes are mentioned, as well as how much one should expect to pay for them.

According to Rocky, "The sheer amount of information in this book is so huge that it took us actually six months to put down details of locations, where the restaurants are, what kind of food they serve, recipes and cost."

Though there may be some hygiene concerns at some roadside dhabas, but Rocky says,"most of the times the food is fresh looking at the turnover in terms of people dropping in every now and then."

The duo go a lot of times to hotels and posh restaurants but given a choice, they would love to go to a dhaba as they are less expensive and they like the feel of being on the road and explore. They travelled over 65,000 kilometres on Indian roads filming their TV show.

According to SN Mishra, COO Apeejay Oxford Bookstores Pvt Ltd, cookery and food books have a niche market which people buy for their own reference and learning.

"We expect a good response in terms of sale for this specific food journal by Rocky and Mayur. This book will definitely attract the housewives and a particular set of readers who have a keen interest in cooking and food," says Mishra.

Rocky, a vegetarian, recalls his trip to Sonitpur in Assam as one of his best, where they were housed in a dhaba raised about 20 feet from the ground at the edge of the Kaziranga National Park.

Mayur opts for Anand district in Gujarat, and the Kathiawadi food served there.

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