This is for those travellers who get bored of the food from the pantry in the Dhanbad-Alleppey Express of the Indian Railways. It is not that the food from the pantry is not good. It’s just that it could become boring to you very soon.
I’ve not covered the Dhanbad-Ranchi section as I’ve only experience of travelling from Ranchi onwards.
First of all, the train does not stop for much time at Ranchi so that one can something from the Birsa Munda Food Plaza which serves quite decent snacks and meals. We usually have our lunch at the Birsa Munda Food Plaza before entraining the train at Ranchi.
Dinner – Day 1: The train reaches Rourkela around 6:30 pm. The schedules stoppage is for 30 minutes. This allows you to make a dash outside the station where there are umpteen road side eateries selling from dishes varying from dosas, parathas, noodles, idlis etc. There is also a Baskin Robbins outlet nearby. This time I opted to buy dosas and we did not regret about the option. I was also surprised to find quite a lot of the pantry staff of the train hanging around these wayside eateries rather than eating from the pantry. Says a lot about the 'quality and taste' of these wayside eateries.
Breakfast – Day 2: You would have just left Orissa and starting the day long travel across the state of Andhra Pradesh as day breaks. For breakfast, there is the option of trying out the stuff from the pantry or waiting till station named Bobilli which arrives at around 7 am. The best stuff available here is the vada which tastes yummy with sambhar and chutney. The idlis were a bit too hard for me.
Lunch – Day 2: Here again you can opt for the lunch from the pantry. I opt to wait for a station called Samalkot which arrives a bit late in the afternoon from where you can buy lunch packets being sold by ladies in the platform. I wonder if they belong to some Self Help Group. One lunch packet is enough for a sumptous for 2. This time, one packet was priced 80 INR.
Dinner – Day 2: Here if we need to have a culinary experience other than the pantry food, we would need to buy food from the Comesum Plaza in the 1st platform at Vijayawada. The train stops for 20 minutes which is more than enough to buy dinner from Comesum Plaza. There is quite a lot of variety available. We had brought Rumali Roti, Vegetarian Thali (one ordinary and one special).
Breakfast - Day 3: The best bet for breakfast is the dosas at Jolarpettai. We ensure that we've some empty plastic vessels to take the sambhar and coconut chutney separately.
Lunch - Day 3: There are many options. You can opt to have lunch at any of the stops from Erode to Palakkad. If you want to have curd rice which is one of my favorites, you'll need to search for it in either Erode or Tiruppur. It is available in Coimbatore too, but only in one part of the platform . . . usually towards the engine.
There is a long stop at Shoranur around 3 pm. Which gives us ample time to rush to Platform 6 and have a sumptuous feast of ice-creams from the Amul outlet.
Of course, dinner usually waits for us at home. We would be almost fed up of non-home food by the time we reach Alappuzha.