Being ushered into a restaurant off the busy tourist street leading to the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, myself and a mate, Ash, whom I had recently just met and started traveling with, viewed the menu briefly before deciding to sit down and order. Our stomachs rumbled as though we were participating in a traditional Indian fast as both ordered the same meal, (vegetable curry) and plain rice (a standard budget travelers meal). I drank a Pepsi waiting patiently for our food to be served. Our meals were brought out looking healthy and delicious until
I started to spoon the curry onto the rice, when I noticed something I wish was never there, a long thick black strand of hair which I slowly pulled out and gestured my concern to the waiter about the food hygiene as I handed the strand of hair to him, expressing my disbelief in coming across it submerged in my food. He took the hair whilst he half cocked his head observing my reaction and said “Oh sorry” and walked back into the kitchen as though that was standard practice. My friend Ash started to laugh causing myself to join him, all at my expense, but shrugging it off as there was not much I could do. Then, as our school girl giggling ended we began to eat, and just then Ash too came across a thick black hair also in his curry.
Nooo way! We’re not having this, both our facial expression depicted our horror when I cracked up laughing at his expense this time. Fetching the waiter once more and implying in body language and broken English that the food was not acceptable, he excused himself with the two plates of vegetable curry leaving us to sit tolerantly with our plain rice and drinks upon the table.
No longer than 15 minutes had passed when out came another 2 dishes of vegetable curry, we kindly thanked him and poured our curry onto the bed of rice. Separating my rice and finding a spoonful to shovel into my mouth, eventually replenishing my body with food, when I came across another damn distinctive feral long black hair. How could this be I thought to myself looking up and across the table to my mate Ash who also shook his head in astonishment through chuckles, not because I had found a second hair in my food but because as he scooped up a mouthful of curry rice onto his spoon there also appeared another disgustingly oily thick long hair. We both stood from the table in total disgust with our appetites faded and just walked out leaving my 15 rupee on the table for my drink. Once on the street we burst out into uncontrollable fits of laughter, making light of the situation as we walked down the busy street whilst getting haggled by shop owners.
The everyday events in India never cease to amaze me. Having traveled through India, I am very much aware it is not the cleanest place in the world, but still to have so much hair in 4 dishes of food, I found this quite repugnant as my appetite shrunk in revolt.
I am sure that as disgusting as my experience was there are people out there who have witnessed worse cases than mine. Who else has come across such an event with appalling food hygiene, and what was it?
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