KOCHI: During his visit to Mongolia at the peak of winter two years ago, 41-year-old Balram Menon accompanied a few people to a frozen lake at the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. What was supposed to be a dog sledging outing quickly turned into an unforgettable episode. To his surprise, his companions made a tiny hole on the lake’s solid ice surface and caught a fish. The fresh catch was grilled with the ember made by rubbing two pieces of tree barks and served to him.
As an avid traveller who has visited 30 countries, Balram does not have a dearth of anecdotes about his various escapades but by his admission, the incident in Mongolia tops everything else as one of the most thrilling experiences he has ever had. Perhaps because it combines the industrialist’s two true loves, travel and food.
While travel has been a part of his life for many years, Balram’s recent and serious foray into food blogging with his minute-long food review videos on Instagram has struck a chord with social media users. “I travel a lot so I would post pictures on Instagram frequently but the pandemic changed things. I am one of the few people who has had a positive takeaway from the lockdown. Most of my friends ask me for suggestions on where to eat wherever they travel. So I decided to share what I know and put up short food reviews online. The attempt proved to be a success, I had around 8,000 followers before and now it has gone up to 42,000,” says Balram.
As a kid, Balram loved the long rides he would take in his school bus. For a young boy, watching the city pass by through the window was akin to travel. “I have always loved to see and explore new places and cultures. And the food is an inextricable part of that. Also, I live to eat. When I am in a new place, I only eat area-specific dishes,” the Kochi-native adds.
Through his short and concise videos, Balram ventures beyond featuring only restaurants and dishes from Kerala, as is usually the trope with most bloggers from the state. He is equally knowledgeable and at ease while dining at a five-star hotel or a humble thattukada. In his latest series of posts, Balram is seen dishing out on some of the best eateries in Bengaluru as a true union of travel and food.
“I am not keen on reviewing or posting just about Malayali cuisine. Because I have been a traveller for so long, I would like to introduce my followers to the food of various countries. For now, I am thinking of a pan India food series. Acquainting myself with Kashmiri cuisine, especially the dishes made by Kashmiri pandits has been on my list for quite a while,” says Balram.
Find Balram on Instagram @balme24