Candy Cafe, Moorang, Himachal Pradesh
The demand for hot meals in Moorang isn’t very high given the desolate surroundings and thin population base. High in the Spiti Valley of the Himalayan mountains, midway between Losar and Kaza sits just one opportunity for hungry travelers to quell their hunger. Hopefully, Tibetan fare meets your approval as it’s all the quiet, slender and friendly, female cafe owner serves. Do you have any fresh seafood today?
Foreigners running this well known, but not well-traveled Buddhist tourist route typically bunk west of here in Losar or East in Kaza. The proximity to both towns in the Kinnaur District, with western targeted accommodations including complimentary breakfast and many more food options for guests arriving around dinner, allows drivers to pass right through Moorang. But I was marching to a different schedule with stops at the Kaza, Kibber, and Ki Monasteries before pulling into Moorang in mid-afternoon. I was hungry, tired, and in desperate need of chai.
The mountain views were noteworthy but you’d never know it from the dark interior of Candy Cafe. Just a few tables fit inside the cramped cement wall confines. Glass retail counters stocked with pre-packaged sweets, bottled water, paan, and other random items for sale took up precious seating space. High on one wall, a small color TV played an Indian soap opera. Two kids, probably the owner’s, were seated at the end of a long family-style table enraptured by the TV. A one-sided single page menu listed the choices which amounted to noodles with veggies.
Food is prepared in a cramped kitchen blocked by a threadbare curtain. It’s not meant as privacy for the dining patrons as much as an escape for the owner. In short order I received hot, steaming spicy noodles with crisp veggies. Served with chai and more hot sauce, this plate of goodness hit the spot. With a final swig of chai and payment of the bill (Rs 80), I was out the door in under 20 minutes.