When you are traveling for months, you cannot afford to go to fancy restaurants and instead turn to food stalls and places where the not so affluent locals eat. You eat the food of the people, not of the people with money.
Having spent a good part of the 30 years of my life in Islamabad, I found the Southeast Asian countries to be very inexpensive when it came to food—or anything for that matter. I could have a meal in Thailand in Rs. 100 to 150 ($1 to $1.5), almost the same, sometimes even less, in Sri Lanka. And I used to say: man, this is very inexpensive. Thai food, by the way, is generally delicious.
Then I moved to Lahore.
Today, for example, when I wasn’t feeling so well and went downstairs to just get a bread, this somewhat ganda-manda not-so-fancy restaurant I hadn’t been to before lured me in. And the food they served—kofta chanay—was oh so delicious. I forgot my temperature and savored every single bite. Their secret is to know what maslas to put and in what proportion. Day in and day out. Recipes get transferred to the next generation—offsprings or student. The perfection is not lost.
It tastes so good in Lahore, you begin to wonder if the food you had liked elsewhere was tasteless. And it only cost Rs. 50.