BENGALURU, INDIA, January 11, 2021 (National Geographic, by Liz Dodd): South Indian snack food is luscious and languid, with flavors that sing of the Keralan coast, and spicing as mellow as Goa trance music. Yet, in the city of Bengaluru, India's Silicon Valley, this is food eaten not in beach bars but standing -- accompanied by a shot of sweet coffee and a copy of The Times of India. A wealthy garden city of flowering vines and star jasmine, palaces, temples, perpetual spring and eternally gridlocked traffic, Bengaluru has seen an influx of tech companies in recent decades. As a result, the pace of life in the city -- formerly called Bangalore -- has accelerated at a rate that must have surprised even its most bullish entrepreneurs. Even rickshaws can be ordered on Uber now.
Bengaluru's darshinis (vegetarian, self-service snack bars) were seemingly made for this moment. The first, Cafe Darshini, was founded in 1983 at the start of Bengaluru's tech boom. It offered the Western fast food restaurant model, only reimagined for northern Karnataka state's predominantly Hindu -- and therefore largely vegetarian -- population. It started a trend, and there are now more than 5,000 darshinis in Bengaluru. Almost by accident, it's become one of the most vegetarian-friendly cities in the world.
For a glimpse into the many vegetarian cafe offerings of this city see "source" above.