DELHI BELLY – the food in the capital
“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments” Bethenny Frankel
It has been almost an year now since I came to the capital of India .I still remember the very first visit to my college ,when after completing the admission procedures I straightaway went to my college canteen to have a look at the various food items that would henceforth be my source of thriving in this otherwise over-expensive city . Living in one of the most posh areas of the city ,it is hard to get good food at the reasonable amount ,was what I had thought .Being deprived of lunch and snacks at regular intervals made me feel hungry all the time and I was tired of having the mundane Maggi and boring biscuits. Those were the times when I felt home sick. The food served in the PG was good but not enough to convince my appetite .I was constantly in the lookout for an alternative to my usual hunger.
It was one of these days that I found pockets of food corners in and around Greater Kailash-1 which served excellent fast-food and were pretty much in my budget. While coming back from college or going to the market I used to stop by these stalls and relieve my taste buds .Hence started the sequence of unending visits and home-deliveries .My very first discovery was the stall selling momos at N-Block market where one could get 10 of them for just 30 rupees along with the appetizing red chutney and fresh mayonnaise.At half a kilometer distance one finds the Archana Complex,a part of which serves as the NDTV office .This place on it’s outside is the keeper of numerous food-stalls with swarms of people hanging around .The main attraction of this place is the stall of KKR(Kolkata Kathi Roll) where one is bound to get addicted to the variant and utterly delicious roll it serves .At just 30,40 and 50 rupees one can enjoy the egg roll ,veg roll and chicken roll respectively ,panner roll and a combination of egg and chicken in a single roll are the other options .The M Block market awaits with the glitter of branded shops and street junk but, for the foodies it’s the aroma of freshly cooked sweet-corn, fruit juices and momos that charms the most .For those who are in the lookout for fancy restaurants and cafeteria can easily find a lot to relish here .Around the Moolchand Metro Station there is an intriguing dish called the “Chur Chur Naan”, The Chur Chur Naan is a special type of naan, which is a little broken and crushed, and is stuffed with another food item. The famous carts at Moolchand offers various stuffings for the Chur Chur Naan like Paneer (cottage cheese), Soya bean, Cauliflower and many other vegetables, including a mix.It is served along with daal makhni,chole and chaach. These were the hotspots of delicious food existing around G.K-1 which is my current home.
As for the areas I discovered while travelling ,let me tell you I am not that person who would carry the bag pack at once and take strides to places.I have to be literally dragged out of my room to take me anywhere which my friends did ,time and again and it is to their credit that I was able to discover some food corners in Old Delhi and some great eateries and restaurants at other areas of South Delhi. The Birthday celebrations were strictly to take place at the restaurants near or far and one place wasn’t repeated the other time. Another rule was to have dinner outside ,once every month.This is how I discovered the delicacies of “My kind of street café” at Kailash colony,”Out of the box café” at Hauz Khas, “Bercos” at Connaught place, “QD’s” and “Wood box café” at Satyaniketan market,”Epicuria” at Nehru Place,“Sagar Ratna” at Defence colony, “Anik’s” at the N-Block market and who can forget the very first restaurant experience in Delhi at “The Asiantic Spices” in M-Block market .Many amongst these are a chain of restaurants and have their branches at several places.
The visit to Chandani Chowk made me realize the humdinger of Old Delhi ,the hubbub of excited people,clusters of specialized shops and the enormous amount of places to eat .Going up and down the crooked lanes of the place we saw every shop ranging from that of lock and key to that of ready-made garments.On finally reaching the Pranthe –wali gali, a famous gourmet locality in the world for food eateries since the 1870s,I was stupefied on looking at the hanging menu chart which displayed varieties of exotic fillings like kaju, badam, matar, Mix Paranthas, rabri, khoya parantha, gobhi parantha, Parat parantha, etc. The parantha was served with sweet tamarind chutney, mint chutney, mixed vegetable pickle, paneer and potato curry, potato and fenugreek curry, and a sauteed mash of sweet pumpkin. It has nearly become a tradition that almost every prime minister of India has visited the street to eat paratha at least once .With a full stomach we marched toward the Red Fort and from there to the Jama Masjid .Jama Masjid too has dishes such as Kebab, biryani, tandoori being sold on the outside,fruit chaat and jalebis are some of the popular sweet dishes available.
A trend of dining at local dhabas is popular among the residents.The other popular restaurants are the Karim Hotel, the Punjab Grill and Bukhara.
As India’s national capital and centuries old Mughal capital, Delhi influenced the food habits of its residents and is where Mughlai cuisine originated. Along with Indian cuisine, a variety of international cuisines are popular among the residents.The dearth of food habits among the city’s residents created a unique style of cooking which became popular throughout the world . The city’s classic dishes include Butter chicken, Aloo Chaat, chaat, dahi vada, kachori,chole bhature, jalebi and lassi.This and much more to offer,expensive as it is,Delhi is definitely the food capital of India too.