Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eating out at Chandni Chowk – A curtain raiser

Nothing beats the food at Chandni Chowk. Eating at Chandni Chowk is a literal cake walk since you cannot go wrong in the choice of place. Even a blind stop and eat will be fruitful with divine taste flowing through the taste buds. Everything is so tasty and every shop has its own story and heritage to tell and has a huge bunch of die hard faithful followers. And the shop can very well operate from under a Peepul / Banyan tree, a crevice window of a building to a eatery with peeling walls. A theory in inverse ratio, the lesser the décor elements of the shop better the food!!!! The art of perfecting your favourite place to pick out the best comes with numerous visits and does one start discerning how to choose, the man selling baked biscuits off the mobile cart, hot and crisp at the end of the Paranthewala Gali comes only for two hours, the man selling hot puris and kachoris at Nai Sarak opens shop only at noon…..and as one starts mastering the eateries, it is with undisguised greedy glee that one plans a visit to the bylanes of Chandni chowk.

Believe me, food has never tasted so good before. The true blue blood at Chandni Chowk would of course start with Doodh and jaleebi in the morning even dahi jalebi, followed by the puri aloo (bedmi puri) routine, rounded off with moong dal halwa….well to the uninitiated, every food joint in Chandni Chowk, has its die hard follower, food at every nukkad tastes equally good and is clean and hygienic. Be it the non descript aloo tikki wallah who sells tikki with the khathi chutney right next to the Pepul tree towards the beginning of the Cloth Market or the street side kulfi wallah who dishes out his offering from plastic cones – it used to be earthen pots earlier.  

The entire Fatehpuri is lined with some excellent shops for namkeen – namak paras, salted cashews, kachoris, pakoras, chole bhatura, sweets – Karachi halwa, gulab jamun, rasgullahs…. Other joints include the Bikanerwala, Haldiram, to Amritsari Lassi, Juice wallahs, kulfi, channa bhaturawallahs, Chach, Sweetend Dahi, Rabri, halwa makers...almost everywhere.

The die hard favourites include kasta Kachoris, Puri subzi menu, yes, the pumkin (sitaphal) finds prime place in the repertoire of vegetables. Chole Bhature, Aloo Tikkis, samosa filled with all kinds of vegetables including gobhi (cauliflowers), namkeens, Lassi, Jalebi, Kulfi…..

The timing for each stall varies, the food and flavour though remains the same. One article cluttering all eateries does not do justice to the culinary taste of Chandni Chowk…. So I think I will just pick up each item like samosa or chuski or kulfi and write of places with divine taste for each as we go along……

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