After a walk around India Gate and Parliament House, I decided to head towards Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk area in the hope of sampling street food. After a quick tour of Jama Masjid, I descended into Meena Bazar where vendors and shops were just about selling everything that I could think of. The imitation shades, garish clothes with branded names to brightly printed chappals they had it all.
The shop next door had a long queue and before I could figure out what it was, one of the assistants jumped out to tell me that they were serving 250 gm mutton biryani for Rs 30/- only. The price piqued my interest as well as the biryani. I settled down with my plate on a princely bench, temporarily declared reserved for ladies to keep the men at bay. The rice was bland, at most flavored with rose essence with some yellow orange color but the uber soft pieces of mutton oozing spices made my day.
I could have had some more but for the pots of phirni waiting on a large table across the lane that urged to me to stop, look, taste. It was slightly on the pasty side and not to sweet which went well with me. I wandered along criss-crossing through the lanes until some one suggested that I should go have a sit down meal in the legendary Karim’s. I tried to stoke my appetite over the next few hours walking as much as possible and trying to thwart temptations of all kinds but did fall prey to some fresh roadside salad,a few home made sweets and biscuits and piping hot tikki.
The young man selling biscuits off the cart impressed me with his zest and spunk. He wore a cap quickly borrowed from the neighboring vendor to appear presentable and insisted that I click a good picture and put it on the internet and urge people to visit his cart.
It can only happen in India that the exotic Kiwi available only in select elite grocery stores a few years ago is now street food in the lanes of Delhi.Then there were these toasts, omelettes and stuffed chillas which I had to keep for another day.
Karims was not difficult to find after I turned into the Lane opposite Jama Masjid Gate 1. The servers were pretty amused that a solo Indian woman showed up at 7pm in the evening and quickly assigned me a table which I had to share with another lady. After placing my order for Biryani and Sheekh Kabab, I turned towards the lady(Christie) across the table for a quick introduction. Striking up a conversation while waiting for something is an art I have skilfully honed over the years.
The food soon arrived and the Kabab is something I will not forget for a long time to come; soft as sponge, airy, spicy and the burst of flavors on my tongue were enough to make me forget the weariness of the 4 hours I had spent walking. I dug through my Biryani listening to Christie’s views on India and our common love for London where she belonged and was home for me many moons ago.
The Biryani was well flavored and good but not as wow as the kababs and needless to say, I polished off my plate and staggered to find a trishaw to drop me off at the closest Metro station.
Phew!! did I just eat all of that 🙂 Warm Water diet for the next 2 days to not overload the marvel of a machine called Human Body
Jama Masjid is one of the famous landmarks in Delhi. Walk around if you are someone who is not perturbed by crowds, would love to be in touch with the everyday India, the tastes that power the masses and the smells and colors that you yearn for confined within your sanitized spaces. I spent Rs 300/- in Karims and Rs 150/- on the remaining stuff. Think twice if you are someone with a weak stomach and easily prone to infection