Dilli khanewalon ki hai or Delhi is fond of its foodies. They say that when in Delhi, one can try a new dish on a daily basis. You might get tired of eating, but you won’t run out of options. There are spicy chaats, savory snacks, mughlai meats and host of desserts to choose from. Each one of them has a story or a place in history. Rightly termed, as the common mans food, Old Delhi will charm you with its architecture, but baffle you with the food to offer.
7. Daulat Ki Chaat
Each year in winter, when the temperature starts falling, the Kumars, appear from Uttar Pradesh, with their magical concoction called Daulat Ki Chaat. It’s like eating a cloud married to a soufflé. The odd wives tale says that it has to be made in the light of a full moon and by hand, then left untouched to be set by the falling morning dew. Vendors for this delicacy are seen in the shadows trying to protect it from the heat, prevent it from becoming a puddle. It has to be hand;es with care as it is made with the foam of cold milk. Some saffron milk and khoya add to the distinct taste. In the recent past quite a few hawkers are now selling this. Powdered sugar is sprinkled on it before serving and this slice of heaven costs less than a dollar.
6. Kishan Lal Halwai
When you walk in to Sitaram Bazar, turn right into Shankar gali and ask for Kishan Lals shop. There are no sign boards and the shop is actually located in an old haveli. You might spot it by men making sugar syrups in huge woks outside. Kishan Lals son now runs the shop and they are known to disappear in no time. They only make Karachi Halwa, sev ki barfi, ghewar and pateesa and sweetmeats, which this generation might not have even heard of. They are trying to keep an old tradition alive. Word has spread far and wide, about how delicious these sweets are and you can take my word for it. As a rule the fsmily has always made quantities that are sold in a day, so you get fresh stuff daily. They have been around for half a century and looks like will be around for many more to come.
5. Aloo puri at Haji Tea Point
Located in the congested Matia Mahal Bazar, the ordeal of reaching it is worth it. The place has seating area and serves sooji halwa, aloo poori and also omelet and toast. The halwa with a garnish of zarda, is very famous and has a lng list of loyal sweet tooth customers. Be sure to try the shahi tukda in the evening, to have a heavenly experience. Eat without any guilt thoughts of gluttony and ride the sugar rush it gives you. The poori is served with chick peas or chole, toned down with a spoon full of yogurt. While your poori is fried to perfection have a breathless view of Jama Masjid. All sweet lovers will forever be indebted to Haji for migrating to Delhi in 1960.
4. Gol gappas at Haldiram’s
This is the oldest branch of this globally acclaimed food chain. Established in 1983, it has continuously strived to maintain its standard and keep it abreast with the changing times and trends. If you are a gol gappa and chaat freak, then you have arrived at the perfect joint to satisfy your taste buds. Unlike the street it is located at, the management takes special care of the hygiene and cleanliness of its premises. The service is done wearing gloves and served in clean crockery, at very nominal rates. The outlets are always self service and that adds to the whole experience of eating hands on. Located near the Fountain chowk the food is always delicious and staff courteous. Their raj kachori is an internationalay acclaimed dish, must try.
3. Paaya Nahari at Karims’s
Karims needs no introduction to people who savor non vegetarian food. Serving mouth watering food since 1913, it a favorite hangout for people looking for a robust protein start to their day. Nahari the shank of the lamb and paaya is the hoof of the goat. The excellent taste which attracts people like bees, is the hours that go into cooking this rich curry. Served with tandoori roti at very affordable rates, most people eat this for breakfast and go to work, fully charged. As in all mughlai restaurants, end you meal with a dose of Phirni. Its like the cool breeze from the Himalayas on the dusty plains of India. Located very close to the Jama Masjid, the joint is open after midnight.
2. Rabdi – Falooda at Giani’s
In old Delhi near Fatehpuri Masjid, is a Sikh gentleman, who has mastered the food for the soul of sweet lovers. He runs the Giani Di Hatti, which serves the ultimate rabri faluda. This is a sweet milk based drink, so thick that you need a spoon to eat it. Faluda or vermicelli noodles are topped with a thick sweetened liquid made from milk, nuts and cardamom. Topped with crushed ice and mixed well before serving. The dish originated from Persia and has been around for centuries.
1. Jalebis at Old and Famous Jalebiwala
The smell of these hot, soft and juicy jalebis has broken diet plans and strong commitments of quite a few weight watchers. The smell of pure ghee tickles your nostrils and you can’t wait for them to get cold. The taste lingers in your mouth for hours and gives you an overall fuzzy and warm feeling. Located at Dariba Nukkad, the recipe is a family secret and the jalebis are always cooked on a cola fire. The shop has loyal patrons in UK, USA, CANADA and PAKISTAN. Pandit Nehru and even Rajiv Gandhi could not resist them, so what can we expect from lesser mortals. The owners brag proudly that khand is sued for preparation and not ordinary sugar. Jalebis are like food porn at its penultimate.