Pieces of Unforgettable Delhi.
Ahhhhhhh……..Sarojini Market – the joy of every chronic shopper’s heart. A flushed paradise of colors and sweat brewed by the narrow crowded streets of insomniac Delhi. A shopaholic orgasmic abode of cheap thrills and cheaper clothes of the latest season and the newest design hung on the walls of a congested alley which smells of sweat of various intensity during the summer. A nirvana of great bargain where it’s like you get sale all the year through. It’s an unkempt fête of people of various races with its dirty polluted streets and rambunctious ambiance yet somehow dictates the fashion of the Capitol. Among the sea of colors and the hullabaloo, are annoying beggars who persistently begs for money with the fakest sad face, ear-splitting roar of roadside vendor with funny rhythmic rhetoric, girls who actually wear outdated high heels on the rugged streets of the market, girls who thinks they’re wearing the latest mismatched trends(fashion faux pas) which actually redefines “dreadfully tragic”, creepy abnormal men who sing Hindi love songs while staring at you and awful rapist who finds peculiar satisfaction brushing women with their body intentionally. Yet everyone loves Sarojini Market and its great bargain. Sarojini Market – an addiction.
WARNING: FOOD ADVISORY: HIGH-FAT CONTENT.
The historic Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi is one of the oldest and largest market in India. It is a pure pandemonium of noise pollution and crowdedness – an essence of every possible open air Indian market. It’s worst all through the year with its unmanageable traffic and busy intersection with dangerously speeding cars whooshing frequently in between. Impatient horns honking, foul-mouthed drivers and erratic bikers are its features of the roads. Chandni Chowk has twice all the elements of Sarojini Market and worst because it’s bigger, badder and busier. Yet above all it is a Mecca for street food lovers and enthusiast alike. The narrow lanes of the old city hides savory secrets as old as the city itself. If you want to eat mouth-watering traditional Mughlai food that’ll make your stomach churn(mine did) go straight to Karim’s without thinking twice. Tucked away inside a small lane of unpleasant and dingy bylanes, don’t be alarmed by its shabby typical dhaba-like setting, Karim’s offers one of the best seekh kabab(an ideal hors d’oeuvre) and tandoori roti in the whole of North India. The restaurant does not distinguished itself by ambience or cleanliness, but the food there is just delectable and made exclusively for food lovers. For those of us who find genuineness in the quote “I don’t believe in low-fat cooking” by Nigella Lawson, Karim’s is not for the weight conscious people. Don’t go expecting a five-star treatment by the way. And vegetarians; KEEP OUT.
If you think you know all about Falooda and have never tried one at Gianiji’s at Chandni Chowk, then my friend you don’t know Falooda at all. This famous shop established around the year 1947 at the bustling street sells the best Rabri Falooda in the world inarguable. Rich, creamy and sweet there’s nothing like a glass of chilled Falooda on a hot summer day. Upon tasting the mouth is an explosion of cardamom and pistachio blended with the right proportion which dance erratically upon the taste buds with delight. It would be easy to define Gianiji’s Falooda in one word – MOUTHGASM. Another notable eateries in Chandi Chowk are Ghantewala Halwal, the oldest sweet shop in India established in 1790 CE particularly famous for its Sohan Halwa; Jalebiwala which specializes in Jelebi, an excessively sweet delicacy fried in pure ghee(a diabetic hell) where one bite will need at least a five hours workout if you’re worried about your waistline and Paranthe Wali Gali noted for its series of shops selling paratha of various fillings. Is there not aspect of truth in the quote
“Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral or fattening.”
However the best place according to my opinion as where to get the best Jalebi in the whole of Delhi is at INA Market. There’s only one place which sells Jalebis at INA market and you will find that shop in the heart of the market. You can get 1 kg for Rs.200. Thick and gooey, not too sweet with a little hint of pistachio, the INA jelebis are impossible to resist – as taming a shrew.
You wanna know where they sell the best momo? Well I’ll tell you, its at Central Market, Lajpat Nagar. Located inconspicuously in one of the frenzied lanes of Central market where the street sounds and smells of street vendor, Dolma Aunty’s Momos served the best imagination tickling momo in Delhi. If you mistook it for a typical momo stall, you’d be positively surprised by the superb momo it served. It is here in this bitty outlet of depleted settings that I have found the culture of good traditional food served with friendly smile and honest people. The place is pack most of the time and on weekend its worst, not a surprise I suppose. There is a small metal stairs at the back of the stall which leads to an Indian restaurant(presumably) which was a dysfunctional beauty parlor once upon a time. These stairs served as seats and if you’re lucky you might get it otherwise be prepared to stand while hot tender momos are being served. The momos are fresh, mild and delicate and perished in your mouth in a gushing outburst of delightfulness. And not to forget, its simple homemade luscious tomato based, sautéed garlic sauce which adds spicy, pungent flavor to the already tasty momo. As a hot sauce connoisseur, I say without the slightest delay that I even love the potent garlic breath which follows. I do not say this to sound like a wine snob or to try and claim that my palate is tougher than yours, I say this to alert the world to a serious addiction that I have. One day, my tongue will shrivel up and disappear and my stomach will likely rot away because of this condition that I must live with, but TODAY my unique position as a self-proclaimed hot sauce expert will be to everyone’s benefit LOL. Back to the streets of Lajpat Nagar….You might have to wait as it is crowded most of the times but you’ll realized eventually that its worth the wait. Again the setting is nondescript but then one does not go to Dolma Aunty’s momo for the ambiance, but for the momo which is simply delicious( and at a reasonable price of course.) PS:I wanna die eating momos at Dolma Aunty’s 😀
Also salutations to Moti Mahal for its Daal Makhani and Murg Malai Tikka/ Yo Tibet for its Chowmein and a now defunct mobile chaat stall at the streets of Shadipur for its chaat. Hopefully I’ll get to write about them someday if I don’t die listening to Justin Bieber for too long :S which by the way is an actual proven way to kill any heterosexual man, if they do not commit suicide first 😀
And lastly strange providence has altered my fate as I left Delhi after six years of stay. My suppose-to-be short vacation turned out to be a permanent one . And now I endure…..I exist, I know this better than I know anything and finally found fulfillment in the things I learn.
“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.”
– Walt Whitman.
See you in December Delhi – Only this time as a tourist…Until then…