Connecting all foodies in India….
A food walk for a person who has always stayed in the city and is a true-blue Delhi-ite might sound a lil absurd but then it was the sequence of events and all the pit stops listed in the ‘More Than Just Curry’s tour plan that enticed me to take it up. And I couldn’t be more happy to have gone on the tour!
I met my coordinators, Gaurav and Diksha, at the Chandni Chowk Metro Gate No. 2 and knew then only that I would be well taken care of by the team. They offered me a mineral water bottle so that we stay hydrated during the trip. We then hopped on to a rickshaw and ventured into the most crowded lanes of Chandni Chowk – Fatehpuri. During our rickshaw ride, Gaurav kept dropping nuggets of information… why did the place get its name, how old is the history of it, how and why the trade markets found this place to be apt for carrying on the business and all.
Our first stop was at Haryana Paneer Bhandar where we got to taste some Masala Paneer. Little did I know that it was just the start of the amazing culinary tour I was on. We walked a little and that got us to Asia’s biggest Spice Market – Khari Baoli. The team was always alert and advised us not to encourage beggars on our trip. They were always watchful for the safety of the group. In the spice market as well, we were taken to a beautiful shop where they had an amazing variety of flavoured teas and masalas for Indian cooking. We were given ample time to interact with the shopkeepers and to make our purchases.
Happy with our spice shopping, we made an exit from the spice market and were then taken to Fatehpuri Mosque. As guided by Gaurav, we removed out footwear and walked with them in our hands as you are not even allowed to keep them on the floor. We were then briefed about the history of the mosque and shown around the mosque. We made an exit from the other gate which got us directly in front of the famed sweet shop, Chaina Ram Sindhi Confectioners, which also happened to be our next stop point. We were treated to some really flavoursome Aloo Kachori.
A short rickshaw ride from there got us to Haldiram’s, the mecca of street food. Here, we feasted on Samosas, Sweet Lassi and not-to-miss Gol Gappas. During the entire duration of the trip, our hosts were considerate enough to offer us hand sanitizers and tissues. At no point in time, did they compromise with the quality of food and made sure to stop at only places where hygiene was as important as food served. For the same reasons, while we were taken to the Parathewali Gali, it was not a stop point. Although no trip to Old Delhi is complete without going to this lane, but as the quality of food served has gone down remarkably, we just brisk passed them.
What waited us next was the most beautiful part of the tour – the Kinari Bazaar. I think most women would agree with me on that as no one can miss the bling that the place has to offer. I believe that Gaurav, our guide for the day, saw the sparkle in our eyes and told us that we could shop there at leisure and that we were in no hurry, something which not many tour operators do.
After making our way through the narrow lanes and shopping occasionally, we were hungry and were taken to this hidden gem – Haveli Dharampura. One would just not believe that this place actually exists in the midst of all this hustle and bustle of Old Delhi. The calm and cool environs were enough to set our hunger rolling. We were treated to some delicious food by the most courteous staff. Dining in here was like having a slice of royalty in modern chic cutlery.
Satiated with the food, we made way for our next stop, Jama Mazjid. We were informed initially itself to be dressed modestly so that we gel with the local crowd and thankfully so! Standing at the top of the flight of stairs of Jama Mazjid, we could see the world going by. All this while I used to think that I would never be able to go to that part of my city but it was all because of the team that I felt so comfortable and at ease that I could actually enjoy my experience. Even going to Karim’s was no more a taboo for me with the team. I could enjoy the Phirni from there of which I had heard about so much.
Finally we left that place and headed to Dariba Kalan, the silver market of Delhi. The artefacts were not only antique but were also unique. For me it was like a child standing in a candyland. Again, we shopped from many shops at our will and there was no force or anything from the Hosts to buy it from any particular shop that they had tie up with. The trip came to an end with our last stop at Gurudwara Sis Ganj.
I came back with many memories and stories which I can now tell to my friends!
Thoughtfully enough, the team had curated a surprise spice box for us as a souvenir.
Credit: Abhilasha A.