South Delhi is usually the reference point for shopping in Central Market, South Extension or eating at restaurants in Hauz Khas. One doesn’t really associate street food with this part of the city. But we discovered a few – four to be precise – eating joints around Lajpat Nagar on a recent food bus tour with Seek Sherpa, a company that conducts tours and walks in Delhi and other states.
Various city-based groups have been conducting heritage and history walks for almost a decade now. But the trend of food tours is relatively new.
We board the bus outside Hauz Khas metro station gate number 3 at 6 in the evening. After brief introductions, Akash Ahuja from Seek Sherpa tells us about the four food joints we will be visiting in the next three hours. “Traditionally, Old Delhi, particularly Chandni Chowk, has been synonymous with street food. But that area is not that easily accessible for everyone. Plus, it is already so well known. We wanted to show people a place that is equally lively but not very far for South Delhi and NCR residents,” said Akash.
Here is how his team zeroed in on the places to visit. Initially, they consulted well-known food bloggers and shortlisted around 50 food outlets. Then they independently visited these places to finalise eateries that were light on the pocket, offered tasty food that was a good mix of traditional and unconventional.
Watch: A south Delhi food trail
Akash and his colleague did a head count of vegetarians and non-vegetarians on the tour. The idea was to place the orders before we reached a food joint. When 18 people reach a place is like, it’s almost like owning it.
We walk around 500 meters from the bus to reach our first stop, Hunger Strike in Amar Colony. There’s no place to sit here. But that is irrelevant. There are families, couples and students at what is clearly a popular food outlet. But be warned, parking is a problem here.
We tried their USP: tandoori momos (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian). Served fresh out of the tandoor, they were served with a yoghurt-based gravy and onion.
N FOR NAAN
Our second stop was at the intriguingly-named Sanjay Chur Chur Naan. As a child, Sanjay Abbot disliked the stuffed parathas his mother used to cook. Gradually, he developed a taste for naan and that is what he offers at his restaurant near the Moolchand metro station. Abbot believes that if the naan is good, you don’t need any accompanying vegetables. “You need nothing except butter, ghee and achaar. But I serve naan with vegetables as people expect it,” he said.
The outlet offers nine varieties of naan including Aloo Pyaaz, Nutrela and Amul Cheese. But the most famous is Mix Veg Naan that we ate. It is low on spices and perfectly baked. For Rs 90, it is value for money.
The third food spot on the tour, Afghan Darbar, can be a blind spot of sorts for shoppers in Central Market. We suggest you ask for Afghan Colony to reach this restaurant. Unlike our first two stops, this was a proper dining restaurant with predominantly Afghani customers. It was hard to miss the Afghanistan map on the wall behind the reception.
The menu, a mix of Afghan and Mughlai food, was divided into kababs and curries.
We tried their signature dish – the Mutton Chopan Kabab. Unlike the minced meat kababs that we are familiar with, this consisted of a skewer of marinated tender lamb pieces marinated in sauce and charboiled with a touch of ground sumac. We suggest you dump the khameeri rotis and eat only kabab. Order a beverage if you find it too dry.
Our last stop was walking distance from Afghan Darbar. Why include two Afghan restaurants as part of the tour? “Originally, our fourth stop used to be an outlet in Hauz Khas. But we realized that by the time people reached there, they were quite tired. We decided to have the last two food joints close to each other. We stop here for dessert,” said Akash.
That is probably a good thing since the menu at Mazaar was remarkably similar to Afghan Darbar’s. The dessert on offer was Sheer Yakh, Afghan ice cream, a blend of kulfi and sheer. It was quite heavy. We suggest you leave some space for this one.
Price for bus-tour: Rs 900 per person.
When: Every Sunday.
For bookings: Call 9643982934