Places to eat are really much more than mere eateries in Delhi. The newcomer exploring the city will soon discover old establishments like Karim and New Jawahar nestling under the shadow of the grand Jama Masjid deservedly famous for Moguliya qorma, ishtew, nihari and barra kebab paired with fresh khamiri roti. The greatest joy is that the fare is affordable for a student on a shoestring budget – half plates can be ordered.
Matka Pir in the vicinity of Pragati Maidan is the place for biryani and many small stalls like Ghalib’s serve delectable seekh kebab in Basti Nizamuddin. Late night birds can gorge on Punjabi masala/ kadhahi dishes at Pindi and Gulati at Pandara Road. But be warned as you penetrate deeper in the southern part of the Capital, prices rise steadily.
The outer circle of Connaught Place, aka Rajiv Chowk has Kakeda, National and Glory – all affordable and delightful (in the right weather) for street-side splurging of mostly meaty and some vegetarian ‘Delhicacies’ that don’t burn a hole in the pocket. And if it is chaat that you pine for, Bengali Market is the place. Take your pick from Nathu’s and Bengali Sweet House and you can’t go wrong. We on our part miss the old times when take-away and thali hadn’t crowded out papri chaat and tikki shikki, but times they are a-changing.
For wannabe culture vultures, Triveni Kala Sangam is a landmark destination. It has maintained the quality of its paratha, kebab and keema over the years and the price isn’t steep for an occasional treat.
To combat home-sickness nothing can match a visit to the state houses –Andhra Bhawan and Sikkim House are extremely popular with a cosmopolitan clientele.
Parathas under Moolchand flyover, momos in Yashwant Place and Tib Dhabs at Majnu ka Tila should be tried once at least. Open almost round the clock, Ganga Dhabha and Mogul Durbar run by the gourmet owner-manager Tauseef Miyan as well as the 24x7 food court at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are well worth a long Metro ride and harassing bus transfers from far-flung areas. Mamu has an enchanting dhaba right behind the (JNU) administrative block that serves exceptional food – including a Bihari thali – at amazing prices.
Pushpesh Pant, who retired from Jawaharlal Nehru University as professor of international relations, is a food columnist and an author of cookbooks, including India that lists more than 1,000 recipes from around the country