Area around Jama Masjid in Old Delhi had been a favourite among foodies in Delhi-NCR during the month of Ramzan, in pre-Covid times. (Photo: Amal KS/HT (For representational purposes only))
Area around Jama Masjid in Old Delhi had been a favourite among foodies in Delhi-NCR during the month of Ramzan, in pre-Covid times. (Photo: Amal KS/HT (For representational purposes only))

Ramzan food walks: Go solo or in small groups, prefer city foodies

For Old Delhi food walks this Ramzan, there are fewer takers, and utmost safety precautions put in place, as per walk conductors from Delhi-NCR.
By Naina Arora, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON APR 11, 2021 06:29 PM IST

‘Are you doing a solo or a group walk’, ‘How crowded is Old Delhi at present?’ are some of the questions that heads of popular food groups are answering these days, as they take in queries for Ramzan food walks in Old Delhi, amid the fresh rise in Covid 19 cases. From an increased interest in solo walks to demand for more intimate groups, foodies, this Ramzan (starting 12 April 2021), are opting to keep it a low-key affair, to be safe and yet indulge in pleasures of the palate.

Night curfew is tricky

“Since Ramzan is all about eating post dusk and pre dawn, it’s going to be a tricky affair with the night curfew in place, and Sehri happening at the same time,” opines Shivendu Mittal, from Gurgaon Foodies, who is planning a few walks during Ramzan. “I’m getting requests from single individuals and couples, and we’ll be planning a few food walks exclusively for them during this time. But, it’s only going to be post Navratri. If I allow everybody, the group can become as large as 30 people. Since the eateries in Old Delhi are very small, even if I go with a group, it will have less than six people,” adds Mittal.

Prabhjot Singh, from a food group named Foodkars, says he’s yet to finalise the location for Ramzan walks that will be either Jama Masjid or Nizamuddin. “Since there‘s a night curfew, people are a little worried this time around to venture out far. So, we’ll only plan walks with closed members from the community. And it’ll be surely after Navratri,” says Singh.

Paushali Lass, a food entrepreneur from Germany who has grown up in Delhi, opted for a solo food walk during the pandemic.
Paushali Lass, a food entrepreneur from Germany who has grown up in Delhi, opted for a solo food walk during the pandemic.

Going solo has pros

Paushali Lass, a food entrepreneur from Germany who has grown up in Delhi, opted for a solo food walk during the pandemic. She says, “My main reason for doing a solo walk was that I wanted to get inspiration for myself, and that I wasn’t seeking a touristy experience. Going solo had the great advantage that I was given individual attention, and my ever curious mind could ask tons of questions, which the walk conductor very kindly answered. It was also the right thing to do during a pandemic as there was less of an issue of maintaining social distance with any other tour participant. He was also very careful with all safety precautions and we sanitised our hands ever so often. All in all, a great experience and I will be back for more.”

Anubhav Sapra, from Delhi Food Walks, concurs that the walks this year will be for smaller groups, and adds: “We recently conducted a walk for a solo person in Kamla Nagar. She booked another walk in CR Park... Whether the walk is for one person or a group, it takes four hours in total. And for a food walk, you need people to stand close to each other. Gol gappe bhi kha rahe hain, kebab hi kha rahe hai, so one can’t expect ki 10 logon ko dur dur khada karo kyunki jagah hi kitni hoti hai!”

Ramit Mitra, from DelhiByFoot, says he has received queries for solo walks and from a group of friends, for a walk in a small group. But no extensive plans like previous years.
Ramit Mitra, from DelhiByFoot, says he has received queries for solo walks and from a group of friends, for a walk in a small group. But no extensive plans like previous years.

Food is good, but place is crowded

“Obviously Old Delhi is the most crowded in the city!” says Ramit Mitra, from DelhiByFoot, while answering one of the queries over phone. When asked about his plans, he adds, “We’ve got enquiries from solo, bunch of friends, and small groups. But the crowds at Old Delhi are discouraging most people who are enquiring. We tell them ‘It’s your choice’ but do assure that food is clean and hygienic. I feel there would be barely any walks this year for Ramzan, and know that it’s a big hole in the whole set of walks in our annual calendar!”

For Pawan Soni, who runs the foodie group called Gurgaon Food Freak, there’s not much option but to take in requests for solo people for Ramzan walks near Jama Masjid. “Given the volume of people and the increasing Covid cases, we’ll be in an uncontrolled environment where many people won’t be wearing masks and we’ll also have to pull down our masks to eat. So, it looks like we’ll either totally avoid the Ramzan walks this year or will go in groups of just four to five close members. The night curfew is another factor that might impact us all together. There have been a few requests so far, and as soon as we announce on the group that we are going for a walk, many more interested will surely join in!”

Author tweets @Nainaarora8

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