Feast on best of Delhi’s street food - under one roof

May 24th, 2010 - 11:49 am ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) The most sought after street food vends and regional cuisines - both from the old walled quarters and busy new bazaars of the metropolis - have for the first time come under one roof at their spiffy new address in south Delhi.

The brand new Food Chowk is spread across 18,500 square feet at the DLF Mall in Saket.

At the customer’s service is the Prince Paan - the popular betel kiosk from Greater Kailash - and King’s Kulfi from the Laxminagar market with their state-of-the-art interactive kitchen counters and smartly attired crew to cater to individual demands.

Jostling for attention at a stone’s throw lies Karim’s - the capital’s oldest and perhaps the best Muslim eatery from Jama Masjid, if the number of awards are anything to go by.

Diagonally positioned is Nizam’s, followed by the south Indian Sagar Ratna, Hyderabadi’s and Maharashtra Food from Dilli Haat; Kathi’s from Saket, Sabras from Jasola and Depaul’s from Connaught Place.

A Indian-Chinese vend Chowamee, an all-India chaat (mix fruits and vegetables) counter, Salad Chef, a salad bar from Vasant Vihar, a ‘parantha’ (Indian fried bread) enclosure from Chandni Chowk’s Paranthe Wali Gaali - the old capital’s official bread street - and Bijoli Grill from Kolkata adds to the funky nature of the spread.

“Moti Mahal, Nirula, Rajdhani and Nathu’s will soon join the gang with their Indian platters, sweetmeats and ice-creams,” said Arindam Kumar, vice-president (mall management) of DLF, pointing to empty enclosures which will begin operations next week.

The Food Chowk currently has 27 food stalls spread across 32 kiosk spaces.

Since the Food Chowk threw open its doors to people May 15, “Prince Paan and King’s Kulfi have been the highest grossers followed by Nizam’s and Karim’s”, divulged Kumar.

While Prince rolls almost all conceivable variety of Indian betel leaves with traditional aromatic condiments in regional styles amid a sterile germ-free ambience, King’s offers a fiesta of “malai kulfi” in two broad categories - traditional and fusion. The icy malai (frozen milk) sticks tout flavours as exotic as “gulab, paan (betel), mangoes, tutty-fruity and strawberry”.

“We are projecting a daily turnover of Rs.400,000. This is the first time the best of Delhi’s street food and regional cuisine represented by reputed brands have been brought under one roof for easy and safe access,” Kumar said, between mouthfuls of ‘chicken kabiraji cutlet’, a fried egg-and-chicken delicacy from Bengal.

The cutlet is a signature food of the Bijoli Grill, one of Kolkata’s fastest moving take-away catering facilities that has acquired a pan-Indian standing. It has established many vends in Delhi too.

The eatery, known for its varieties of batter-fried fish, has modified its menu to bring a slice of old Bengal to Delhiites at the Food Chowk.

“We have created a traditional Bengali ‘thaali’ (plate) with recipes sourced from the old homes of Kolkata. We serve it in copper-and-brass ware for the authentic Bengali gourmet experience,” a senior chef at the Bijoli Grill counter said.

The spread comprises “ghee-bhaat, plain rice, spicy lentils, mixed vegetables cooked Bengali style, kosha (dry and curried) mutton, Bhetki Paturi (sweet water bhetki fish rolls), tomato chutney (sweet tomato dip), papad (dry gram and lentils wafers) and misti doi (sweet yoghurt)”.

But one can always begin a traditional Bengali meal with a glass of cool kokum (a sweet and tangy fruit drink) from Maharashtra - the bestseller from the Maharashtra Food.

The 17-year-old Marathi eatery run by Vaishali Garge and her mother is known for its coolants (cooling sherbets), ‘thepla’, ‘pav bhaji’ and ‘puri-Shrikhand’.

But no meal - priced reasonably between Rs.250 and Rs.500 for two - at the Chowk is complete without a balmy malai kulfi (in iced sticks) and ‘paan’ from the counters.

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