Note: This post has some hindi content spelled in english. If you’re not aware of it; search the web for more details.
Navratri marks fasting for some people and may be only garba-dandiya for others.
But anyone who has experienced what is described in this post would top it on his/her list.
The place to be during Navratri is Chandni Chowk, New Delhi.
Basically, there are huge empty spaces that are setup to host a carnival funded by the local business holdings.
Each carnival (locally known as “Baarhaa”) hosts raamlila , entertainment swings and food. Shri Dharmik Leela is supposed to be the oldest Raamlila of Delhi. Entry to carnival is either by a pass or first come first serve. Visiting on a weekday and for an early dinner must be considered. Also, prefer any mode of transport to a self driven car. Though Raamlila and swings are worth for a one time experience; it will be the food that will tempt you to visit this place every year. The following chain of events will describe the ultimate food safari experience i have had at these carnivals for the last three years. In a simple sentence, the carnival hosts the best delicacies of old delhi; all in one place. Though all items are over priced; it is still worth every penny.
The first stop is at “Loten Ji Chholey Kulchey”. Awesome choley with red chilly paste. There is something different and you would not have had anything similar to this before. Dare the spicy one. Also serving at the stall is Chholey Water. This is deadly.
Next stop should be gola chusky and ordering the sweet one is advised. You need something sweet to mellow down the spicy effect. 🙂
Moving ahead, checkout options at the famous chaat stalls. Give the gol gappa’s a pass and try the following :
After this, fruits should be a good option to cool the heat. The dish to have is called “Fruit Kulley”. Basically, its a small bucket prepared from fruits/vegetables. Filled with spices,beans,lemon juice and served.
There are other stalls serving north indian dishes , special amritsari thali and veg kathee. All these are very ordinary and can be skipped. Exit the stalls and head for “Daulat ki chaat” i.e. a delicacy made of whipped cream. Also try the white butter samosa(makhan ke samosey). This will be too much of sweet and hence the “Kanji Wadda” will be an apt option. The halwai chowmein is worth a shot as well. Again, something unique and not available everywhere.
If you’re done with all stalls; then the place to stop for sometime is “Kuremal Kulfee”. This shop is patent to serve the most amazing flavors in kulfee. It starts with the roller kulfee with real fruit extracts and ends with astonishing flavors like jaamun , anar and falsaa. Hog as much you want to for the deserts.
Lastly, stop at Rehman Ali’s pan shop.
Overall its an amazing foodie experience being here. If you want to try each and every food item served; you need to do a marathon and visit the carnival for at least 3-4 days. I am planning to do the marathon next year :).
Fun fact to end the post; “I have heard that people visit this carnival all 9 days and there is no dinner prepared at their homes. Its the carnival food stalls that serve them; Crazy :)”.