Winter is the best time to explore and enjoy the night life of Delhi. For foodies like me winter brings an opportunity to relish the dizzying range of street food. Imagine having a hot ” kadak” chai with anda parathas ( egg parathas) of Moolchand paranthewala near Moolchand flyover close to vikram hotel at 12 in the night or for that matter any parathas at Jain ka dhaba in CP. The piping hot parathas with a dollop of butter is the best sight on a cold foggy winter night. The only other warmth that one feels is that of friends.
It is an amazing experience to drive along the dark roods of the capital with a few close friends amidst laughter, jokes, music and chitchat. I can never forget the amazing time we used to have all covered in colorful woolens, with a pre mix ready in the car ..(BTW a premix is either rum n cola or vodka and 7up) stopping by the roadside dhabha and eating scrumptious Dal makhani, parathas , tandoori chicken and many such sinful delights.
The night adventures are not for the diet conscious. I remember heading for Dhabas at Murthal (on NH1 after sonipat). Though they serve only veg food it is worth the drive. In fact there are quite a few very good dhabas that are open all night near Delhi Gurgaon border and Kapashera Border. At one time the Kapashera border dhabas used to serve ‘bater’(quail) also which is banned now.
Our favorite joint used to be “Chinar” at Delhi Gurgaon Border. The food, ambience and service is great. We had some memorable late light gatherings there. It sure is a big hit with BPO crowd and hoteliers who head for a relaxed meal after a gruelling work shift.
The remembrance of the trips made to places outside indian oil building for parathas still make me nostalgic. For anda parathas green park was the favorite place. we also went to Comsum just outside Nizamuddin Railway station. Though it doesn’t qualify in the street food category but when you want food at 3:30 am that’s the place to be in.
Nizamuddin area is heaven for those who love non- vegetarian food. For mouth-watering mutton tikkas, shammi kebaabs and seekh kebaabs and sweet Phirni in a clay platter is worth a try. There are so many great food joints here that one should really brave the rush and find the one which suits our needs. On Thursdays apart from great food one can even catch some Qawwalis session at Nizamuddin Darghah along with sinfully delightful qormas, biryanis etc.
One place I loved to go and still do is “Ganga Dhaba ” at JNU campus. Like my friend used to say ” this dhaba is world-famous in Delhi “. It sure is my kind of place.A battleground for all sort of intellectual debates, a hot spot during university elections, a perfect relaxation joint for friends. The place has it all. The wholesome parathas, endless cups of chai , Alloo bonda, pakodas and shikanji ( sweet or salted lemon water) in summers under the night sky is an unforgettable experience.
A trip down memory lane takes me to the galees and kuchas of Chandini Chawk. Kareem’s( since 1913), Parathewali gali, and many of Delhi’s oldest and most famous food joints are in the walled city and in the days of Ramadan the place is buzzing with food lovers. The sight is enough to put you in a dizzying aromatic experience. Parathewali Gali has the most amazing concoctions of a paranthas ranging from Plain paranthas, salted or sweet paranthas, dal (pulses) ka parantha, gobhi ka parantha (minced cauliflower), radish parantha, pudina parantha (mint), popadom parantha, cashew nut parantha – the variety is endless. One even gets a sinful 16 layered paratha with butter and dahi or lassi .. Nirvana for someone who loves her food.
A night stroll near Jama Masjid can get you to some amazing food places.The place warms up for a long evening at the time when birds are returning to their homes on the lush trees in the area and shopkeepers, tired from their work, are pulling up the shutters for the night. The aroma of sumptuous fish tikkas, kebabs,mutton qormas, biryanis, Haleem, and in sweets jalebis, firni(rice pudding) in earthen bowls and sevion ka muzzaffar fill the night air, luring you to the hundreds of hand carts and small shops with 300 watt bulbs and colorful banners. The hustle bustle refuses to die down even at the mid night hour. By 1:30 slowly and unwillingly the foodies bid farewell to this place and the silent shadows of night take over the streets.
I feel nostalgic writing this post. Some of the most memorable moments of my life were spent roaming the lanes and by lanes of Delhi with friends , an experience which is etched in my heart forever.