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Moon in Chandni Chowk

Rashmi Uday Singh’s
Good Food Guide

Rashmi Uday Singh takes food connoisseurs and novices alike through the narrow but illustrious streets of the much-acclaimed Chandni Chowk to get the real taste of Delhi

Chandni chowk
  • Old famous Jalebiwala, Shop no 1795. Dariba corner, Chandni Chowk
  • Chaina Ram, 6499, Fatehpuri Chowk
  • Makhan Lal Tika Ram, 1259-60 Bara Bazar, Kashmere Gate
  • Mahalaxmi Mishtan Bhandar, 659 Church Mission Road, Fatehpuri

Come join me on a walk back in time. Let’s get a taste of the previous centuries as we zigzag our way through the gallis of Old Delhi's historic Chandni Chowk. Should you have the time and the inclination then you must give your tastebuds a treat. Today I take you into the vegetarian treasure-trove.

Mouthwatering food overflows into the streets (and I am not talking about the hackneyed “parathewalle galli”), aromas and flavours infuse the crammed gallies, which you have to share with the cows and cycles and rickshaws. And to think that Chandni Chowk was named because a stream flowed through the middle of the area and the silvery moonlight on it gave it this name! Shahjehan's romantic soul must surely be in distress to see the traffic overrun place today, but his gourmet spirit must be smiling!

Guiding me through this delicious journey is Gunjan Goela. Hailing from an illustrious old Delhi family (pioneering horologues) she knows the streets like the back of her hand.

First, I recommend you do what Pandit Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri did - stop at the Old famous Jalebiwalla and kickstart your journey with plump, sweet jalebis, made in pure ghee (what else?). Enjoy the mutter ke samose too. Tucked into the wall of the Fatehpuri mosque is the 125-year old Chaina Ram and these are the best aloo cholley and puris I have had in my life. Piping hot, layered with flavour, the aloo and cholley are topped off with a chutney. Cooked in pure ghee (again!). Harish Gidwani's great grandfather's name was Chaina Ram and till today his fabulous recipes are drawing throngs of crowds.

We stop by for some luscious, thick lassi (made in an antique brass contraption) at the 100-year old Makhan Lal Tikka Ram. He sells milk in large glasses, but I can't stand milk and so move on. Gunjan regales me with stories and folklore and I can't make up my mind whether the food is more delicious or the stories. You must end with the rabdi falooda of Giani Icecream and the dreamlike ‘Daulat ki chaat’ made with milk froth and sweetened, on a moonlit night. Yeh hai Chandni Chowk meri jaan!

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