What happens in the Walled City.
The food lover’s paradise as seen by our eyes.
Delhi is definitely a foodie’s paradise, and the walled part of the city no doubt seems to be oldest and full of most iconic food joints. This part of the capital in particular won’t let you sleep hungry, serving food round the clock. Even those who call them masters of cooking would find the taste in the streets that can make them feel an amateur in the art. During my stay in Delhi I scouted the streets and corners for the ultimate taste destination and found myself in great confusion when I visited Old Delhi. On behalf of Mr Button I bring you five of the best food hubs of Old Delhi.
Haji Shabrati Nihari Wale
The word Nihar originated from the Arabic word “Nahar” which means “day” as it was typically served after sunrise Fajr prayers. But, here in South asian countries we have got such a craving for food, that the time, even if the dish has got the serving time in it’s name, we care little. In old Delhi you can find an old eatery (est: 1954, the board reads 1957 respecting the licensing). The looks of the place won’t be liked by many, but you are here for food not the view. Moreover, the food is such that you will find atonement when you take the first bite of the stew, with the freshly baked naans.
Kake Di Hatti
As the name suggests, this hotel is your ultimate Punjabi food destination. Naan laced with desi ghee and butter, the sheer smell of strong spices in the air is what would describe the place close to perfection. The food is very affordable and the quantity they offer would remind you of your mother, how much she wants you to eat. The Amritsari Kulcha has a reputation of feeding 2 people and the “Dhuandaar” naan lives upto the name by making you call for dessert, that’s why you’ll find my next destination a bliss.
Giani’s Di Hatti
The place where it all began, whether you call it Giani or Giani’s this is a traditional brother business. This outlet in particular is more about Rabri-Faluda, Giani Gurcharan Singh a traditional sweets maker from Layallpur now Faislabad, Pakistan came here after partition to start a new business, so he made desserts available to the commoners which were not affordable at that time the quality ingredients used are the the main USP. I’m not actually the Faluda person but the Kulfi always gets me.
Old Famous Jalebi Wala
This place in particular may ignite one’s food craving, Nemi Chand Jain, a native of Agra’s Hari Ki Garhi village came to Delhi in 1905 and started this shop. The recipe they use is a result of several experiments and till now remains a secret, well kept by the family. One secret known to me and some other food enthusiasts is that, the jalebis are not drenched in sugar solution instead a much purer form “khand” is used The jalebis themselves are quite big in size weighing in and around 100 gms each. Atop this they have their own set of buffaloes to assure you that they use only pure dairy products.
Established in 1913 by Haji Karimuddin, the son of Mohammad Aziz who was a royal cook in under Mughal rulers. Haji karimuddin wanted to earn fame and money by serving royal food to the common man. In the beginning the “Dhaba” only served “Aloo Gosht” and “Daal” with rumali roti, but now the cuisine seems endless. The oldest of Karim’s in Kababian gali of Jama Masjid, has it’s own aura it feels as if you have time travelled back in the time.The Chicken Biriyani combined with chicken Mughlai is worth the trip to narrow streets of old Delhi. People comment that the “Dastarkhwan-e-Karim” is losing it’s old taste over the years, but mark my words if the food that you are getting now is of lesser flavour, then Haji Karimuddin must have learnt the recipes from angels themselves, an aroma so mesmerizing that you are not gonna forget it till the end of days.
For me the quest for ultimate food never ends, these five are what I think are a must visit on your trip to the “Shahjahanabad” now known as old Delhi. Please note that the above mentioned are only the toppers in a never ending list. The architecture is old and crumbling but the men who carry the legacy of the food district forward are too determined to let go. For me this part of town has got it’s own holy vibe for the food fanatics, it should not change rather it should remain as it is. After all, this is the essence of Old Delhi that the future generations should not miss.
Words by Mr. Mohammed Ali Raza
Junior Content Associate at MR BUTTON
All images have been sourced from Pinterest.