The historic Walled city of Old Delhi, established by the Mughals, is famous not only for its heritage but the characteristic food it offers. Tourists & locals throng all year round to taste the delicious food offered by the street food stalls, old world Mughlai restaurants & sweet shops. During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, celebrated with equal fervor in Old Delhi, one of the major attractions for the visitors is the variety of Iftaar food (especially meat delicacies) that is available, along with the usual fare. For your reference, iftaar is the evening meal when fasting Muslims break their daily fast during the month of Ramadan.
This year, during the Ramadan month, me and the husband went on a gastronomic journey one evening in Old Delhi ~ on a Iftar food Walk. We covered Chawri Bazar, Jama Masjid & Matia Mahal during our 2 hours long food walk, relishing some usual street foods & discovering some special ones set up on the occasion of Iftar.
We started our walk at Chawri Bazar (which is a convenient starting point as there is Metro Station here), which has some wonderful vegetarian street foods. My first stop was Ashok Chat Corner, located just outside Gate no. 3 of chawri Bazar Metro Station; the various types of chaats, golgappas & tikkis here are just awesome, easily the best in Delhi as far as I am concerned.
I had the Golgappe Pakori Bhar Ke, it was yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!
We walked ahead, to another favorite shop of mine – Jugal Kishore Ramji Lal Chaat Vale, which sells a characteristic chaat only available at this part of Delhi ~ Kuliya Di Chaat. It’s deliciously tangy and healthy, as made out of various vegetables & fruits.
After having the chaats, I was full and the husband now decided that it was his turn to have some real (read non-vegetarian) food, so we moved ahead to Jama Masjid mosque area. The mood at Jama Masjid was both festive & high on energy. Inside the Jama Masjid, families had gathered on mats, laid out their Iftaar food, waiting for the azaan (evening prayer call) to break their fast & pray.
Out side the masjid, the Matia Mahal street (which is the main street to check out for Iftar Food) was buzz with people. There were many street shops selling dried fruits (dates, cashewnuts, kishmish, etc) & dried Sewai (semolina noodles); both of these are consumed in huge quantities during Iftar & also on Eid.
Once inside the Matia Mahal street, the husband chose to have evening meal at Al Jawahar restaurant, which serves Mughlai cuisine (more rightly Delhi Mughlai cuisine). There is the more renowned Karim’s restaurant adjacent to it, but husband always prefers the flavors of Al Jawahar. He had chicken stew & tandoori Roti (flat bread) & we shared Sheer Mal (which is a characteristic Mughlai sweet bread).
We were literally up to our mouths after the Al Jawahar meal. We came out and were attracted by the delicious scent of fresh kebabs being grilled, but had to give it a miss as there was no room for any more food. We walked over to a small sweet stall, which was selling desserts; we opted for a small portion of Shahi Tukda. There was Phirni (another kind of dessert) & flavored milk also available here.
We had enough food by now, however, just for checking out, we decided to move ahead a bit inside Matia Mahal street. We came across some street stalls selling shakes – water melon & apple. Curious, we tried the water melon shake and it was refreshing!! We were glad to have explored a little further.
At the end of the shake, we were in gastronomic heaven. Also, we were so stuffed that even walking was difficult for us; so we hired a cycle rickshaw and started on the long way back home.
The holy month of Ramadan this year, is till Eid (on 9th August, 2013) and if you are in Delhi, it is one experience I would recommend trying out. One can also go on a gastronomic journey through Old Delhi all times of the year, but Old Delhi Iftar Food walk is special!!
P.S. If you are interested about Old Delhi Heritage & Food Walk at other times of the year, you can check out my post on the same here.