Paharganj I: Korea on the cheap

Enter the dimmed confines of Dokebi Nara and it will take you places. You could be anywhere in the world once you are seated next to the dense-graffiti-laden walls. Hell, bring along a felt-pen and make your mark, as Korean Pop blasts through the speakers. You would be most welcome.

In it's own inimitable style, Delhi manages to throw up culinary surprises, every weekend. So it was last week that the Hipposaur was advised by a friend to check out the eating joints dotting the firangi by-lanes at Paharganj. And so he got together two other lost souls (Let's call then Jabbasaur and Bella, for fun) and after a quick Internet trawl (via Delhi Walla) they found nirvana, and kimchee in Paharganj.
Now Paharganj is this sleepy little locality, a few minutes away from the bulging heart of the city (Connaught Place, for the uninitiated). A combination of Jat-style abundance of bovines, garish shops selling local kitsch and a bunch of cheap places to eat. But mind you, the culinary offerings at Paharganj extend beyond the Dilli-Mughlai variety of food. While you'll get some half-decent tourist friendly lassis and curries, the real story unfolds in the tiny lanes and even smaller by-lanes in this melting pot of civilisations.

This episode of the Paharganj story, however begins in a tiny joint that only serves Korean food. Thanks to a steady flow of Korean tourists in this part of the world, the unpretentious restaurant on the second floor of the dilapidated back-alley building chugs along. To make your Korean experience even better, the friendly Nepali waiter, Sudeep, speaks in broken English. And (we're not quite sure why) they even feature a poster of the film, Jodhaa Akbar.

The story gets better, as they'll serve you a pint of beer for 60 Rupees. Their kimchee is strong, and their unpronounceable pork dishes are to die for. You'll get sticky rice on the side and while you're at it, you could also ask for their take on the sushi, available for a steal at 100 Rupees.

Oh, and there's a bunch of travel guides, comic books and novels (all in Korean, naturally) in a dusty little corner too.

Perchance you are in a mood to party, they'll let you order a bottle of Korean Soju. Dokebi Nara also happens to be smoker friendly. Reason enough for you to head there and soak in a bit of Korea in Dilli, the Hipposaur reckons.

Directions: Nearest Metro: Rajiv Chowk / RK Marg
Reach the Main Bazar at Paharganj, head to the T junction, where Ramdwara Road meets Main Bazaar Road. Ask for Navrang Hotel. You will be directed to a lane north of the Main Bazaar Road at the junction. When you reach Navrang, head to the second floor in the building and follow the signs that would read, quite simply, 'Korean Restaurant'. Get in and start ordering.

Map courtesy Google Maps: Approximate location indicated:


P@ul@mi said...

sounds completely amazing. specially the comic book collection. will make a trip this lifetime for sure.

Fully grown fuzzy Hipposaur said...

Thanks kiddo. More weekend haunts to come soon!

P@ul@mi said...

yes yes. Hyderabad er tao pls bolo. Just one more sem to go. have to cover a lot.

Anonymous said...

I like how the title says Paharganj I. To more such discoveries! *clinks imaginary champagne glasses*

Hipposaur and Jabbasaur are making me like Delhi! :D

- Bella *grumble grumble*

Spin said...

I love that sweet and sour pork thing and the sushi and the kimbap but Soju is the best thing about Koeran Cafe. I didn't know it had a name.
I ate at all three places you've blogged about in the last one week or so, Yo Tibet for the first time. Next time try the Cheese curry, it's called Dhashi or somesuch. And I really miss the Nagaland stall, do you know where I can find bambooshoot pickle in Calcutta?

Fully grown fuzzy Hipposaur said...


Bamboo shoot pickle in Calcutta? No idea, really. You could try your luck at one of the State houses, perhaps.

And yes, the cheese curry is called Aerma Dashi, Hipposaur intends to try it out soon. Thanks for the good words!

Prabal said...

Bhalo likhecho...My birthplace is Paharganj only...I had grownn up in these alleys but somehow I never got to write...Nice pieces you have..Keep it up

Anonymous said...

"also happens to be smoker friendly. Reason enough for you to head there..."? Unfortunately 'smoker friendly'(which means living organisms unfriendly)is the case for most of this part of the world, where most of the people remain ignorant of the negative effects of that vile shit on themselves and others. Yet I'm always amazed at how Westerners who come here seem thrilled at the prospect of being allowed to poison those around them. Since cigarette smokers neither respect themselves nor anyone else I regard them with the utmost contempt.

Fully grown fuzzy Hipposaur said...

For your thoughts Prabal, thank you.

Anon, While I respect your views; nice try. I can pick up a troll when I see one.

Natasha said...

Please do you have the name or e mail from the Dokebi Nara restaurant? im from Brazil and i lost his e mail...thank you my facebook contact is natascha .naga

Frequent Traveller said...

Nice write-up on Paharganj. Thank you for sharing. I wish to share an article on Paharganj too. Hope you people like it.