Paharganj II: the Epic edition

You could have called it a stroke of very good luck, or the result of manic hunger pangs. Either way, there were six hungry souls, and there was Paharganj. At a time when the winter chill is about to blanket Delhi (NCR included, you're welcome), the Hipposaur, and a bunch of merry pranksters (apologies, Mr Kesey) that included old timer Jabbasaur, Bellasaur, who discovered her superpowers (she blushes at will; someday she'll save the world), a senior, who shall be called Seniorsaur, and the academic found themselves in a metro, en route RK Ashram Marg. It was a chilly Saturday, the sun was out, and everyone was very hungry.

Now Paharganj, for the uninitiated is the starting point for every neo-hippie / backpacker / casual tourist who intends on getting a taste of the subcontinent.

Predictably, over the years Paharganj has absorbed a whole universe of cultures from Israel, North America, parts of Europe, to the more recent influx of tourists from Korea.

The nett result: a bubbling cauldron India for sale on every cornershop, New age spiritualism, soft drugs, second hand book stores, and adorably kitschy handicrafts packed tight along the main road.

The narrowest bovine-infested lanes imaginable, teeming with backpackers, pimps, sellers of every kind imaginable, travel guides, beggars, juice stalls, vegetable peels, smoking instruments.

All packed tight in few square kilometres. All the clichés that you could ask for. But of course, there's all that great food.

The day began on a slow note, bang on the main bazaar Road at Madan Café. This was a very literal place. They took their menu very literally. It was past noon, a situation that soon resulted in orders for mountains of chocolate pancakes and coffee. When the mountain of pancakes were demolished, Seniorsaur figured she should order an ice cream soda. And that's exactly what she got. A glass, half-filled with vanilla ice cream, and a bottle of soda water.

After this, umm, interesting encounter with the soda bottle, it was time for lunch. Further down the main bazaar road, they fished out Appetite (via Delhiwalla). Low on pretension, high value offerings - that's all that's on offer at this cane-chair lined eating joint, right off the main bazaar. Soon, they were joined by Flowerdude, and began their meal.

The grilled chicken arrived with its own little bowl of honey-butter dressing. It was heavenly.

A heap of avocado salad made its way to the table, followed by a robust yak-cheese salad and a Spanish breakfast platter of eggs, toast and some sort of potato.

By now, the merry bunch were a little full, and so they decided to walk about for a bit. No dearth of things to see, so that was never a problem. Then Jabbasaur proposed a pilgrimage to Sam's Cafe.

Israeli-style Schnitzel, with hummus on the side accompanied a bunch of salads. They ate for an hour or so. The late afternoon sun was a soft golden glow. Next up, the cheapest watering hole in all of Paharganj: My Bar.

Two hours, many assorted drinks later, the giggling bunch made their way through the bazaar. As evening set in, a final stop at Dokebi Nara completed the monster sized eat out that was Paharganj. They'll probably end up loving Dilli, after all.


Anonymous said...

I love Delhi... all that food! can I come?

Fully grown fuzzy Hipposaur said...

Yes, you may :)

ramya sriram said...

Oh damn! I just got back from a ten day trip to Delhi.. missed this. Should have read this earlier.

P@ul@mi said...

me too missed this and the korean place too :(

adrian de la cruz said...

my name is srinath rao. i'm a journalism student and i'm doing a research project on continental food in paharganj. it's a comprehensive 4000-story for The Indian Express. i'd like speak to you about your experiences eating out in paharganj and include your views. i'd like to get in touch with you as soon as possible.