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Street Food

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5 replies to this topic

#1 mbjesq

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 03:25 AM

The most satisfying eating in India is on the street. I would love to collect recommendations and hear recollections of truly great street food from various corners of the country.

I've posted on street food in Pondicherry, pani poori in Bandra, and Ramazan evening feasts in Pune.

Kathi rolls in Kolkata, kulcha in Amritsar, lassi in Jaipur, parotta in Trivandrum... where's the best to be had?

#2 percyn

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 12:45 PM

have you tried Kailash Prabhat in Colaba (and other locations) for their Pani Puri, Dhai Puri and best Falooda Kulfi?

How about the roadside kebab stalls?

Edited by percyn, 10 September 2007 - 12:48 PM.

#3 mbjesq

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 08:42 PM

have you tried Kailash Prabhat in Colaba (and other locations) for their Pani Puri, Dhai Puri and best Falooda Kulfi?

How about the roadside kebab stalls?

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I have indeed tried Kailash Prabhat. Which roadside kebab stalls? My favorite place in South Bombay is in Khala Ghoda, just past the synagogue (turn down the street at Rhythm House. I can never remember the name of the joint, but it is only open at night.

Best falooda kulfi is saying something! Do they use Parsi Dairy Farm kulfi?

#4 mcdowell

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 10:40 PM

I was completely overwhelmed on my first visit to Delhi. We had toured Red Fort and, against the very strong advice of the 'escort' our hosts had arranged for us, decided to walk the surrounding streets. This was the middle of the afternoon on a warm April day, just this past spring.

I'm a big man. Just over six foot tall and built like a middle linebacker. My hair is very blond, and in April I had it long and in a ponytail. I was dressed like the Texan I am, short pants and a comfortable cotton shirt. It was hot after all.

We walked down a crowded alley, my travel buddy and I, pointing ourselves towards the domes of Jama Masjid. I could smell the food cooking somewhere up the street, it was quite pervasive, and I was following my nose. Tired of too many nights of bland hotel food, I wanted what everyone else was eating. So we headed out to find it.

What I didn't expect was the reaction that our appearance caused -- people would quite literally stop and stare, nudge their buddy and point at the overfed American with the long blond hair. I wasn't sure how to feel about it, but quickly realized just how out of place my appearance was. On this day, I was the only white face that I noticed (at least outside of the fort and temple). So I rolled with it.

A one-legged boy came up and offered to be our guide (the first of probably 20 such encounters), but our escort showed his weapon and shooed the kid away. That was the second thing that struck me, the breadth of beggers and available 'guides', and how even little children would hold babies and head towards the rare white faces, asking for spare rupees.

We pushed through the crowds around Red Fort and the Jain Temple, past the stalls of the seemingly ubiquitous trinkets and cheap electronics, to discover alley after alley packed with stall after stall of the most amazing and delicious smelling foods that you could ever imagine.

We had mutton korma, tikkas, kabobs, biryani... and dish after dish of food that I couldn't recognize or describe today, but that I was drawn too by the sensuous bouquet and wonderful textures, and I ate it all -- and all while my buddy simply stared and told me that I would soon die of food borne illness.

I've been all over the world, but this trip down the side streets of Old Delhi is one of the more amazing culinary experiences I'd been pleasured to have. It's up there with anything I've found in Asia. But it's not for the timid tourist, to be sure, but is very much there for the adventurous, and very rewarding.

#5 v. gautam

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 06:52 PM

Mbjesq, mcdowell,


Re: your observation that the truly great or best Indian food is to be had on the street from street vendors is true in some cases for some snack-type foods in some cities.

If you just extend your definition a bit, the shops abutting the street and open to it, yet offering some place to sit, sometimes are the "stars".

And, as Mcdowell discovered, the UNPRETENTIOUS restaurants frequented by Indians, AND that also have built up a solid reputation, however dodgy they might look from the outside, actually serve the absolute best food.

We have in Episure, a moderator of this forum, one of the true experts in India for all of the above and he will not thank me at all for revealing this. But there is no diplomatic way of saying that someone is very knowledgeable in this area, but should also be helped by as many others as possible to accomplish a task, not being omniscient!

However, seeing how much genuine joy Mcdowell got from his foray into the wilds of old Delhi, and several members of eGullet similarly have had immensely rewarding vacations in India thanks to an informal network of friends,

it may be useful if such genuine authorities as he is, would, when they find some time from their own very demanding schedules, initiate a PINNED thingie that could be built up purely at their convenience.

There are several knowledgeable members here who could contribute their expertise (including those eGulleteers who now have gained some experience of India themselves)

for the major cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc.

Over time, a database would become available to eGulleteers, and friends like Mcdowell would never have to eat boring hotel meals in New Delhi.

This would be a service to Indian tourism as well, and help in an indirect way those one-legged orphans and the ones forgotten by all.


#6 Yajna Patni

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 04:18 PM

My most recent winners...
Jallebis in Chandni Chowk
some chinese chilly paneer stuff in Karol Bagh
an incredble thali in a sketchy looking place in Jaipur that our rickshaw driver recomended.
pedha and barfi in Brindaban
much more...
and some incredible not street style food also
some amazing but expesnive paneer tikha in Bukhara in the Sheraton in Delhi. Had heard some reports that the restaurant was over rated and over priced. maybe, but it was spiced in that amazing delicate everything in the right way that I will pay for.
and my friends cook's aloo parantha in Vasant bihar in Delhi. Also his tomato rasam.