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Thingyan Festival at Burma Burma

Burma Burma first opened its doors to the world just over 4 years ago in Mumbai and then slowly made its way to my neck of the woods, Delhi (and Gurgaon). Being a strict meat eater when dining out, an all vegetarian Burmese meal did not sound wildly appealing. However, word travels fast and peer pressure got the better of me. True to its reputation, over the multiple times that I visited this place, it hasn’t let me down even once. I also never miss meat while I am here.

Both outlets that I have been to are beautifully adorned with unique and eclectic decorative pieces adding to the grandeur of the place. This June, Burma Burma is celebrating the Thingyan festival to mark the Burmese New Year. The new additions to the already well curated menu are exciting. We managed to gorge on a large assortment of dishes starting with a Pumpkin and Basil Soup, Grilled Mock Meat Salad and a Glass Noodle Salad. I especially loved the soup for its light and comforting flavours.

Would recommend for a winter day.  We followed it up with ‘Wa’ Style Potato and Crispy Corn Tossed in Tea. The corn dish was an unusual and interesting take on the crispy corn you find in barbecue chains across the city. Our main course was the Tangy Khowsuey which like many things on the menu, veered off the beaten track with dry noodles only to deliver flawlessly on taste. For dessert, we had the mild Matcha Ice-Cream. We were not bold enough that day to try the Durian Ice-Cream. Someday though, I hope to conquer that smelly fruit.

Apart from its food selection, Burma Burma also features an array of teas. Bubble teas, fruit-based teas, estate teas, you name it and they have it. They claim to have a tea ‘for every mood and occasion’ so on this occasion, I paired my food with a Yuzu Bubble Tea which was the perfect accompaniment to the spicy, tangy flavours on my plate.

It is heartening to note that we are finally broadening our palates to savour cuisines from around the world, including that of our neighbours. One of these days, I might succumb to the temptation to catch the next flight out to Myanmar and follow the flavour trail I’ve been introduced to in the past few months.

 

Location: Cyber Hub, Gurgaon
Meal for Two: Rs. 1800

Anjora cannot resist a good prawn preparation, finds home in Chinese food anywhere in the world but will eat almost anything if it looks appealing. She is a Potter head and has recently discovered pottery as a hobby (excuse the pun).
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Chalte phirte, phir kabhi na milte

On a recent quick trip to Nirman Vihar, I stumbled upon this momo shop called “Chalte Phirte Momos” in V3S mall at Laxmi Nagar. I had heard a lot about the place and had seen some beautiful, appetizing pictures of their momos along with some raving reviews. All this had me tempted and so I decided to give this place a try as soon as I saw their signboard.

With a lot of zest and curiosity, I entered the place only to be met with a small shop, with only one working fan and a million flies. I still decided to try some of their momos because let’s face it, not all best-tasting foods have the cleanliest of places to eat at. I ordered their steam Afghani mozzarella cheese momos and their Tandoori Gravy akkha paneer momos. The akkha paneer momo was for 120 rupees a plate and the mozzarella cheese momos were for 100 rupees. Both the plates included 8 pieces of momos. Each plate came with the sides of spicy red chilli chutney and a dollop of mayonnaise.

As a cheese fanatic, I was especially excited about the mozzarella cheese momos but boy, was I disappointed! I expected the momos to be filled with mozzarella or at least come with some kind of cheese inside as the stuffing. Instead it was just plain veg momos lathered with diced onions and MAYONNAISE. I personally just don’t like veg momos; I hate the combination of cabbages and momos and it just doesn’t work for me. I was extremely disappointed with the mozzarella cheese momos; there were absolutely no traces of mozzarella or any other kind of cheese in that dish.

The tandoori gravy akkha paneer momos were better but still, the stuffing had more cabbage than it had paneer. The gravy was super spicy, and I don’t handle spice very well. But at least in some senses, it was somewhat true to what it said it was. The momos were lathered with the spicy gravy, and red onions. Again what irked me was that each bite I took had at least few pieces of onion. It was a onion attack.

You might just have a great time eating the momos there if you enjoy spicy food and veg momos filled with cabbage, but I unfortunately did not like what I ate at Chalte Firte Momos. And it wasn’t just that, the place felt a bit dirty and unhygienic with all those flies and it got hot and stuffy very soon with only one fan as the source of relief. The man at the counter looked like he didn’t want to be there and the whole experience was just below satisfaction.

Meghna Chakraborty
I love to eat. Pizza is my favourite food, and I love cheese, any kind of cheese.
I love animals, I love dogs. Dogs over humans, any day, all day.
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Pushkar Food Tour

Pushkar Food Tour

By Anubhav Sapra

Pushkar is an ideal place for a street food walk. The whole city can be covered in a couple of hours on foot. Infact, if you walk closely observe your surroundings, there is a chance that you will start recognising the faces of the locals. This is what happened with me when I visited Pushkar last week. After one round of the city, I can recall and recognise most of the places and people. That’t the beauty of this small city.

While most of the blogs talk about the cafes in Pushkar, I was quite sure there is going to be some unexplored street food of Pushkar to be unearthed. Like most of the temple cities in India, Pushkar too has amazing street food. I walked and walked and walked from morning till evening, all the while talking to locals and trying a delicious array of street food.

The journey started with Pushkar Breakfast Corner near varaha ghat. A street food cart that sells Pizza Pakwan i.e., poha with mathri and dal – this was a perfect example street fusion food. Dal Pakwan is an authentic sindhi breakfast dish where big sized mathri, made up of maida is served with dal. And poha – flattened rice, cooked with mustard seeds is a famous breakfast of north India. Pushkar breakfast corner shop simply combined both of them – dal pakwan and poha, and named it Pizza Pakwan. The base is of mathri, over it he evenly spreads poha, then adds dal, and tops it with sew, namkeen, onion, chutney, chaat masala and fresh coriander. It was a simple twist given to the dishes, which made it taste great. The crunchiness of the mathri blended perfectly with the light and fluffy poha. The crispy additions on the top like fried peanuts and sew added a spicy twist to it. The shop opens at 6 am and everything gets finished by 12 noon. The pizza pakwan is priced at Rs 30.

Just on a walking distance is another shop that opens up only in the morning time– Pushkar chaat bhandar- mohan ji bhujia wale famous for pakodi, which is also known as bhujia here. The shop is run by father son duo mohan ji and kamal. It is sold by kilograms at 200 per kg. Normal small size pakodis (fritters) of spinach and besan are topped with kadi (not to be confused with curry). The way kadi is prepared in this part of Rajasthan is completely different from other parts. There is no use of yoghurt or buttermilk in it. It is simply made up of besan and water. The combination of kadi with pakodi is quite unique to Ajmer district of Rajasthan. In Bihar, I had tried kadi with samosa. This was a really fulfilling meal. The fresh crisp pakodis with plain kadi were a perfect breakfast.

After having kadi pakodi, we tried kachori with mango chutney at Ugma ji shop. The dough of refined flour is stuffed with dal ki pitthi to be deep fried in oil. What made it special is the thick mango chutney served with kachori. The kachoris were crisp and flaky.

Malpua
Malpua

Pushkar can be named as the city of Malpua. You can spot a malpua shop in every nook and corner of the city. There is a dedicated lane for sweet sellers in Pushkar near Gau ghat- Halwai gali or the street of sweet makers.

To make delicious malpuas, first the batter of white flour is prepared; Second, it is poured and deep fried in oil; third, the cooked malpuas are soaked in sugar syrup. What makes Pushkar malpua special is the rabri malpua. Instead of adding water to the batter, condensed milk is added to give it an amazing nutty taste. The most popular shop in Pushkar is Sarvadia mishthan bhandar in Halwai gali.

After having malpua at Sarvadia misthan bhandar, we went on to try Laffa at Ganga restaurant. The whole city of Pushkar is known for religious tourism and leisure tourism. There are cafes and restaurants catering to people from all over the world. Most of the foreign tourists are from Middle East and they have somewhat influenced the street food as well. There are 3 shops next to each other selling falafel, hummus and other middle eastern food. The most famous dish is the laffa- a wrap stuffed with hummus, falafel, garlic sauce, mushroom, onion, tomatoes, potato wedges, pepper, salt. Cooked in Olive oil, it was a delight to watch the preparation. And the taste was simply amazing. The other dish we tried at laffa wala was the pizza roll. It was the same filling with loads of cheese except falafel, hummus and potato wedges.

Next, we went on to try the golgappa at a street cart with 6 different flavours- regular (mint and jeera), garlic, cumin, mint, hajmola and lemon. My favourite was lemon- a truly refreshing water with the right spices.

Lala ji
Lala Ji Parantha Wala, Pushkar

The next stop was Lala ji ke parantha cart. It can be spotted anywhere in the lanes of Pushkar after 7 pm till 12 midnight till the stock lasts. This was the best parantha I’ve ever had. I tried the mix vegetable cheese parantha. The stuffing of the parantha consists of mashed potatoes, sew ( namkeen), onion, paneer,cheese, spices. The paranthas are first pan fried in butter then in ghee. There are cooked properly and cut into small pieces with the help of a pizza cutter. The paranthas are served with a dip made up of yoghurt and garlic. The cost of one parantha was Rs 120.

The last food stop was Makhaniya gulkand lassi at Kumawat lassi cart. At kumawat lassi cart, the thick lassi is topped with cream, rabri and gulkand (a blend of rose petals, sugar and spices ). Priced at INR 30 and served in a clay cup, it tasted divine.

What a marvelous city!

Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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The tale of Chaats

I recently went to Lajpat Nagar to help a friend pick out some clothes. Lajpat Nagar is not only a place to shop but it’s also a place with tiny outlets serving some of the best street food, Delhi loves to eat. I always start my trip with a glass of banta from any of the small vendors serving them. On a hot day when you’re out to explore the market kinda day, the banta soothes you down. The tangy drink is the perfect way to start the exploration of this ever so busy market.

After having the refreshing drink we dived into the shopping part. However, soon the day started getting hotter, the sun got angrier, the humidity started crossing all limits, the good old Lassi came to our rescue. Shivam Suresh Chaat wala is a shop located right in the middle of the market serving amazingly delicious chaats, the shop is always crowded with people and it takes some time to get your order across. They serve raj kachori, dahi bhalle, batata puri, gol gappe, palak patta chaat etc. They also serve kulfi faluda, malai lassi and badam milk. I had their badam milk and malai lassi to hydrate myself, under the scorching sun it was all the hydration I needed. The lassi was the perfect accompaniment to the hot sunny day. It was sweet and so delicious. The badam milk was also very refreshing, however the milk seemed too thin and a bit runny but it was tasty nonetheless. Both the drinks cost us 50 rupees each.

I also found these cart vendors selling something which I initially thought was nimbu shikanji but they were actually the flavoured water of gol gappe, but mellowed down. It’s almost like a mix of Golgappe ka paani and jaljeera. A glass for 20 bucks, it was just so invigorating under the scorching sun. It was probably the favourite thing that I had that day.

Then I went to a tiny shop, Hot and Fresh corner, also serving chaats but they were serving something that I had never had before; Bharwa Golgappe. The shop is like a hole in the wall, with clothes’ shop surrounding it from both sides, it’s very easy to skip this shop. But the words Bharwa golgappe caught my eyes and I decided to taste it.

Bharwa golgappe are gol gappe but instead of serving them with the flavoured water, pieces of mashed aalu and dahi are stuffed in. They were served with red and green chutney made of imly and dhania respectively on top. The Bharwa golgappe were seasoned with salt and chat masala. One plate of Bharwa golgappe was priced at 60 rupees for 6 pieces of golgappe. The guy at the counter; Prem was extremely friendly and helpful. I got a plate for my mother, and once he got to know I will be travelling far with the food, he individually packed every single ingredient with two layers of packaging.

Shops like these are a perfect example of how you don’t need to spend a lot to eat well. And it’s also very exciting to set out on such street food tours where you explore hidden little gems that satiate your cravings without emptying your pockets.

Meghna Chakraborty
I love to eat. Pizza is my favourite food, and I love cheese, any kind of cheese.
I love animals, I love dogs. Dogs over humans, any day, all day.
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The Knighthood of Momos

Everybody loves momos especially good, quality momos. Don’t you just hate biting into a momo that says it’s chicken but you bite into soyabean and it doesn’t taste like chicken at all?
Lodhi Knights is a momo shop serving mouth-watering, Mughlai cuisine inspired momos that taste absolutely divine. All the sought after afghani and Mughlai dishes are encapsulated beautifully into tiny pockets of momos and they take you to heaven.

Lodhi knights is a take away fast food joint with little to no seating arrangements. There are a few tables available where you can put the food and eat, but they’re mostly occupied. They have very recently shifted to a new location in shop number 119, Khanna market, Lodhi road.

Butter Chicken momos
chilly chicken momos

Lodhi Knights serve few of the best tasting momos I have ever had in my life, their menu is elaborate and includes everything from Chicken Shawarma, to KFC style momos, chilly chicken momos to the simple steamed paneer momos, chicken changezi momos to Butter chicken momos. Since momos are one of the dearest street food one enjoys in Delhi, this place is one to try if you love having options. They also serve rolls, main course meals, soups, noodles and chicken and paneer tikkas as few of the starters.

Chicken Shawarma

I very recently had their butter chicken momos, chilly chicken momos, soya malai chaap roll and chicken shawarma. I have also had their chilly paneer momos, chicken and paneer steamed momos, KFC style(kurkure)paneer momos, chicken and paneer tandoori momos among many others that I can’t even recall. Their momos and rolls and shawarmas are all accompanied with mint chutney, mayonnaise and red chilli chutney. Their food is always well seasoned and bursting with flavours.

They are pricier than your roadside momo stalls but Lodhi Knights also serve much more quality products. The sizes of their momos are also larger than the average 50 rupees momos, per plate. Their steamed variants start from rupees 50, the Mughlai momos cost around 150 per plate, the tandoori momos cost an average 100, the rolls range from 80 rupees to 140 rupees.
The new shop is open from 11 am till 11 pm, but unforturnetly their service is not very prompt, and you’ll have to wait a couple of minutes if you order dishes like KFC momos and chilly chicken momos since they make it fresh. Dishes like chicken shawarma , steamed momos and tandoori momos are served within 5 minutes. They earlier even had complaints regarding their timings, as the shop claimed to open at 5 pm but it hardly ever did. But with the new location, that issue has been rectified.
This place is a must try, it takes you on a tasty journey, their food is tasty and the flavours are beautiful. Lodhi Knights is a must for all momo lovers and all Mughlai cuisine enthusiasts, and it’s better if you’re both.

KFC kurkure momos
Meghna Chakraborty
I love to eat. Pizza is my favourite food, and I love cheese, any kind of cheese.
I love animals, I love dogs. Dogs over humans, any day, all day.
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Bottle opener- think out of the box bottle

Bottle Opener is a beautiful little beverage shop that recently opened up right outside Jor bagh metro station, gate number 1. Started by a group of friends, Vishal Sethi, Saurabh Kumar and Sonali Paikaray from Air Force School, this entrepreneurial venture serves shakes and ice cream sodas in some really intriguing combination of flavours. In conversation with the friends we actually got to know a lot about them, “We are basically three school buddies & best of friends. We always wanted to do something on our own & something which we enjoy doing and not just for the sake of it. So, our friend and partner Vishal Sethi came up with this idea overnight and the very next day we started working on it & within a month this whole thing was conceptualised and implemented” said the Team of Bottle Opener. Their menu is divided into three categories. The “Killer Shakes” are for 139 rupees, the “Vintage Shakes” for 89 rupees and the “Ice Cream Sodas” for 69 rupees. Their whimsical and curious blend of flavours is their USP, and their menu is attractive to those who like to experiment. But it can also be intimidating for those who have somewhat conservative tastes. For instance, how many of us would ever have thought of putting popcorn and milkshake together? But that’s for later, first let’s discuss the aesthetics.

With its charming and fanciful appearance, the cafe stands out amidst the string of plain old grocery shops in that line. There is also a beautiful graffiti on the side wall that portrays Lord Shiv in a meditative pose. Full of vivid colours and a majestic theme, the graffiti was designed by one of the guys from the group itself and painted by Fitoor art studio. One downside though is that the shop doesn’t have a seating arrangement yet.

The shakes come in transparent glass bottles. They are much more user friendly than plastic glasses as the glass bottles can be sealed with a lid in case you are not able to finish the heavy shakes in one go. And for someone like me who loves getting these cute little bottles for free, it’s a win-win situation.

So, now coming to the main part i.e, the beverages being served. I was with a friend when we discovered the shop. With a lot of curiosity we had the Kokum Refresh and the Pink Guava in addition to the Black Currant Ice Cream Soda. The flavours are extremely unique and I cannot enunciate it enough. The innovative but smartly chosen combinations just blew my mind. For someone who usually only goes with traditional flavours and has very conservative taste buds, I was skeptical to begin with. I couldn’t understand how Kokum would go well with milk but once you have it, the taste somehow grows on you. And for people who love experimenting with tastes and flavours, it is a total paradise. Also, their flavours are very genuine and deliver exactly what they say. For example, if you take the Pink Guava, you get a very genuine taste of guava in the shake.
There are also a few traditional variants on their menu like the oreo cookie crumble, brownie indulgence, mango duet etc. So if you’re not too keen on experimenting, you can always fall back on these classic alternatives.

My friend accompanying me absolutely loved all three flavours right off the bat, while I needed a little more time to understand the flavours. The polarizing character of flavours is quite amusing, and one of the biggest reasons why one should try this place, to know which end of the dichotomy you fall into.

Address- Shop 8, NDMC Market, Jor Bagh

Meghna Chakraborty
I love to eat. Pizza is my favourite food, and I love cheese, any kind of cheese.
I love animals, I love dogs. Dogs over humans, any day, all day.
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A burger like no other

Quite close to the hustle bustle of the ever so busy Central Market in Lajpat Nagar, there is a quaint and quiet lane which teleports you straight to Afghanistan and introduces you to the art of Afghan bread-making. Located right across the market road, this lane is known as Afghan street and it’s easy to understand why. Almost all the shops have signboards written in English, but predominantly in Dari. And a lot of those shops are Afghan eateries, some of them restaurants and some street food stalls.

As you walk down the lane, you’re hit with the familiar smell of freshly baked bread and rich butter. For someone like me who loves the aromas of baking, it felt like walking in paradise. At one of the street stalls, you see a vendor serving out an intriguing dish that looks like a curious cross between a burger and a wrap. Below the tiny counter, the signboard said Afghan burger, veg and non veg.

I asked for a veg Afghan burger and Afghan Lassi, but unfortunately they weren’t serving the Lassi. Another vendor at the neighboring stall told us they’ll start serving it after Ramzan. The veg Burger was for ₹50 and the non-veg burger was for ₹ 100. They also had heaps of bread resting on a table, that were coming straight out of the tandoor (clay oven) nearby. The breads smelled divine and they only cost TWENTY rupees. On the table, you will find jars of pickle that looked like large chunks of diced vegetables drenched in vinegar. The pickles looked fresh and cost only 50 bucks. There were also sheermals and Afghan cakes for 100 rupees each.

So now coming to the main attraction of the shop, the Afghan burger is unlike any ‘Burger’ you’ve had before. It’s a thick, large Roti or lavassa bread encasing soft potato fries, perfectly seasoned and garnished with coriander leaves. Then, some kind of red sauce is drizzled on top of the burger, and voila our afghan burger is ready.

The burger tasted fresh and soft, but it was a bit too dry for my taste. The sauce used is made with a blend of tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, red chili and capsicum. And while the sauce adds a bit of zest and tantalizing flavor to the burger, the quantity of the sauce used was somewhat underwhelming for me. I would have preferred more of it.

They put egg in the veg burger so if you don’t eat eggs, you have to let them know while placing the order. You can also see beautifully marinated chicken stocked up to be put in the non-veg burgers, so you should try that too if you eat meat.

One burger is totally sufficient for a single person, as it’s more than a handful. Bring a friend along if you know you can’t finish large sided portions of food, because this one is not for those with little tummies. The burger is extremely fulfilling and scrumptious. You’re guaranteed to go home with your hunger satiated and all that without burning a hole into your pocket.

Meghna Chakraborty
I love to eat. Pizza is my favourite food, and I love cheese, any kind of cheese.
I love animals, I love dogs. Dogs over humans, any day, all day.