For months we have been watching YouTube bloggers on food tours around the ramshackle streets of Old Delhi and finally the day had come that we would get to enjoy this amazing experience for all the senses. We were booked on a tour with a chefs tour, this company was by no way the cheapest but was the longest of those advertised and the one we had most enjoyed following on the vloggs.
We summoned a tuk tuk outside the hotel and headed for old Delhi to meet our guide Adam. Please be warned this is one of the most expensive ways to travel and have since learnt more economical ways to get from a-b keep reading the blog to find out more!
We were meeting Adam outside the entrance 5 to the metro…. the tuk tuk (Not Maru – he was having extra day off with his 1500INR) dropped us off and pointed us into the streets saying metro that way! After mistaking a Hindu Temple as the metro station we realised we were lost. Using our Indian Sim Chris sent a messages at first to the wrong people who were in Chennai asking what they were wearing but eventually we got through to our guide who said he would find us.
Adam found us and welcomed us on his food tour. Adam was originally from London and moved to Delhi and set up his company. Now fluent in Hindi and knowing all the best spots for street food he was the perfect companion to guide us through these enchanting backstreets.
Our first stop was for Jalebi at the Jalebi Wala stall that was established in 1884, lots of the stalls and shops within Old Delhi have been here this long passed down through generations. Jalebi is an Indian celebration sweet made by deep frying batter and soaking it in sugar syrup, making for a very sweet delicious taste. I was very restrained knowing I had so many more delights to taste whilst Chris was more than happy to eat more than me before passing the left overs to a homeless person. Homelessness and poverty is very prevalent here in Delhi.
The next stop was through winding streets of shoes and wedding goods to a Pani Puri Wala. Pani Puri is a common Indian street snack which is a round hollow puri that is fried and filled with flavoured water, tamarind chutney, potato, onion, chickpea or masala. They are meant to be eaten whole in order to catch all the flavours and juices having a very small mouth I failed at this.
Kachori was our next delight which is very similar to Puri but made with a garam flour making the outer harder. This was very spicy.
We then visited paranthas street which is Indian flat bread cooked with your choice of filling. We visited the first parantha stall which originated here in 1872. Others then followed after their success this particular street is now full of these stalls all still very busy. We waited outside at least 20 minutes for a seat. You could choose a variety of fillings in your bread type Patti with Adams recommendation we chose green chilli and we also opted for cashew. The paranthas are served on a metal compartmentalised tray with a variety of dips and chutneys. Some were sweet and others savoury. I really liked the pumpkin chutney with the green chilli one and a sweet banana syrup one with the cashew. As we were enjoying our food you could see others starting to wait outside it was almost done in sittings and seemed to be an ongoing production line of people and food.
we were then welcomed into the Sis Ganj Sahib Gudwara which is one of 9 Sikh Temples in Delhi. Built in 1783 to commemorate one of the Sikh teachers Guru Tegh Bahadur. The Sikh temple welcomes all visitors but respectfully asks them to cover their head with supplied head coverings and remove shoes and socks prior to entering the temple. Inside volunteers were preparing food for 5 sittings that day with a production line of roti rolling and the biggest pans of dahl I have ever seen. People from all walks of life came into break bread and enjoy a meal here. We both really enjoyed the community feel of the temple and plan to visit our local one at home to see the similarities.
After a busy morning cooking and rolling roti, a refreshing homemade Lemonade was a welcome stop. Made by squeezing fresh lemons it was a surprisingly refreshing enjoyable drink.
The next dish was my least favourite, Dahi Bhalla. It is prepared by Soaking fried flour balls in Dahi (thick Yoghurt) The one we tried was also served with a chilli chutney. The flavour was ok for me it was the texture that didn’t work for me.
We then followed this with our favourite dish of the day; Paneer butter masala. Paneer is a fresh cheese made by curdling milk, very popular in India. Chris chooses his Indian takeaways at home based on the amount of paneer options they have on the menu so he was in his element here. Curries aren’t served with rice here like we have them at home but with freshly made roti or naan. The naan’s are delicious served warm fresh from the oven. I have a feeling we will be eating more of these whilst in India!
Rabri was another star of the show. A little like sweetened rice pudding served cold with nuts and raisins on the top. I don’t think I would have ever tasted this without it been part of the food tour but it was really nice and I’m sure we will have again before we go home.
A good tour in Delhi wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the One of the world’s largest spice markets, Gadodia Market located in Khari Baoli. As soon as you enter the indoor section the aroma of chilli and turmeric hits your nostrils and is so powerful it almost burns. Hitting the back of your throat this sensation can make you sneeze and gag. We didn’t hang around long but headed for a twisting stairway that took us high above the city in one of the first built mixed use developments designed for both commercial and residential use. The views from here were amazing we could see right across the city, here we were served the most amazing Masala Chai I have ever tasted!
After taking full advantage of the photo opportunities and enjoying our Chai we headed for the city. Adam our guide had kindly offered to show us the right way back to our hotel as he was concerned we would get lost and miss our scheduled train to Agra. They have an electric rickshaw programme here which is amazing. For 10 INR around 10p you can hop on the rickshaw at various parts in the city.
Following the first rickshaw ride we were introduced to the delights of sugar cane. The sugar cane was compressed through a machine which pressed all the juice from the sugar cane. This is one of the delights we would have never tried in India had it not been for the tour and that alone made the whole day worthwhile.
The tour was everything we had imagined and our tastebuds has been treated to some of the most amazing flavours we had ever tasted!