[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
When Bombayites feel jealous of Delhi’s cosmopolitanism, they dismiss its people as villagers.
They are right, partly.
Delhi has 275 villages. The most upscale neighbourhoods lie next to rutty villages. Cowsheds look to skyscrapers. The city’s rural character is reflected in its milk shakes.
A fine dining restaurant may risk serving a watery banana shake, but the street cart can never if it wants to survive.
In Indian villages, mothers are particular that their children get fresh buffalo milk. In Delhi, people in apartment blocks mostly rely on milk packets (toned, double toned and full cream) but when they order a shake from a roadside stall, they are always served a thick, frothy and possibly an excessively sweet drink, just what the villagers like.
In summer, the fruit market near Sewa Nagar railway station has vendors equipped with electric mixers. Standing behind rows of mangoes, their shakes are creamy and chunky with mango flesh. Sometimes they are topped with candied cherries. On special request (and extra charge), you get malai (cream) too.
Also try the chikoo shake at Naivedyam in Hauz Khas Village: the South Indian specialty restaurant is hardly rural but its delicious shake is very sweet, filling and rustic.
Keventers in Connaught Place too serves a very sweet milk shake. There are seven flavours in the menu.
The badaam milk at the Saini Sweets pavement stall adjacent to Golcha Cinema in Daryaganj is also deeply satisfying.
The stall outside Gurdwara Motibagh on Ring Road tries hard to proclaim its urbanity. Besides the banana, mango and cheeku shakes, it has chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavours. In the vanilla shake, there is too much milk, sugar and vanilla. Just for the villager in you.
More cream please