City Food – Vanshas Candy Cart, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Some experiences belong to only premillennial childhoods. Like being able to spend, and enjoy, an entire day without the smartphone. Or, being addicted to unbranded candies, mouth fresheners and spicy churans sold by street hawkers. Vanshas Sweets, Supari and Churan is a roadside shack in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazaar, in the Greater Delhi Region, and is very special. It is crammed with all those aforementioned candies, mouth fresheners and churans that made up the early years of many of us who grew up when the Spice Girls were the Lady Gaga of the time.
The cart’s best-sellers are undoubtedly the candies—the orange santre ki goli and the black sweet-sour machli ki goli. The latter’s name is strange for it is neither made of fish nor is shaped like one.
Then there are palate-cleansing digestives such as the many varieties of sauf. You can make a nonsense verse by simply stringing all the sauf names together— meethi sauf, mixture sauf, baarik sauf, tatli sauf and so on.
Also spotted: spicy pungent churans like the anardana (very addictive) and heeng peda (very pungent). The stall is manned by Dileep Kumar. He says it was founded by his uncle Santosh Kumar in 2003. “Mama returned to the village (in Bihar) leaving it to my care.”
The young man reveals that these candies and churans are supplied by the wholesale stores in Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar. Which means you can get this exactly similar stuff from other stalls too—if you are lucky enough to spot them!
Until then you may always drop by at Vanshas, a time-tested landmark for more than a decade. This afternoon, the churan sachets are decked up picturesquely about the cart, indicating much thought went to the display. While the little packets containing the popular orange and black golis are glimmering softly in the sunshine, tempting the unsuspecting passers-by to pause and stare at them in mild greed. The cart serves daily from 9am to 9pm in Sadar Bazaar’s Choori Wali Galli.
The candy cart magic