City Food – Milk Shakes, Around Town
Downing the city.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
When belligerent Bombayites assert their refusal to accept Delhi’s cosmopolitanism, they dismiss its people as “villagers”.
They are right, up to a point.
Delhi has 275 (registered) villages. The most upscale neighbourhoods lie next to villages. Indeed, you must have spotted the elderly “taus” with their turbans and hookahs regally lounging on their string charpoys bang across the street from hipster cafes.
The city’s charming rural character is also reflected in its milkshakes.
A fine dining restaurant may risk serving a watery banana shake, but a street cart will never dare to do that if it wants to survive.
In villages, parents who can afford it are particular that their children get fresh buffalo milk. In Delhi, citizens 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 expect to be served a thick, jhaag wala (frothy), full cream and possibly an excessively sugary drink, just what the villagers are said to like.
In the evenings, 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 pulpy mango flesh. Sometimes they are topped with candied cherries. On special request (and extra charge), you get malai too.
Also try the chikoo shake at Naivedyam, the outlet in Hauz Khas Village: the restaurant is hardly rural but its delicious shake is very sweet, filling and rustic.
The iconic Keventers in Connaught Place, where your parents might have dated in their college-going years, serves excellent kesar badam milkshake. The Kitkat shake too is wildly popular.
The badaam milk at the long-time Saini Sweets pavement stall adjacent to Golcha Cinema in Daryaganj is also deeply satisfying.
The unnamed stall near 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 just too much milk, sugar and vanilla. Just for the villager in us.
But the most eye catching shake has to be the one in Old Delhi’s Turkman Gate. Run by Nadeem, it serves Khajur Banana Shake and Anjir Shake among the many other drinks, and the stall is called… Costa Lassi.
Shaking about town