City Food – ANB Momos, Anand Vihar
Cart cuisine names.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
You have heard of paneer momos, chicken momos, tandoori momos, even chocolate momos. But ANB momos? It’s here in Anand Vihar, close to the site where attendants of the Gurgaonm-bound private buses shout themselves hoarse while calling passers-by out to board their buses.
ANB momos taste like any Delhi momo. ANB is the name of the momo cart, serving three street-side classics of this steamed dumpling: veg, paneer and chicken. The painted strip on the cart gives away the mystery behind the name: Ajay’s Nephew’s Butter Momos !! (sic).
The nephew isn’t here at this instant, but Uncle Ajay is manning the adjacent cart, Ajay Tea Stall and Maggie Point.
The two of them are two of the many roadside snack carts parked along this stretch of the Delhi-UP border. Clustered like books in a library shelf, browsing the names of the carts takes you deep into the world of their owners, and of their patrons. Indeed, such carts with such names abound in the entire national capital region. Sample some of the Anand Vihar editions.
Instant Maggi (often spelled here as Maggie) noodles overwhelm this inter-state border buffet. Saddam Bhai Maggie Point serves many versions: plain, cheese, butter, egg, veg. (There’s pasta too!) The owner of Bareilly Bhai ke Mashoor Parathe is obviously a bhai from Bareilly town. His parathas come crammed with pyaz, gobhi, paneer, cheese, aloo. Chaurasiya Tea Stall is posh. Beside the earthy kulhar wali chai, its menu includes virgin mojito and blue lagoon. Since the owner of Chandni Chowk ke Parathe is not to be seen, difficult to find out if he named his cart because he happens to be from Chandni Chowk, the Old Delhi bazar famous for its paratha street, or if he is simply exploiting the market name to boost his enterprise.
Raj Maggie Point is hardly a point. The cart is gigantic, red. It has another name too—Raj Paratha Corner. Naturally, Raj, the cart owner, not only serves single egg maggie, double egg maggie, cheese double egg maggie, but also plain double egg paratha, aloo double egg paratha, gobhi double egg paratha, triple egg paratha, four egg paratha.
Here’s some more carts: Paratha King, AS Chicken Corner, Bhalla Bhai ki Shop, Radhe Shyam Rathore ki Mashoor Biryani, Uttarakhand ka Mashoor Dhaba, Chacha ka Dhaba, Swaminathan Egg Rol & Chowmein, Shaheen Veg Biryani, and A-1 Makhan Wale Aloo Parathe.
At the aforementioned Ajay Tea Stall, Ajay informs that his cart is decades old, while nephew (bhanja, sister’s son) Sachin, who arrived from their village in Bihar, launched his stall, ANB, just months ago. “Hope he does well,” Ajay says, glancing momentarily at a man dragging a cart called Calcutta ke Damadam Mast Kathi Roll.