City Food – Shambhu Nath’s Oriya Snacks, Hauz Khas Road
The faraway flavour.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Even if you choose the superfast Purushottam Express it’ll take you a good two nights and one day from Delhi to reach the great Jagannath Temple of Puri in Odisha.
Happily, there’s a shortcut.
There’s another Jagannath Mandir right here on the Hauz Khas village road in South Delhi.
And when you pop around on any given evening you might want to give the nearby snack stall a try for a truly authentic taste of Orissa. Just across the road from the temple, its super-crisp vadas are served a gravy dish of safed matar (white peas), along with unpeeled potatoes—just the way they do in Orissa–you’ll rarely spot this preparation elsewhere in this city.
Of course, this stall can’t approach the Puri temple in terms of age. But 26 years is a very long time for Shambhu Nath to hold forth. He is, quite simply, a vada expert—creating them only after setting up his cart at 6 pm as the sun glints once last time on the adjacent Chhoti Gumti monument.
Now 38 years old, he was crafting vadas during childhood, and got his real start in Kolkata. Moving to Delhi a few years later, Mr Nath sensibly opened the stall just outside the capital’s biggest temple for the Oriya community.
This weekday evening his patrons are downing those piping-hot vadas amid quiet Oriya language chatter as the temple bells chime their own melody. Almost like being in Puri, The Delhi Walla supposes.
Taste of Puri