City Food – Bread Pakora, Sadar Bazar, Gurgaon
Frying for decades.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Samosas. Pakoras. Aloo tikkis. There is no lack of places that are famous for producing excellent versions of at least one of these crispy tea time snacks.
Break pakora is also loved. Even so, one rarely finds eateries serving these deep-fried slices of potato-stuffed white bread. It’s probably easier to chance upon Ali Baba’s cave than to stumble into a landmark devoted exclusively to the bread pakora.
But there is one rare spot a few steps away from Jama Masjid in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar in the Greater Delhi region that has been making bread pakoras—only bread pakoras—for more than four decades.
“I started my shop 45 years ago,” says Prem Sagar. He spent the first five years serving chhole poori, before replacing it with what turned out to be his signature calling.
Indeed, you must drop by this extraordinary stall to have an audience with its founder, too. In his 80s, Mr Sagar has a sculpted face that radiates beauty and experience. On any given day, you can spot him sitting quietly in his small shop. As still as a statue, he would suddenly stir to stuff a fresh slice of bread with a fistful of the spiced-up potato mixture.
The street outside is as noisy as any bazaar but the shop exudes tranquility. Sitting on the metal bench and watching the elderly man fry the delicious pakoras in the sooty kadahi with such unhurried patience is oddly relaxing. Chai is served on request.
Known as “Uncle-ji”, Mr Sagar is aided by son, Ashu. “Daddy is 83 and will probably work for one more year at the most,” he says.
The shop opens daily at 9am offers bread pakoras until 1.30pm.
To each bread its pakora