City Food - Pandit Vaishno Dhaba, Sadar Bazar, Gurgaon

City Food – Pandit Vaishno Dhaba, Sadar Bazar, Gurgaon

A veggie affair. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A passerby on the crowded market street abruptly freezes in mid-motion. The head turns, the nose sniffs the air aggressively. Can that be desi ghee? Where’s the smell coming from?…

City Food - Kulhar Chai, Juhi's Tea

City Food – Kulhar Chai, Juhi’s Tea

Tea while lounging. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Poor Paris. That city has many sidewalk cafés, with awnings sheltering the patrons from rain and sunshine. But not one serving chai in earthen kulhar. Delhi, be proud. Here’s a…

City Food - Kallan Bawarchi, Matia Mahal

City Food – Kallan Bawarchi, Matia Mahal

Landmark kitchen. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The potbellied cauldrons. The long metal ladles. The platters with chopped green chillies. The smoke-blackened walls. Air smelling of elaichi, laung, mirchi, pyaz, adrak, lehsun. Here is the timeless world of…

City Food - Hello to the Queen, Paharganj

City Food – Hello to the Queen, Paharganj

Homage to the Queen. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The queen died. Nobody can say with certainty if Hello to the Queen was named after her. Even so, treating yourself to this unusual dessert would have been one…

City Food - Panditji Doodhwale, Near Galli Sooiwallan Street

City Food – Panditji Doodhwale, Near Galli Sooiwallan Street

Milky way. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The peepal tree in Old Delhi’s Tiraha Behram Khan oozes out vibes of steadfast reassurance. So much is changing so furiously, but it continues to stand at its appointed place, like…

City Food - Pappu Bhai's Snack Cart, Paharganj

City Food – Pappu Bhai’s Snack Cart, Paharganj

A Main Bazar survivor. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Khanna cinema? Gone. Grand Sindhi Restaurant? Gone. Raja Bookstall? Gone. Appetite German Bakery? Gone. Imperial cinema? Gone, long ago. The list goes on. The Main Bazar in the backpackers’…

City Food - Basti Bakeries, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

City Food – Basti Bakeries, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Taste of a place. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The air in the galli embraces you with an aroma of fresh badam cakes, butter kaju paape, cream rolls and the crispy toasted suji rusks. The unnamed street is…

City Food - Upender Tea Stall, Shyam Bhawan

City Food – Upender Tea Stall, Shyam Bhawan

In silence and shade. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] On the tall slab: a stove, a (gigantic) kettle, a few jars filled with sugar, chai patti and other tea things. And there is a low table too, topped…

City Food - Rajbir's Nankhatai, Turkman Gate

City Food – Rajbir’s Nankhatai, Turkman Gate

A stall of sturggles. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Rajbir is a bearer of two legacies. One is of a street delicacy with origins going back to the Europeans. The other is more intimate. It is the legacy…

City Food - Bhoore Yadav's Aloo Paratha, Near Hauz Khas Village

City Food – Bhoore Yadav’s Aloo Paratha, Near Hauz Khas Village

Taste by the way. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The only missing element is a tie. Otherwise he is always dressed gentlemanly—in belted pants and long-sleeved shirt. The buttoned-up sleeves are never rolled up to the elbows, no…