Written By: Srilatha Duraiswamy
New Delhi is one of India’s most colorful cities, it has gracefully embraced modernity with its ancient monuments. This city has been ruled by different empires and dynasties, you can explore the historical buildings and marvel at the breathtaking architecture that New Delhi has to offer, but this trip will be incomplete without experiencing its lively markets, vibrant street food stalls or learning to cook an authentic meal in an Indian family’s kitchen.
A walk through Old Delhi’s spice market is highly recommended, a splash of vivid colors, and energetic banter creates a magical atmosphere. You will see exotic whole spices that are lined up in large bags beside a myriad display of ground ‘masala’. Masala is a mix of different types of spices that are ground up and used in Indian cooking, the proportion of each spice varies according to the dish being prepared. The aroma stirs the soul as you walk through these stalls, you could sample the colorful sweetmeats that are on offer!
There are numerous hotels serving authentic Indian cuisine, the spice levels can be high, but you can order a milder version of the traditional dishes. This city prefer vegetarian food, and you will be amazed at the array of vegetable dishes that will be served on a ‘Thalli’. A Thalli is a connoisseur’s delight, it is a large plate served during lunch, you will have more than 15 small servings of vegetables that is eaten with roti, a flat bread that is freshly prepared and you will be served some rice too!
The world famous butter chicken was invented in central Delhi at a restaurant called Moti Mahal, this restaurant serves scrumptious meat dishes that shows the influence of the Mughal empire that ruled this region in ancient times. Though visiting restaurants gets you to understand the local culture and savor the traditional flavors, taking a cooking class will help you to appreciate it more! Enroll in a cooking class that is conducted at the cook’s home and learn to make delicious vegetarian dishes, you can enjoy a meal with the cook’s family at the end of the day. You will learn about their local custom of using their hands instead of cutlery, as they believe that when the fingers touch the food, it messages the brain to be prepared to enjoy the meal! So, each bite is delicious from the start, but using cutlery slows the process! New Delhi is a feast for the senses.