Savoring the Street Food of India!

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Every household and every state in India has a unique taste and flavor that scintillates the taste buds and makes people hungry for more! Such was the fervor at the National Street Food Festival held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium from 20th Dec 2013 to 22nd Dec 2013. When we saw the newspaper advertisement about the different tastes of India under one roof or in this case on one ground, we couldn’t stop ourselves. Being the foodies that we are, my husband and I decided to explore our taste buds at this very festival.

On a cold yet pleasant winter afternoon we reached the stadium and were greeted by a long queue for parking and thereafter a long line to enter the venue. Looking at this enthusiasm, it made us even more curious to explore the different #street foods of India. We were greeted by stalls put up by different regions from Kerala to Karnataka, West Bengal to Rajasthan, Sikkim to Bihar, Chandigarh to Tamil Nadu, and Jharkhand to our very own Delhi! The very simple stalls dishing out a variety of food got us immediately hooked on and at a point confused as to what should we eat first! Our little sojourn presented us with a variety of dishes from across the Nation right from Tikkas to Bisibele Bhat, Chaat items to Sweets of Bengal, Dal Baati Churma and Gatte ki Sabzi to Kadhi Chawal, Idli-Vada-Dosa to Pasta, Pav-Bhaji to Chole Bhature / Rajma Chawal, Litthi Chokha to traditional Kerala Parathas and a variety of other dishes.

We both have very poor appetites, hence we wanted to skip the local stalls and head for the ones that we may not get to savour here. Each stall was thronged by many people waiting patiently to try their hand at something new. I, for one, was waiting to try something from West Bengal; after all I am a Bengali by birth and crave for some good Bengali food. There was limited variety as far as authentic Bengali food was concerned, with only Dal, Rice and Fish curry or Chicken curry to choose from. Though I did plate myself some Chicken curry but the taste was not what I expected! Much to my dismay, I did not want to give up yet! We explored stalls that were serving Momo’s from Sikkim and Chole Bhature from Chandigarh; however most of the dishes seemed to have sold out by the time we reached there.

The one thing that we did truly enjoy was our very own Kachori and Samosa Chaat! A very common dish that one can find in any big and small shop of Delhi, but I guess our taste buds swerved the same direction anyway. The biggest surprise was a shop selling authentic Bengali fresh sweets that included Rabri and Sandesh that sold like hot cakes. The aroma of the stall was enough to keep us going. We could end with the typical Pan made of fresh Betul Nuts but then we wanted to keep the taste we already had as it is! The highlight of the two odd hours we spent there were the beautiful pictures we clicked at a small monument in the middle of the event. The beautiful lights along with the green grass made our entire trip worth-while.

Though we did not get to experience the events that were organized at the venue, however looking at the zest and zeal we knew it was absolutely fantastic. The review we went with and the mind-set we came out with were not in tandem; however, for a first time visitor, you should definitely visit this unique festival that will atleast give you a sense of the different street foods of India!

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A Rugged Road to Beauty- Khurja (U.P.)

 

A Rugged Road to Beauty- Khurja (U.P.)Khurja Pottery20131214_190548

Every weekend I wake up and feel great about the two days that my husband and I can take off from work (not so much for me!), not worry about numbers or that we both have to send our daughter to school early in the morning. These two days i.e. Saturday and Sunday are two of the most blissful days in our lives or if I may add in most our lives today. This particular Saturday we decided to go on a journey that actually took us nowhere!

We usually spend our time in some shopping center or a mall or a gaming arcade or just aimlessly driving from one end to another or if worse comes to worst we just simply sit at home! This Saturday was different from the usual as we actually decided to explore one part of Uttar Pradesh along with our dear friends for a change. Our journey of rugged roads and lots of dust with people having no driving sense took us to a sleepy town or village of #Khurja! Khurja is located in the Bulandshahar district of Uttar Pradesh and is famous for its pottery and ceramics. We had and particularly I had never heard of this place located just about 1.5 hours from Ghaziabad i.e. 76 kms from my house. The name itself sounded like a mean place and made me think about a dagger more than anything else! However, we were delightfully struck by the quietness and simple beauty of this sleepy village. When I say quiet I genuinely mean there were no lights, not many people on the road possibly because of winters and that we wondered all throughout how these people actually survive without electricity!

Though we started late from our own destination, we reached the village or town by around 5:30 pm and during winters 5:30 seems like 8:00 pm! My friend had been all praise for this place because of its Blue Pottery and #Khurja Pottery that the name comes from! Our journey into darkness led us to some very beautiful ‘go-downs’ and ‘emporiums’. Now all the shops here sell wholesale ceramic or “chini   ” products that are all hand-made and hand-printed. I was astounded by the large variety of pots, plain drinking glasses, tea sets, serving bowl sets, beautifully designed decorative items, kid’s tea sets, wide range of single coffee mugs, dinner sets, salt and pepper sets, dinner plates, quarter plates, snack dishes, bathroom sets and much more starting at Rs. 30 and beyond. These are things that surely drive a woman crazy! The most striking feature about Khurja is its #Blue Pottery. The ornately hand-crafted and delicately hand-painted white and blue colored pottery or sets take your breath away! For all those crockery aficionados, Blue pottery is surely the stuff! The pottery itself ranges from Rs. 4000 to Rs. 25000 depending on the type or design and delicate paintings on it. This is probably the most expensive of the products that you find in Khurja and believe me it is absolutely worth it!

Next time you decide to take a drive out of Delhi, try taking the road to Khurja via NH 24 / AH 2 onto NH 91 for some cheap and interesting shopping!

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