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!