Get Street Smart

Delhi takes its street food very seriously. Eating is as much a religion as shouting "Sachin" at Ferozeshah Kotla (irrespective of which team is playing) and honking at every turn and pothole on the road. So when we visited "Dilli ke Pakwaan", Delhi Tourism's annual street foods of Delhi festival (on till February 14), we expected to walk away feeling sated and sighing with contentment. Instead, we walked away surly, sorrowing over a misspent afternoon. Below is the culinary breakdown.

The Venue

Baba Kharak Singh Marg is a great venue for any kind of street festival, and this time proved no exception. The food stalls were spread out through the entire stretch of pavement outside the various handicraft houses. Interspersed with the the sights, sounds and smells of frying potatoes and sizzling meat, were puppeteers and musicians from Rajasthan plying their wares, and soothsayers from Uttar Pradesh reading fortunes, all adding to the general festive air.

The Spread

The dishes on offer were the usual suspects from Delhi's street food line-up, with several missing elements. More than half the stalls (most of which were run by various, rather anonymous, caterers) were serving everything from aloo tikki (Rs 50 for a plate) and chicken biryani (Rs 120-Rs 200 for a plate) to korma (Rs 200 for two pieces), so there wasn't really a question of specialties. For some reason there were also stalls run by a coffee conglomerate. We know a lot can happen over coffee, but it was kind of incongruous in a festival supposedly celebrating Delhi's street food.

The Food

The quality of the food was unfortunate, given that it was supposed to reflect the best of Delhi's street food, which is pretty palatable. Though we like our steaks underdone, half-raw aloo tikkis doesn't really float our boat. Standard sizes weren't applicable, given the miniature servings. We also tried Daulat ki Chaat, which we found about as appetising as a glass of unpasteurised milk. Incidentally, a serving of this sweet will cost you Rs 50, but if you want it packed in a white plastic container, be prepared to shell out Rs 100. Forget gold, invest in plastic.

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