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  • Day29

    Eat Like a Local

    October 21, 2019 in India ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    We had a day to fill in and had booked a local tour with hotel pick up to explore the Chandni Chowk market area/ try street food.

    It was an experience! First the driver who picked us up barely spoke a word of English and we thought he was our guide. This is going to be good...NOT!! It took almost an hour to arrive at the starting point and we realised this was not our guide, merely the driver and we were relieved to find our guide was a rather bubbly young Indian man (named Anil I think) with a passion for food. That tour group was comprised of 9 people, including 7 Australians.

    First we caught the metro - you pass through screening when entering public places - ladies one side, gents the other. Then started walking through the narrow market alleyways to our first food stop . It was actually upstairs like a small basic restaurant where we sampled 2 dishes. I cannot remember the name but they tasted ok. We moved on, pushing past throngs of people and really putting me out of my comfort zone.

    Next stop and 2 more dishes, a samosa and a sweet fried pastry, eaten while standing in the middle of the alley. By this time Brad was feeling a bit dubious about the food as it really wasn't mating his health inspector eyes approval. By the 3rd stop which was 140yr old establishment famous for its fried bread type of dish, Brad declined any more food, especially after seeing one guy washing up in the drain, another sneeze into his hands and then continue kneading the dough... It was all too much for him.

    There was a quiet alleyway which had remnants of original Delhi architecture, quite old and it was a bit of a peaceful haven amongst all the chaos. Another stop for a lassi (yoghurt drink) and some sort of rice dessert. Then our guide wanted to show us a view from the top of the market place. So off we trot through the spice market where the smells were overwhelming. Everybody was coughing and sneezing, even the people who work in it every day. Up three or four flights of stairs, no lights, step and maybe a handrail if you are lucky. Finally, out on the rooftop to see the setting sun over Delhi and the views over the market and a nearby mosque.

    The return to the starting point required more bustling through people, walking for about half an hour, back on the metro, the drive back to the hotel through the incredible Delhi traffic. This tour was an assault on the senses, the sights, the smells, the noise, the push and shove and even a taste of authentic Indian food. We were exhausted when we arrived home. It was really quite interesting though.
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