Monday, I described the set-up: my dad versus Google to see who could plan the ultimate Delhi dine around. Tuesday, I described his dining picks. Thursday, Google's picks. Today, a one-stop spot for a taste (and history) of Delhi dining.
I strongly believe there are no such things as coincidences. I found Tallis and Co., offering customized culinary experiences of Delhi, on Google. Later that day my Dad read about them in an issue of Outlook Traveler magazine.
We immediately called them and relayed our challenge: how to we find the best of Delhi dining. Next thing I knew, we were cooking with Sadia Dehlvi, a prominent food writer whose family has 500-year-old roots in Delhi. In a small kitchen, accompanied by her mother and two helpers, Sadia cooked us a typical meal of potato curry, lentil dumplings in yogurt sauce, fried breads, and chickpea curry. She even managed to squeeze in a dessert of carrot halwa.
"There is just no one way to define the foods of Delhi-there are so many religions here, so many cultures. You visited many Delhi favorites but barely scratched the surface. On your next visit I will show you a different kind of Dilli-ka Khana (Delhi food), the Muslim-influenced cuisine of Delhi defined by niharis, biryanis, and payas," Dehlvi said as we ate from an amazing array of foods.
We talked for several hours about all the different kinds of foods found in Delhi. Finally, my father and I determined that our search for the heart of Delhi dining revealed more questions than answers. Our adventure was far from over. But deciding where to eat next is something we'll never agree on.
Monica Bhide writes about food and culture. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and several other national publications. She is currently at work on her third book of essays and recipes due out in 2009 from Simon & Schuster. Visit her website here.
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