Earlier this year we got an amazing opportunity to travel to India for ten days with a group of Rotarians. (I’ll talk more about the total experience in a later post.) Travelling to India our first worry was whether we would enjoy and adapt to the local food. Neither my boyfriend, Lieven, nor myself have ever eaten much Indian food, and you can imagine that the food found locally probably differs from what we have had here in Belgium!
We arrived in Delhi a day before the rest of our travel companions, and so to dive-in headfirst into the Indian culinary experience, we decided to go on the Urban Adventure Delhi Food Walk. Urban Adventures is from the same parent company as Intrepid Travel, which we travelled with last year through Indonesia, so we felt very confident that we would have an amazing experience.
The tour took place in the area nearby the University of Delhi, in the north of the city. We ended up being a group of five plus our local guide, Nipon, which was really perfect for navigating the crowded streets and squeezing in the small restaurants we started out in.
The whole tour took around 3-4 hours. We started out by visiting a couple small restaurants, but then the majority of our food was sampled from street vendors. Along the way we stopped for a henna session, went for a short rickshaw ride, and really got to see and experience what an evening in Delhi was like for locals. Everything we ate and drank (including bottles of water as we went around) was included in our tour price, as well as the rickshaw. We would take portions to sample as a group, but could re-order for ourselves whenever we wanted to. Only the henna was extra but was such a good price you couldn’t even think twice about doing it; even Lieven got a henna armband!
The tour included six savoury dishes and finished with six sweet dishes. We ended at a small restaurant for the final fours desserts and to rest, relax, and debrief on everything we had eaten and seen. Before we knew it, we were back on our tuktuk towards our hotel, bellies completely full and satisfied.
- Bhel-Puri, a mixed bowl of crunchy, salty, sweet flavours – our favourite savoury dish of the day!
- Gol-Gappa, our challenge was to pop one of these in our mouth all at once. It was a hollow fried dough-ball filled with a yogurty liquid – not to my taste
- Pau Bhaji, a butter bread topped with a vegetable curry, onions, and mint sauce – the runner up savoury dish
- Kulfi, the first dessert we tried, a spiced ice cream bar with almond, cinnamon, and cardamom
- Roller ice cream: fruity syrups are poured over the massive block, before shaving off a bowl kebab-style
The food walk was hands down the best food we ate for the entire trip. Since after that point we were travelling with a bigger group, almost all of our meals were already arranged. These tended to be at bigger restaurants or hotels with buffets set up that while providing good food, over time started to blend into each other, all offering the same sorts of dishes. I’m so glad we took the opportunity to get off the beaten track and taste more of India!
- Jalebi, a fried sugary dessert similar in shape to funnel cakes
- Gulab Jamun, a milk solid based dumpling spiced with cinnamon and cardamon, served in a syrupy sauce – my favourite dessert!
- Kaju Katli, cashew diamond cookies topped with silver foil – the runner up dessert and something I want to try making myself!