Durga Puja celebrations in Delhi’s pandals are either limited to members only or asking for pre-booking of bhog. This is bound to make the foodies in the Capital, who used to wait all year round for the festive time, get food #FOMO. “We are not conducting our usual Pujo food walks this time as none of the pandals have put up the food stalls,” informs Ramit Mitra, from DelhiByFoot. So, how to satiate the cravings? Worry not! We curate a food trail comprising nine typically Bong dishes from some of the most popular crannies of CR Park, to make you relive your pandal hopping days. So hop on, and dig in!
Churmur and Puchka from Raju Chaat Corner, Market 1
A tangy chat, churmur is the perfect appetiser to get started with especially if it’s from this little food kiosk in CR Park. Relishing it here is Birju Kumar, a JNU hosteller, who tells us, “The churmur they make here is very different from the ones I have back at home in Bihar. It’s very tangy and high on spices. We wanted to try Bengali food on a budget, so came here.”
As far as the world famous Bong panipuri aka puchkas are concerned, if you happen to spot a cart with two matkis at the corner of the market, you know you are at the right place! Palak Kapoor, a food blogger was found trying the puchkas for the first time here, and says, “I’ve come all the way from Rajouri Garden especially for these. It’s cute to see these little matkis in his cart. These have two kinds of water, and the lemons slices make the puchkas taste absolutely different!” Kapoor’s friend Bineet Singh, another food blogger, adds, “Main yahan bahut bari kha chuka hun. In fact these are my favourite, and Raju bhaiyya gives me double discount!”
Price: Churmur – ₹40 Puchka – ₹30 for a plate of six
Daab Chingri from Aami Bangali
This traditional Bengali dish made with chingri (prawns) cooked and served in tender coconut. And it’s an absolute hit among many who turn up here only to savour this! Rajeev Adhikari, manager from the eatery adds: “It’s one of our bestsellers. Cooked in nariyal (coconut) curry, it’s something that we always recommend to the customers and people themselves come to us asking for it.”
Aloo Bhaja of City of Joy
Well, which Indian festival can be devoid of potatoes! The Aaloo Bhaja is another absolutely scrumptious main course dish that’s a hot selling all round the year and especially during the time of Durga Puja as both vegetarians and non vegetarians can be spotted relishing it in equal measures. Shelly Sinha, a social media manager alongwith her husband, Vishal Sinha, an advertising professional from Lajpat Nagar say that their meal at City of Joy is never complete without a portion of this. “This Aloo Bhaja is a must try! The potatoes are shredded and deep fried, to make them crisp, and here it tastes like no other place. We always come here especially for this Bengali dish,” says Shelly.
Price: ₹100/plate ( ₹70 for half)
Kosha Mutton from Aami Bangali
“Celebrations for Bengalis is incomplete without yummy food,” says Sangeeta Biswas, an IT professional from Noida who swears by the Kosha Mutton served here. “Every Durga Puja, I make it a point to eat Kosha Mutton with Luchi (a deep-fried flatbread made out of maida, and looks similar to poori). This combo is extremely delicious because of the rich, spicy and thick gravy of the mutton and the tenderness of the Luchi. My friends recommended this place, and we came all the way from Noida to try it. Already loving it!” she adds.
Pabda Tel Jhal from City of Joy
Be it a Borg or no, you can’t miss this dish comprising single bone whole fish served with spicy gravy! Debjyoti, owner of this small restaurant, shares, “Our head chef’s speciality is the Pabta Tel Jhal (a tangy tomato base gravy with a tempering of nigella seeds and green chilies) and continues to remain a top seller all seasons. Pabda (Indian Catfish) has always had its own coterie of loyal Bongio patrons. Moreover, being a single bone whole fish it has gleefully catered to the non bengali (bones….oh! no no) fish fancy of Delhities as well.”
Price: ₹420/plate ( ₹240 for half)
Ilish Shorshe from Aami Bangali
Touted as one of the most sought-after Bengali delicacies, any food walk is incomplete without Illish Shorshe. This dish requires cooking Hilsa fish in a mustard gravy. “It’s a super common dish in every household, every restaurant. And it’s the most tasty dish any Bengali or non vegeratian non-Bengali can have. And whenever I have it here, I feel these guys make even this simplest dish so tasty,” says Nilanjan Bhaumik, a Noida-based banker who dines regularly at CR Park.
Sondesh from Yummi Kolkataa, CR Park Market 1
After a sumptuous authentic Bengali meal, if you are looking for some absolutely mouth-watering Sandesh that simply melts-in-the-mouth, then this is the place for you! “Humare pass chaar-panch paanch type ke Sandesh hain aur yeh sab hum subah dresh banate hain aur dopahar tak sab sold out ho jaate hain. Inmein se do-teen mein cheeni hoti hai aur baaki sab gur ke bante hais,” informs Tanomesh Haldar, an employee at the outlet.
Mishti Doi from Artistocrat
And how can those with a sweet tooth be justified if there’s no Mishti Doi! This creamy dessert is any day the best bet to make sweet endings. “I love the flavour of the Mishti Doi that we get here at this shop in CR Park,” says Ipshita Panda, an artist from CR Park, adding, “The fact that it’s served in a kulhad (clay cup), makes it all the more authentic. And not only during the time of Durga Puja, this is my usual favourite place to source this delicacy on any day of the year.”
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