If you think you know all about food, here’s food for thought! India’s cooking traditions are so vast and varied it will take us a lifetime to explore all. There’s plenty written about the street food, court cuisine, and festive food of India. But, there is also food which has arisen from the need to revere and relish all the aspects of plant and animal life that bountiful nature has provided without waste, as nature dictates. This is the thought from where our craziest foods have evolved over the centuries and are still enjoyed, unsullied by manmade boundaries. It is time for you to check out these unique wonders from across the country, available right here in Delhi and relished by many.
In Delhi, the bastion of craziest cuisines is Humanyunpur, at Safdarjung Enclave, where many regional restaurants operate, serving authentic regional cuisines. Then, of course there’s Old Delhi, which still has a lot of surprises to throw up! Our survey has thrown up the following craziest dishes. We’re sure we’ve missed quite a few which we’ll leave you to explore on your own.
Just eat your way down the menu and you might just become a fan of these crazy dishes!
Mizo Diner, Safdarjung Enclave -
Glorious buffalo intestines, “ Sachek”, which is intestines with authentic seasonings, is served here. The texture of this dish is rubbery and it leaves a lingering aftertaste. Another variant worth trying here is the brown curry of chopped buffalo liver, stomach and guts; very meaty, wholesome and filling. You can also try the Changkha Bawl, fresh bitter gourd boiled in shrimp paste. These dishes are sure to appeal to the adventure seeker in you!
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Bernardo’s, Chittaranjan Park -
Most of us are familiar with Goan curries, but may not be aware of the ingredients of pork Sorpotel. Sorpotel is made from pork offal. In simpler words, it is made from a pig’s internal organs and entrails with some blood thrown in for flavouring, which would otherwise be treated as waste. It is quite a delicacy in Goa and worth savouring in our very own backyard!
Manipur Mahao Sanglen, Safdarjung Enclave -
Manipuri cuisine does not believe in wasting any part of their favourite fish. So, what we throw away, they have made into a cuisine! Try the Ngarinka Fish, which is Fried Fish Innards (entrails), deep fried with garlic and onions. It has a slightly bitter taste, yet is lip-smacking delicious for regulars.
The Categorical Eat Pham, Safdarjung Enclave -
Much like the French, the people of Manipur and rest of the North East relish snails. They serve River Snails, a Manipuri delicacy, with a spicy sauce mixed with chives and pepper. The owner recalls how a brave Delhite ate the snails with the shells still on them instead of sucking out the flesh! Were sure you’ll not make the same mistake now!
Janata & Haji Tikka, Jama Masjid -
Janata, a small restaurant, greets you with platters of raw internal organs of goats like slabs of liver, piles of round testicles and mounds of goat brains which they’ll cook up for you. You can also order here cooked hearts and rump. Across the road from here at Haji Tikka, you can order Khiri (udder) kebab. Soft, chewy, cut from goat udder it has quite a few fans of its taste.
Around the corner is another shop selling Pyali, a spicy curry of goat pancreas, chickpeas, potatoes, chutney and chopped onions. Only the brave hearts can survive eating this, as it is pungent, singes the tongue, and has a sick sliminess which not many can relish.
For familiar foods our palate needs no introduction; but, for the kind of unusual dishes mentioned above, you need to gradually develop a taste. So be a little adventurous when you head out with your friends for an exotic meal next time and try out one of these dishes. You never know what might tickle your taste buds!
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