Monday, April 15, 2024

How well do you REALLY know India?

Written By Anwita Halwasiya (Grade 8)

When someone asks you what makes India special I’m sure most of you say the culture, the dances, the monuments, the festivals and so on. But what about the specialities right under our noses? Something that is unique everywhere, something everyone loves yet something we tend to look past. If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m talking about the street food of India! The best part of street food apart from the tantalising tastes is its variety! Each state has its own speciality like the Jhalmuri of Bengal, the Lucknow chaat, the Chole Bhatures of Delhi, the Vada pav of Mumbai and so many more! Each delicacy is just a small plate of heaven! From the enchanting smells to the I-just-can’t-stop-eating bites, no restaurant could ever match the tastiness of these foods. I know most of the youth of India enjoy eating burgers and fries, influenced by western culture, but not me! For me, puchkas and various other street foods are God’s gifts!

Each food item has its own uniqueness and style. For example, the Jhalmuri of Bengal. A simple translation of the name reveals what it’s all about; jahl means spicy, and muri stand for puffed rice, which is also the main ingredient of the dish. Apart from puffed rice, other ingredients include roasted peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, sliced onions, and various spices such as chaat masala and cumin powder. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water and don’t even get me started on the Chole Bhatures of Delhi!Chole Bhature is a Punjabi concoction of spicy curried chickpeas (chole) and puffy fried white-flour bread (bhature), most often eaten together for breakfast. Come mornings, popular chole bhature spots are filled with people, from local rickshaw drivers and shopkeepers to university students, all looking for a delicious affordable meal. Tell a local you ate this for breakfast and you’ll get the widest grin imaginable. It’s one of the best things you can eat in New Delhi! Chole Bhature also holds a special place in my heart because of my fond memories attached to it. So, when my family and I were visiting Delhi we obviously had to stop at Sitaram Diwan for its Chole Bhature. Over there, we met the famed author, teacher and engineer, Sudha Murty! Obviously, being an avid reader, it was a very special moment and whenever I visit Delhi I always have to stop at Sitaram Diwan now! Lastly, my favourite street food is the Vada Pav of Mumbai. Of all Mumbai’s street snacks, the vada pav has grown to be the darling of the masses. A pillowy pav, stuffed with a golden-fried spiced batata (potato) vada covered with a lick of tamarind and coriander chutneys and a sprinkling of garlicky masala – the vada pav is starch heaven, an instant energy booster. It’s a fixed routine, that whenever I visit my aunt and uncle in Mumbai, Vada pav is a must!

So, that’s why I want every tourist to always try street food because while restaurants have good meals, there’s just something special about standing with your friends, laughing and stuffing your face with the delicious food!

Featured Image Courtesy – Mudita’s Kitchen

Anwita Halwasiya
Anwita Halwasiya
Hi, my name is Anwita Halwasiya. I like to read, write and dance. I also swim and play basketball and badminton. Hand me a good book, a cozy blanket, a hot cup of tea and I’m good to go!


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