Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, and discipline. Muslims from all over the world, during the holy month of Ramadan, fast from dawn until sunset, and refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids. The Meals are restricted to just two Pre-fast meals before dawn, Suhoor, and the one after sunset called Iftar.
This month of Ramadan, sees the parts of Old delhi,around the magnificent, Jama Masjid, turn into a complete pilgrimage. At dusk, while the Bazar Matia Mahal, becomes a social ground for the locals, it attracts food lovers from around the city and farther for the inexhaustible options of great meat preparations, the community is famous for.
While a selective meat eater like me reached the glorious part of the city to witness the much spoken about delicacies, and discovered the much spoken paradise of food in my own way.
While the bazaar, is heavy on meat preparations, and the aroma of grilling Kababs, and steaming Biryani, can be a bit of overwhelming experinece for vegetarians, a inner drive to witness the grandeour of teh festival and food, is good enough to keep you going.
Five places I like to speak about which got me excited and speak about the food and stories around it are a must try for a historical and gastromical experience.
1.Haji Mohammad Hussain for a super flavourful, crisp Fried Chicken, served with A special yellow chilli chutney.
( Word of Caution: Super spicy , and keep some space for more if this is your first stop)
2.Babu Bhai For succulent delicious kababs and his unstoppable historical stories. He serves some really good kababs and I can say with conviction as we had the similar ones in the beginning of our food expedition at Lallu which are best avoided as they lack flavours.
(World of Caution: The contents of kababs are questionable, and may can contain Buff)
3.Babu Bhai for an extinct delicacy called Gola Kabab or better known as Sutli Kabab, Known so as it is held to the skewers with a super thin thread and can be eaten only by unwinding the thread as it is so soft to be cut and picked. Though Babu Bhai has so many stories to tell if you have time sitting and enjoying the kababs, he was honest enough to mention that the flavours and spices have changed over ages due to economical constraints, but his passion for the food, still promises one of the best kababs in and around that area.
4.Kareems for the best Mutton Korma , and much suggested Phirni. My bucket list for next food trip to the place.
5.Biryani is an integral part of feasts during any festival, and the Pehalwan Biryani wale are famous for serving one of the best Biryanis, in Jamam Masjid area. Another mendatory walk due as Missed having this in my recent walk, and highly recommended.
6. The Sheermal, loaded with nuts and ghee, reminded me of arabic baklava, in a softer version. A must have at Haji Imran special Sheermal shop. Freshly rolled sheermal, one can see been overloaded with nuts right there and served hot out of the tandor.
(Word of caution: One sheermal is almost like a family feast )
7..And while the overload of food and a long walk is sure gonna tire u, a glass of Sharbat E Mohabbet at Amirs is a good choice to quench the thirst. Served with pieces of water melon in a milk sharbat is unique.
8.The Mawa Jalebi from the sweet shop next to Haji Mohammed Hussain Fried chicken shop, is a must try for the novelty of the sweet.
9. And get some memories packed from the Haji Jameel Bakery, after u are stuffed to the fullest and yet the curiosity is hard to curb. Their Sweet bun bread ( a bread form of sheermal) is for sure a good take away.
Each food consumed while u are exploring The Jama Masjid area during Ramadan, is available in normal days all the same way, but the beauty and the buzz of this place is worth a visit around in Ramadan.
Best time to visit is evening during the Iftar.
Walking by the streets you will see piles of feni and others savoury sweets consumed during iftar and suhoor. The market lits up into a beautiful fare kind of feel, by the night. Wear Comfortable clothes, shoes to be able to walk the distance.