There is an endlessness about having to spell out the foods that affect, change and thoroughly amuse me….Yes, I used the word ‘amuse’. From watching Nigella Lawson frolic about her kitchen writing poetry with her food to beloved Jamie Oliver (what a tantalizing title ‘The Naked Chef’!) and back again to wonderful reality TV shows such as Master Chef Australia, where ordinary people get to do extraordinary things….with FOOOOOD!!!!!! It’s like a dream come true….for all! Even those of us who rather than cook it, like to eat it instead!
It’s strange how food is incredibly central to our lives. Not just for sheer survival and nourishment but for our overall ‘spiritual’ well-being too. Yes, yes. I used the word ‘spiritual’. Just watch the movie Julie and Julia. Food lovers paradise! And who could forget Chocolat! Amazing! Maybe now would be a good time to do a poll? Hmmmmm….why the hell not!
Found this on YouTube and just really wanted to share it. Loved the movie and I now really wish I could learn more about Julia Child and get my hands on her cookbook!
By all means, being from where I’m from, one should NOT love vegetarian food, one should not love coconut or tamarind but God help me, I do! South Indian is one of my favourite cuisines. I’m crazy about coconut, which is why I love Thai Prawn Curry (lip-smacking coconut goodness). I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to South Indian food. I love it all. I love idli’s with sambar, love dosa’s (every type), the rice is even spectacular with choices of lemon, curd, coconut etc. There are uthapams, assortment of chutneys (of course the coconut one being my fave) and gunpowder which I have to thank my Tamil local guardian for introducing to me. The snacks are amazing apart from the obvious banana chips, dahi vada (INA has the best, I feel) and there is the murukul…yummy!
Being from Delhi, I still believe Saravana Bhavan is the best place for South Indian. Have eaten at Banana Leaf and Vaango’s and that’s about as far as my South Indian experience has gone. Have yet to try Sagar Ratna, so let’s see but in terms of taste, value for money and assortment, Saravana is the best by far! Promise pics will go up as soon as I’ve saved enough to go and eat…healthy *weary eyed*
Tried Neer dosa…it was grouped under the Health food section, so since gyming has started thought that would be a good dish. My stomach kind of went weird but still undecided about whether it was the food or just me…hmmmm. It really doesn’t compare especially when others around you are eating huge, masala dosa’s But all that aside I must say I liked the light texture of it and the accompaniment of (as best as I can describe) vegetables in roux sauce :-/ Still not sure.
For us lowly students, it is comforting to note that for the past year or so (or perhaps longer), the students and residents of the North DU Campus have been having better and better access to cuisines other than the usual, biryani, momo, chowmein etc. I’m talking about the Korean Restaurant. For many, this quaint little restaurant has been a source of relief for those wanting to try something new and meaty. While for many others, it has served as a good first-time introduction to cuisines other than the Indianized Chinese foods and the fast-food chains.
This little restaurant manages to serve up quite a selection of Korean dishes. The pricing might put many students off, but considering the cost of other Korean fare in other places, the prices are quite reasonable. The restaurant is clean and the service is attentive and welcoming. The food might take some time to prepare but considering the time it use to take when the place first got started, there has been overall improvement and increase in the speed of service.
Tonight, my friend and I tried the Jabchae. Both of us had agreed that we had each tried it once before, on separate occasions, but didn’t really like it that much so soon forgot about it. Honestly, I wanted to try it again because a certain K-pop star revealed that this was his fave Korean dish Lol. Yes, you heard me say ‘K-pop’ and don’t you dare think for one second that I’m going to be apologizing for admitting it. So hmphh and double hmphhh to you. Putting all that aside, the Jabchae was ‘divine’! Oily but the vegetables were not overcooked, right amount of chicken pieces (you can get pork Jabchae too) and the flavour was wonderful, even the mushrooms had wonderfully absorbed all the flavour. You can also specify as to how spicy you would like the jabchae to be. I decided for mild since wasn’t sure if my nose and stomach would be able to take it :p And I have to mention the actual noodles that were used…oh they were so nice and chewy! Glassy yet they didn’t break apart at all. Which sometimes proved to be quite a problem especially when you’re trying to divide the noodles equally amongst yourselves. As an accompaniment, we also had pork kimbab but must remember to take pictures of the food before they’re eaten…sadly, only 4 kimbab pieces were remaining on the plate when I finally remembered to take a shot :p
We sat down to eat Budaejigae. A dish originating from the time of Word War II, when Korean families having little food, would scrounge around the American bases for perfectly good food that was thrown out and wasted. Out of that sad plight arose a magnificently warm and filling dish, the Budaejigae. Maybe due to it’s history, it does fill you with a great sense of warmth and gratitude when you dig in. It’s a noodle dish combining spam, baked beans, cheese, veggies and Korean spices. Delicious and filling!
The entire meal experience was excellent. When you enter, you’re greeted by attendants dressed in Korean attire and shown to your own little panelled room, where you sit around a central table. Good news is there’s actually space under the table for your legs and you don’t have to seat cross-legged or legs folded to the side After that, you’re plied with food from beginning to end! Little snacks: potato, mini-omlettes, kimchi etc. and you’re given a wonderful liquid made from corn that actually helps reduce fat! Believe what you want to believe, but I lapped it up happily! Following that, comes the main course! From the entrance to the room, you can actually see the attendants preparing the meal outside first then bringing it to your table along with a little stove to keep it warm. Along with the Budaejigae, we had Pork Galbi (marinated pork ribs) which we ate by wrapping the pieces in lettuce and adding whatever condiments we wanted. When the meal was done, we were treated to fruits: watermelon and papaya and this was topped off with a lovely cooling drink made predominantly from cinnamon and sugar. But I have a feeling there might have been persimmon and ginger, or it could have been Persimmon punch, also known as Sujeonggwa. The jury is still out on that one. As if, the whole experience couldn’t get any better, my friend got gifted a lovely trinket from the owner’s mother, a small metal bookmark, with lovely carving and lattice work. The exact words of the attendant who gave it to her and another kid was, ‘the administrator would like to give these to the children’ (note: the child in question, my friend, is in her early 20′s….ahem).
Yet again, I didn’t get shots of the food but I got shots of these cute little wooden…well… the best description is ‘tags’ at the entrance. So posting them up!
The last pic might confuse some people, but my lovely in-house Korean expert and beloved ‘student’….lol…has translated what it means for me:
“Its really cute….it means (from the top) Music class-piano. violin etc, then Art class, Science class, Dance class- hip hop, fusion etc and Language class-English, hindi and korean ^^”
So there. That was my lovely outing at Gung. Waiting to try out Gung The Palace at Gurgaon!
INDIAN STREET FOOD
I say it now and say it again, I love, like, LOOOOVE, Indian street food and my fave has to be Puchka aka Gol Gappa. A close second has to be that lovely, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth Daulat ki Chaat, made in Old Delhi that sets due to the morning dew. Yummmmmy. Anyways, getting back to the Gol Gappa, I am a huge fan of the local Puchka-wallah over in neighbouring Indra Vihar. He makes Gol Gappa the way it’s suppose to be made. Hmmph….always forget to take a pic! Someone get me a camera! Hehehehe.
How about another poll?
FOOD FOR STUDENTS!
Have to talk to you about a little place called Noodles in Kamla Nagar (DU north campus). Like I said in today’s post, sometimes we go there more for what the place stands for. That is true. I know quite a few people who do not like Noodles. Fair enough, no one place is for everyone. But the entire establishment should not be discounted for there are a few dishes there that are just great to have. One dish is the Crispy Fried Chilli Potatoes and the Crispy Fried Chilli Mushrooms! Lip-smacking! Pictures of which I did manage to get this time!
We decided to go with Chicken Lemon Coriander soup, Crispy Fried Chilli Mushrooms, Mixed Fried Rice, Veg Fried Rice and Shredded Chicken in Garlic sauce or Ginger sauce…forgotten now. If you’re heading to noodles, the Chicken Lemon Coriander soup is a must have if you like sour and tangy and if you’re a soup fan on the whole. Either the Crispy Fried Chilli Potatoes or Mushrooms are also excellent. The American chopsuey is not half bad, there is one more chopsuey that is great. People might find it bland but it looks pretty healthy and light on the stomach. All in all, value for money.
Since John’s Bakery got a mention, I felt I should finally mention that much beloved cafe that gave students, non-students, educated unemployed, educated and employed (lucky few) a place to ‘hang out’ and chill…AIM Cafe in Outram Lines.
Let’s face it, we were seriously running out of places to hang out in North and suddenly the buzz was going around that a Korean cafe was coming up! What joy (and hesitation) when it finally opened!!! I say hesitation because well…what exactly does one GET in a Korean cafe? Hmmm :/
It’s been almost 2 years since it opened and to no one’s surprise, the place is doing well. They had these cute cards that you could get stamped everytime you came in and got a cup of coffee or a drink. Not sure what you would get once you finished stamping the whole card…we were hoping for some goodies but most likely it would have just been a free coffee or drink…Hmmm…
The drinks are good in this little cafe. Thankfully, nowadays the ice is crushed and blended much better in drinks such as the shakes and frappuccinos. I just wish the ice in the Bingsoo would be slightly finer and a little less in quantity compared to the fruits and the topping i.e. red bean powder, sweet potato, green tea. Note: the Sweet Potato Bingsoo is delicious…and ‘freaking’ rich! Awh…but very good! :p Nonetheless, on a hot summer’s day, nothing refreshes a person better than a cool, nourishing Bingsoo! Their shakes section has also expanded to offer shakes such as Blueberry, Pomegranate, Cookies, Sweet Potato etc. I’ve tried most of them (the Green Tea shake was a big fave of mine at one point) and my new fave is the simple Milk shake which is incredibly light and the only word I can use here is ‘satiating’.
The coffees are even better and you get the option of hot or cold. I am fond of the Vienna coffee with the dollop of cream…hehe. A friend once had the Caramel Macchiato…it was sweet but delicately sweet and surprisingly light. Must try the cold version. Had a cappuccino once too and it wasn’t bad either. I might be slightly biased as I tend to go for cold drinks more. But in all honesty, their coffees are really good.
Their tea section is also commendable. A friend of mine loves, I mean LOVESSSS Job’s tears tea. This tea, along with walnuts and pine nuts also uses a seed called Job’s tears (Yulmu in Korean) and the Job’s tears tea is called Yulmucha. The tea is made with the powdered Job’s tears seeds. It’s slightly sweet, creamy and delicious! I like the Sujjeonggwa which is described in wiki as a fruit punch, but the predominant flavours you can taste are ginger and cinnamon. Not sure if AIM cafe makes their sujjeonggwa with persimmons too? Hmmmm…Apart from these personal faves there is on offer Darjeeling tea, Assamese tea, Nilgiri tea, Early grey (if I’m not mistaken) and the ‘flowering’ teas like the Dragon Flower tea (dip a rolled ‘tea flower’ in a pot of hot water and watch it unfurl to reveal a dazzling flower). That has to top the list and the lovely tea sets that they’re served in are just to die for! In fact, the crockery is just so beautiful in this place: clean lines, lovely designs and unique for this part of the world.
If you’re worrying about what to eat with your selection of drinks, don’t worry. This cafe also has a growing list of snacks to accompany your drink. There is the fruit yoghurt which looks deceptively small but is incredibly filling with a topping of fruits. Waffles, Chocolate fondue, Volcano (chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and a scoop of ice-cream), Korean pancake (slightly sweet), Korean noodles (with soup and without), Ham ‘sandwich’ (it really is actually a small burger) and more. The recent addition to the menu was the ‘Big kimbap’. To fill you in, they already a Little Kimbap and the Kimbap which would be better called a Triangle Kimbap. The Big Kimbap is Rs.140 BUT you get every rupee’s worth! The rice is actually the glutinous, slightly sticky rice. It comes coated in lightly fried sesame seeds and the filling is predominantly tuna with kimchi but all the flavours combined just makes it all taste so much more complex! Auuugghhhh….(drooling like Homer Simpson). So gooood!
I have a few pics of the place but I need to stop forgetting to take a picture of the food before I stuff it in my mouth!!!!!!!!!! ARghhhhh! It’s a bad habit but I will endeavour to pause before plunging! Also while waiting for your order, there is a book case with most of the popular magazines around i.e. Elle, Vogue, Cosmo, GQ, Maxim etc etc and also informational booklets and books about Korea. Good ‘browsing’ materials.
Along with the cute pics of the pot, I did manage to remember to click a pic of the Big Kimbap and a portion of my milk Milk Shake.
BAMBOO HUT (Naga-Northeast Food)
When my brother comes over and he’s hungry and you need value for money, that’s the time we both are incredibly grateful for Bamboo Hut. So what is Bamboo Hut?
This little restaurant specializing in Naga food opened up in North, close to the Delhi University campus in Outram Lines this year. Like I mentioned earlier, the prices are incredible value for money. If you have a bit of money to spare, for Rs. 200 you can have a Naga Thali of either pork, fish or chicken in bamboo shoot with a small serving of boiled green vegetables with chutney. The meat comes cooked with bamboo shoot and red chillies and the whole meal is filling and nourishing. The other big favourite is the Smoked Pork cooked with Axuni. The smoked pork is said to come all the way from Nagaland and it tastes oh so good. For days where the wallet is a little lighter, the momo’s and fried rice are really decent, priced between Rs. 60 to Rs. 70. The place is small but the decor is well done and the thing that I really enjoy when I go there is the cutlery that are used…traditional wooden bowls, plates and serving dishes.
So whenever you get the time, go over and have a meal. Service is still a little slow but definitely gotten faster over the months. But if you have a little time to spare and want to try a slightly closer feel to a home-cooked meal, then try out Bamboo Hut.