In many cultures, breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, and this might very well be the case in India, especially if you’re starting your day with a delectable Breakfast Trail tour by Delhi Food Walks. You definitely want to come on an empty stomach… or potentially don’t eat dinner the night before… as the company’s “foodie in chef,” Anubhav Sapra, is going to take your palate on an exciting adventure through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi, tasting an amazing array — and quantity — of Delhi breakfast specialties. Work up your appetite below!
A passion for Delhi’s culinary scene first led Anubhav Sapra to create a food blog which he then carried over through the creation of Delhi Food Walks in 2011. Six years later and with a strong repertoire of around a dozen different tours, it has become Delhi’s premier food tour company. I was thrilled to be able to discover these and some of Anubhav’s favorite food spots of the city on his Breakfast Trail Tour. Our foray began in Chandni Chowk, the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. This maze of streets is very calm as well as much cooler in the morning. This time of day also granted us the opportunity to witness the buzzing neighborhood gradually waking up. After an introduction we got down to our business at hand: sampling virtually all of Delhi’s breakfast options… but not just anywhere.
Anubhav has carefully selected the venues he includes on his tours. All are hygienic and safe for foreign bellies, however, that doesn’t mean you miss out on authentic street fare. Plus, many have been open for decades and have been passed down through the generations, like at our first stop, in operation since 1910. Here we dug into some pooris, a puffy, deep-fried bread which we saw them preparing right next to the counter, served with some spicy aloo sabzi (potato curry), dal and chickpeas. I have to say, I might have been full after this first stop — I was almost tempted to pick up some of their beautifully presented sweets… but we had many more dishes to try!
We then ventured deep into the narrow lanes of Old Delhi, somewhere most visitors would get lost in without being guided by a savvy local. Our weaving route through the maze of streets eventually led us to a hungry cluster of clients eagerly awaiting their turn for a breakfast favorite: matar kulcha. I couldn’t blame them, soon we too were in possession of a portion of this father-to-son street vendor’s tasty (non-spicy) curry dish — enjoyed with a soft kulcha bread.
Afterwards we worked our way over to Karim’s, an Old Delhi food institution. Opened in 1913 and now run by the fourth generation, its particularly known for alu gosht (mutton with potatoes), which I skipped out on in place of some veg curry. Before leaving the area, Anubhav took us around the side of the restaurant where we saw a street vendor chef hard a work stirring up his specialty of haleem (buff tongue). Apparently very coveted, a curious concoction at the very least!
Anubhav took pity on our full bellies by allowing us to digest on an amble through the area’s vibrant spice market, a nice complement to the prepared cuisine we were learning about. We could almost taste the flavors as we passed the overflowing bags and dishes of bright orange curries, fiery red chillies, aromatic cumin and other potent spices. He also took us up to a secret flower market where we climbed to the rooftop to view the area — a great way to gain a geographic perspective of our experience.
What… 15 minutes without any food? Anubhav would settle this wrongdoing with a sampling of a delicious baked then fried paratha bread with milk, simple and simply divine. Speaking of milk… no food tour of Delhi would be complete without trying a very authentic chai. Ours was carefully prepared at yet another historic establishment, one which has its milk brought directly in from the countryside via a motorcycle milkman! How cool is that?
Wobbling a few blocks further… we somehow managed to find room in our very full tummies for some divine sweets at one of the city’s most prestigious bakeries…. oh and… a lassi! Another must in India, and of course ours was prepared at another top venue, in business since 1972. At this delicious rate, Delhi Food Walks will eventually go down in those same Delhi culinary history books. In the meantime, don’t miss your chance to catch the Delhi breakfast trail with Anubhav.
At the time of publication, the three hour Breakfast Trail Tour costs INR 4,000/person. You can learn more about and book the tour directly here or contact them here: firstname.lastname@example.org / +91 98911 21333.
I was a guest of Delhi Food Walks, however, all opinions expressed above are entirely my own.