With yet another academic year rolling in, and a new batch of enthusiastic applicants arriving at Delhi University, it is befitting to write about a salvaging passion for university students everywhere, a lingering question, that is never answered for good – what to eat? Actually, the question holds good for anyone. Personally there is no dearth of situations where this thought doesn’t instinctively crop to the fore of my mind, making its nagging presence felt by way of the rumbling of my pitiable stomach.
Here are 5 delightful food joints in Delhi’s North Campus, ranging from the ones priced ever so slightly on the higher side, to the hole-in-the-wall paradises.
1. Our first stop is a quaint little kiosk just off of Riviera Apartments, near the Vishwavidyalaya metro station. Though unnamed, this stall has stood its ground for nearly 20 years. The owner, Rakeshji, opens the eatery as early as 6:30 am, with bread pakoras for starters, and then serves sumptuous aloo puri up till noon. Piping hot samosas are next on the menu, until the shop closes at 6 in the evening.
On many cool summer mornings, one finds regular customers sitting on the rickety wooden benches at this anonymous stall, exchanging headlines from the paper while sipping a hot cup of sweet chai, which is served all day.
Don’t miss: Aloo puri
2. If you’re craving some crisp medu vadas, or uthappams, South Indian Cafe is a great option. Easily missed, this neatly tucked away cafe is just adjacent to Gwyer Hall nearly a decade old. It’s run by a middle aged man from Madurai, who insists I call him Anna. Though not so much a cafe, it is essentially a few wooden tables put together, with mouth-watering food that doesn’t tear a hole in your pocket. Anna’s kitchen also serves chicken biryani on Thursday nights, after 7.
Don’t miss: Tomato rice and egg rice
3. Next on the list is the Delhi School of Economics (D School) canteen. It was once Indian Coffee House, though, for nearly 22 years now, the kitchen is being managed by two employees of the erstwhile coffee house. Do look out for the mutton cutlet, mutton dosa and spring rolls to begin with.
Do also look out for Baba, and his eccentric humour. Crowned with his signature Gandhi topi, he’s always handing out preciously sardonic remarks, as digestives after a great meal.
Don’t miss: Egg curry rice and jelly with cream
4. Momo’s Point is one of the oldest food joints to have cropped up in Kamala Nagar. An alumnus of Hansraj College, owner Harsh often found himself in Chanakya, satiating his momo cravings. He finally decided to bring what was a novel delicacy in the 90s, closer home. The initial menu comprised of the steamed pork, chicken and vegetarian momos. But as time and people’s palettes evolved so did the vibrant menu, now consisting of fried momos, tandoori momos, honey chilli potatoes, etc. The ultimate validation for the food, undoubtedly, is the queue outside at any given time of day.
Don’t miss: Spicy chicken winglets and fried pork momos
5. Our last stop is Shagun, a South Asian restaurant in Hudson Line that has been around for 30 years. In the last few years they have been overwhelmed by competition from myriad other restaurants that have cropped up in the area, but the people at Shagun stress on retaining their originality.
The menu is a field day in Vietnam, Burma or Thailand, and the food is largely authentic. Popularly frequented by university students, the price range too is reasonable. The ambience is made complete by some dubious Oriental music, and dingy red lighting, throwing me back to nostalgic settings of Indian television shows of the 80s and 90s.
Don’t miss: Burmese curry and steamed momos