Yet another sojourn into the Old City brought me to what could be one of the most difficult places to find. Its a tiny lane- three people would have trouble walking abreast, not marked by any signage and it leads out of a cacophony of cars, buses, carts, trucks and the occasional cow. This is Paranthe Wali Gali. After a look around the fairly well maintained (atleast in part) Red Fort at the beginning of Chandni Chowk, fellow foodie Rukmini and me jostled our way past Dariba Kalan and the Sisganj Gurudwara to come to a nondescript entrance to this lane (on the left).
The name says it all, of course. But while I was expecting a never-ending line of parantha shops on either side (ala the sweet shops on the lane from Vishnu Ghat to Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar), there are just a bunch of 4-5 shops making and selling paranthas. We tried to get a place in the first few and managed a couple of seats only after some waiting. Dont be fooled, there’s no maitre d, and tables are shared. While there’s no menu, the prices are displayed prominently in the restaurant. Parantha prices range from about Rs 20 (for a plate of plain paranthas) upto Rs 75 for the exotic banana and chocolate flavours. Two paranthas make a plate. We stuck to old favourites aloo (potato) and gobi (cauliflower). Here’s where it gets interesting. For what is a very reasonable price- you get a plate, some daal (lentil soup), subzi (mixed veggies) and achar (pickles) over and above the parantha. These add ons are refilled by the usual chhotu and are included in the price of the paranthas. Plus, you get as many refills as you like (much like a thali). We also ordered a bowl of curd to go with the paranthas.
The paranthas themselves were excellent. It easy to see why this place has established itself on the Delhi food circuit (and therefore earned a place on this blog!). Best of all, they lack the usual dollop of ghee or butter that is the hallmark of highway paranthas (an urban diet perhaps), making them relatively light, yet filling. We werent able to have more than a couple- which means that our total bill for lunch came to about a hundred bucks.
Here’s the downside. Hygiene is non-existent- this is street food after all. On a weekend, getting a place to sit can be an issue and its usually a free for all when it comes to seating- expect to share your table with strangers. A full complement of guests means that your order will take a while (upto 15 minutes)- which, on an empty stomach, will feel forever.
|Ratings/ Quick Facts||Scale (on 10)/ Remarks|
|Ease of access||1|
|Quality of food||8|
|Value for money||9|
|Would I go back there?||Not on a regular basis- but if I were in the area, why not?|
|Meal for two||Rs 100!|
|Serves alcohol||Are you kidding me?|
|Credit cards||Again, joking or serious?|
- The closest metro station is Chandni Chowk. This is important since you’d be mad to take a car/cab in that mess.
- The walk from Chandni Chowk metro station to Paranthe Wali Gali is confusing and not for the faint hearted/ people with personal space issues
- Do drop in at the shop selling fresh jalebis on Chandni Chowk at the entrance to Dariba Kalan on the left.
- Speaking of Dariba Kalan, where else do you buy silver in Delhi?
- Keep some tissue paper handy- you’ll need it- I promise