Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why Travel Tuesday: Best Mystery Meat in Delhi


(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features my first Anthony Bourdain moment on this trip: the Best Mystery Meat in Delhi.)

Karim's in Delhi, India

It was our first night in India and we were extremely hungry. We took the night bus to the Kuala Lumpur airport straight from Singapore. From there, we had to take a six-hour flight to Delhi. Upon arriving, we had to adjust our watches two and a half hours back as we changed time zones. By that time, I was really looking for something full and satisfying. Luckily for us, our Delhi host had something in store. He knew of a kabab place somewhere in the old city, Karim's. The problem was he did not know where it was exactly. It was through a small alley jutting out from one of the small streets, right by one of the main market roads at the Jama Masjid bazaar in Old Delhi.

And wouldn’t you know it! After only a few minutes of walking around that very busy, very dirty Indian market, we found the place. It was exactly where it was described: through an alley on a small street right by the main market road. It was only after we sat on one of the tables did I find out that a lot of famous chefs (Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsey) had already been here. And they loved the place! Having seen a lot of their shows, I can understand why. They tended to go for that really authentic experience. And you couldn’t get more authentic in that thousand-year old market in Old Delhi.

Our host ordered a bunch of stuff and when they got to our table, only the grilled chicken pieces appeared recognizable to me. There was this one dish, some dark meat hiding inside an oily, dark-brown gravy. I didn’t know what and I was afraid to know where it came from or how it was prepared. I mean, we were in a dark, dingy, dirty area of Old Delhi. But since I was extremely hungry, I dove right in. I channeled my inner Anthony Bourdain and just shut up and ate. I was rewarded with the richest, tastiest piece of meat I ever had. The gravy was extremely good as well. Our Delhi host told us that when you are served with dish that has that dark-brown, orange-y color, it’s probably very very good because they used the right spices and the right amount of spices to get that color. That rule of thumb never failed us since.


Have you had an Anthony Bourdain moment in your travels? When and where was it? What was the food like?


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