‘Woo.. plastic spoon nahi chahiyae’ said an elegant voice, as the waiter bhaiya stood perplexed. We return back after a quick visit to the kitchen, our first stop on the Ramdan Food walk 2017 ,choking through the narrow gully into the Nayaab hotel. The waiters dance along in the narrow passage way with unspilt aromatic Irani chais. We dance along to occupy tables and get introduced to each other, as we sip glass of cold water eagerly waiting for our first feast. To our surprise, Vegetable Briyani dressed with cashews , bread chums get served on areca leaf plates. And so was the Paya Masala for hardcore non-vegetarians who have made ample space in their tummies from dawn.
‘Oh! I might be full with this Briyani only ‘ said one of the foodies, who had joined us for the walk from Chennai. Never before did he knew his appetite, as we kept tummy hopping. ‘Into the hole in the wall’ exclaimed our host for the walk. We wonder how she spots such places, which offer an holistic experience beyond just food. We try organizing ourselves within the well preserved elements of Rajasthani Darwaza. Some faces did shrink, hearing ‘Dhas Dahi vada Bhaiyaa’, but little did we know we were tasting one of the scrumptious dahi vadas saved especially for us. Shami Paratha was no less a competent. We all bow down with respect, as we exit through the not so tall gateway.
As our heads get rolling high on food, we got dizzier with riddles on the Old City. Some ironical food for thought. ‘Side pe jao, Sow ka chaar’ blares a speaker from a roadside vendor as we try to ignore and make ourself some place near Charminar. More than ten people standing in a circle, and yes, we had curious onlookers who had their own fantastic narrations about who we were. ‘Pineapple’ – No, it was off season but was the answer to the riddle of prominently repeated motif across most buildings. We all hooted as if a Sherlock Homes, only to be shut with the next riddle. As we walk around Charminar and try duck walking across the road, to one of the competitors of ‘Brightest Sign Boards’ – Nimrah. We quickly find a circular table and stand haphazardly, as we hear the travelogue of ‘Irani Chai’ accompanied by ‘Osmania Biscuit’, which vanished in split seconds as served.
Another two more chairs along the row, we would have been the centre of attraction on the road, literally. We yap about how full all of us are and patiently wait for the next taste bud enhancer at Milan juice shop – the avocado juice, topped with honey and dry fruits, lined a layer of cream. Yes! It s more yum than it sounds. After feeding the shutter bugs, with the must have Charminar as the backdrop we crawled to our next stop. Mughal bakery for a cookie treat of coconut, fruit and kaju, wondering how much more space we should make within. As we walk further down, we enter into an energized crowd selling sweets and deserts from temporary shops in front of Pista house.
We squeeze through the crowd to the first floor and settle down for an eye opener on dry apricots, the only non-vegetarian dish holding the GI status and the surprise book marks as a ‘Token of Happiness’. We relaxed our feet as the qubani ka meetha and haleem melted us. Just when we thought, we can give our chewing jaws some rest after continuous exercise for two and half hours, we were surprised by our final stop – Matwale doodh ghar. If Lassi from Wooden churner topped with malai was not a good finisher, ice cream with malai was. We passed around the recorder and sipped from our dessert as we exchanged constructive feedback about the walk, doubts of whether someone turned the stop button on during passing the parcel, soon broke into a laughter.
We exchanged bye-bye’s and hugs as we dispersed into the Ramadan special night bazars. With ever full tummies which always could make more space, we walked back smiling with memories.