With streetfood fast becoming posh nosh, fine dining restaurants are now serving roadside delicacies on perfectly laid-out tables. But what’s streetfood without a bit of the street in it?
It is, after all, the dust and the grime, along with the accompanying honking of horns, that lends streetfood its unique flavour - whether it is Mumbai's vada pav, Kolkata's puchkas or Noida’s bhatures.
Though largely missing from the list of streetfood favourites, Noida is now fast becoming popular as the streetfood hub of the NCR. And leading the popularity charge is the Brahmaputra market of Sector 29.
To go back to its origins, streetfood was born of the necessity to serve the multitudes of men living in urban centres. And Brahmaputra Market, in Sector 29, Noida, still lives up to its roots. Known as the “mini Chandni Chowk” in the neighbourhood, this is one market that is always bustling with activity.
Regulars swear by its range of streetfood offerings, but if you ask me, a must-try is the dahi waale gol gappe from Agra Chaat Bhandar. These crisp dahi puris have a scrumptious filling of potato and onion, mixed with fresh curd, tamarind and coriander chutney, topped with sev, spices and pomegranate seeds.
Another personal pick would be Lakshmi Coffee House. You have to do a bit of asking around for this, though. Tucked away in a corner of the market, this small 1980s’ restaurant has a loyal customer base. The taste, they say, has remained the same over the past 30 years. Definitely try their filter coffee and the fried idli, served only on Tuesdays. I recommend you reach on time, as it tends to get crowded at dinnertime.
If you are a vegetarian but love kebabs, try out the vegetarian kebab plate from the Lucknow Zaika Corner, at just Rs 50.
Now if all this spice leaves you reaching for the water jug, head straight to Baba Kulfi Bhandar or Bhola Juice Corner, which serves up a yummy khajoor, or date, shake.
Tea junkies, worry not. The quaint Teesta Tea Shop, tucked away behind the Army Public School, is everything you can wish for. With a basic set-up of benches and stools lined up outside, this is the perfect go-to for a tea break. Sip on hot tea and coffee, or bite into homemade chocolates. As a resident of sector 14A says, "This shop has become a legend. We almost always end up here in the evenings to meet friends, hang out and to generally have a good time."
So Noida foodies, what are you waiting for? The market beckons!
(Vaibhav Bhargava is the Executive Sous Chef of ITC Sheraton, New Delhi. He's a member of the Indian Culinary Forum and the World Association of Chefs Societies. Though his speciality is Oriental cuisine, he has a special place in his heart for streetfood.)