Duck to Cover: Delhi’s Meatiest Neighborhood
If ever there was a time to make a pig of yourself with pork ribs, tis the season now indeed. And thankfully we know just the spot. Actually make that several spots, all in the same vicinity. The thing with pork ribs is that they are a serious undertaking, not for the light of stomach. Massive slabs of meat marbled with layered fat, each piece slathered in spices and more before being bunged into the oven, it’s a serious food feat, especially when you also want to try out the rest of the menu.
This is the regular state of affairs in the hamlet of Humayunpur, located in Delhi’s Safdarjung, come winter time. The colony, which is home to a significant portion of the Capital’s northeastern population, is also celebrated for its tiny eateries that dish out large servings of food from the seven sisters. Humayunpur, which was previously one of the city’s hidden gems, is coming more into focus now, but more as a microcosm of the life and styles of the northeastern region of the country. We prefer to stick to the meat of the matter; because there’s just so much meat.
Pork, fish, buff, even snails and exotic fungi swell the ranks of otherwise usual suspects like chicken and mutton. Boiled, broiled, stewed, and skewered, there’s sustenance of every sort.The area is a warren of meandering lanes, alleys, and cul-de-sacs, most paths leading to tottering residential buildings, dotted with tiny eateries. And what they lack in size, they make up for in variety.
The Categorical Eat Pham is a den of rare culinary treats, ranging from Fresh River Snail and Pork Curry to Stir-Fried Fish Gizzards. All manner of duck preparations also float through the menu of this decadent diner, which is a small glimpse into the cuisine(s) of the region.
Sticking more to the beaten path, and eschewing snails for Shapta (slivered, fried meat preparations), Thupka (soup) and Momos, are restaurants like Yo Tibet, Mizo Diner, and Hornbill. Encompassing food from Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim, Mizoram, and beyond, these eateries thrive on providing hot meals at tres cool prices. And to make up for a lack of liquor license, the fruit beer flows and froths freely.
Indeed, given the esoteric nature of many dishes, their prices only add to the appeal, which comes as little surprise given that the clientele comprises largely of university students, Capital carnivores, and working professionals from the Seven sisters, looking for a taste of home.