Exploring the street food capital of India
With similar inclination and passion for street food is Anubhav Sapra, the brainchild of Delhi Food Walks (DFW). In conversation with Metrolife, he tells about how Delhi Food Walks took its birth and his own love for Delhi and its street food.
“I started Delhi Food Walks in December 2010. At that time, the group was named Street Food of Delhi where I used to explore the best places to eat street food in Delhi. I was also working full time in a non-profit sector for homeless children. So in the meantime, I was running a blog where I used to write about what to eat and where to eat in different localities of old Delhi. Dishes like Multani handa ki moth kachori and geele kulche grabbed a lot of attention on my Facebook page, where I posted about them. Eventually, people asked me to have walks around such street food because something like geele kulche was never heard of,” says Sapra.
The first food walk gathered around 30 people, all of whom got to know about it through Facebook.
About conducting the food walk, he explains, “Everybody used to gather around a particular spot and pool in an equal amount of money. This money was then spent collectively on the food that we tasted and explored.”
Five years down the line, Delhi Food Walks is now a known group where a minimum of five people join Sapra on his daily food walks, to explore into the whereabouts of the city and its street food. From Chandni Chowk to Fatehpuri, from Chawri Bazaar Metro station to Jama Masjid, he curated many food walks, in and around Old Delhi and other parts of the city.
Thereafter, with the thought of extending his walks to all kind of food found in Delhi, he renamed his group as Delhi Food Walks and was also joined by a number of expats living in Delhi.
“For these corporate, expats and tourists, I started a separate set of walks which were customised according to their own choices. So whoever wants to join a food walk, they can book it amongst the 20 food walks that I have listed on the DFW website.”
Thus, with the aim to celebrate all the festivals and occasions through food, Sapra has single-handedly tried to bring people together from all parts of the country through his food walks.
But what made Sapra quit his job and get into the food walks business?“Honestly, I never thought that the DFW will become a full time thing for me. I used to be a big foodie and exploring new places used to be a passion for me. I have no professional background with food and all I loved was to eat the local food of any place. So I just normally began to pursue my passion by speaking with local rickshaw pullers and auto drivers who would tell me about what food is most popular in their area,” he says.
About his love for street food, Sapra adds, “Street food defines the food culture of a place. Why Afghani food is famous in South Delhi’s Amar Colony and Lajpat Nagar, or Amritsari Kulchas are famous in West Delhi, is because the street food vendors know what local residents of that place like and what their taste is. In fact, instead of being called the food capital, Delhi should be called the street food capital of India.”
He now looks forward to expanding his food walks in other cities as well. He also
entered the food festival market where he will be seen during the upcoming 10 Heads Festival.
“During this festival, we have conceptualised ‘Foodistan’, where we are creating a zone called ‘Hidden gems of Delhi’. We have invited authentic vendors of different localities who will come together to promote the charm and love for traditional food.”