After the trip to Kerala, I did manage to have another trip that turned out to lead to good eats.
Edit: 2016-03-14 21:40
The friend nomenclature continues from the previous post.
During an earlier trip in 2015, to Mumbai, I met [Friend D] who is currently working in Bhutan. “Come visit,” he said.
Well, that is how [Friend E] and I ended up visiting Bhutan. Since [Friend E] only has time off in December, we decided that we needed to go to Bhutan during the Christmas-New Year break. And the limited option for flights between Delhi and Paro meant that we eventually settled for a short four day trip. Before the Delhi-Paro tickets were booked, I had already planned my flights from Bangalore to Delhi and back so that I had 10 days between them. So, I ended up with 3 days on either side of the Bhutan trip that I had to spend in or around Delhi. I had already planned to meet friends and cousins before going to Bhutan, but I had to decide what to do after returning from Bhutan.
Eventually, that decision didn’t take much thought. The friend from Kozikode, [Friend C] whom I had mentioned in the previous post and who had guided me towards Paragon, is married to a girl from Amritsar. One of my regrets in life is missing the chance to go to Amritsar for their
meal wedding. Moreover, Kulcha has been important for me. I thought I knew Kulcha. I thought I had eaten Kulcha. Turns out I knew nothing. Over the last couple of years, for the first time in my life, despite being in Bangalore, I have worked with people who are primarily from in and around Delhi. That has made me question what a Kulcha is.
There is the Amritsari Kulcha, which apparently, as served in the restaurants all over India, is entirely unlike anything anyone from Amritsar would ever put in their mouth. And at the other end, is the Kulcha that comes in packets from bakeries, and is more like a flat leaven bread than a cousin of roti or paratha. There was, I realized, a whole world of Kulcha that I needed to explore. I had to go to Amritsar.
The flight from Paro would deposit me at Delhi around noon. Then, through the rare instance of public infrastructure working in India, I would be magicked by the airport metro line to the New Delhi Railway station. Where, after a leisurely lunch, I could catch the evening Shatabdi to reach Amritsar around midnight. Eat the next day through, and take the morning Shatadbdi back the day after.
[This schedule was forced by the time my flight got back in Delhi, but I eventually realized that it was a bit of a tactical error. After comparing plans with a colleague who had visited Amritsar a few days before me, I have come to the conclusion that I should have taken the morning Shatabdi to Amritsar, and the evening one back the next day. More eating, less sleeping.]
Unlike the Kerala trip, I actually made a note of everything I ate during this Delhi-Bhutan-Amritsar trip. However, in the interest of not boring you, I’ll leave out most details.