Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day one.

First things first, here is a video tour of my flat, where I'm living with 12 other interns about my age. For 300 rupees ($60) a month, this place is better than anything I could have found on my own, and the convenience of having in-house wireless is definitely not something I'm taking for granted. There is no air conditioning, but the fans keep the place livable, and the jugs of filtered water are replaced on a daily basis. You'd be a madman to want anything but a cold shower here, and just as well, because that's all there is. The laundry is usually done by hand, and there's a cleaning lady who comes in and sweeps in the morning.

(Ah, blast! my video is failing to upload with this spotty internet. Will post soon.)

I woke up early this morning to the sounds of vendors yelling out their wares in the street below. I went out the door for a walk, and promptly learned rule number one: do not so much as step out the door on an empty stomach, without carrying money. Smells of sweet fried dough wafted out from every corner.

One of my roommates walked me to the Lajpat Nagar (the name of the district where I live) Central Market a little later, dropping me off at the main thoroughfare before heading to work. I had a list of specific supplies to buy, but quickly realized that I had no idea where to look, and ended up just wandering the strip with my hands in my pockets trying to act normal.

My stomach, running dangerously low, led the way. I wanted to find a sit-down place to have a solid meal, but when one didn't materialize, I turned to the street vendors. Common sense says that the more crowded the station, the better, but this also required that my freakishly Chinese self ask for food in front of a handful of staring locals. These particular vendors didn't speak English, and they kept glancing at me bemusedly while they made my chapati.

Oh, that chapati. Whole wheat dough, rolled flat, sprinkled with salt, slapped onto a preheated skillet, and slathered with ghee (clarified butter). Feeling too foolish to stand around eating it, I plopped down under a giant Nokia sign, and wolfed it down with a yellow lentil sauce for dipping. Quest for food not quite over, I made my way to the first fruit stand I found, and bought some ripe mangoes and kiwis for 140 rupees (< $3). A few hours later, under the suggestions of several others, I sought my first sit-down meal at a place called Tibetan Kitchen, about ten minutes walk from my flat. Sat down at one of the ten tables, and five minutes later, I got my steaming bowl of thukpa: noodles in a beef broth with scallions and sweet basil, with a few pickled peppers and chili paste for a personal touch.

Stay tuned for more culinary adventures.


justinnhli said...

Reading this post makes me hungry.

Stu said...

Same here. it sounds GREAT