A Cheat Sheet To 11 Of Delhi University's Most Iconic Meals

Chole Bhature from Chache di Hatti
Chole Bhature from Chache di HattiWithfloats

It’s almost time again. Admission season in Delhi University will kick-off in June and aspiring fucchas will find themselves poring over cutoffs, choosing between college and course, waiting in line to secure a seat, and prepping for Fresher’s. Anti-Ragging posters will be plastered all over North Campus, only to be replaced by Student Election posters soon enough. A new crop of hopefuls will get off at Vishwavidyalaya station, ready for what will arguably be the best phase of their lives. Attendance woes, exam prep, college fests and a front-row seat to the thriving culture of Delhi University–I reckon it’ll be no time at all before they realise there’s no place like it. After three years at Miranda House college, smack bang in the middle of this massive University campus, I can tell you right before the craziness starts that, if you let it, DU will leave an indelible mark on your soul. And its food, on your tummy.

Every DU-ite has a couple of favourites and the ones I spoke to were kind enough to share theirs. In addition, you’ll find some tried-and-tested options here that have stood the test of time, as well as some hole-in-the-wall establishments for when you’re too hungry to wait. Whether you skipped breakfast to (barely) make it in time for your 8:40 lecture or have an hour to kill between classes,

I. Bhel Puri outside Patel Chest

Suniil Sethi or ‘Patel Chest Uncle’ as he is fondly known in DU circles has been setting up his stall everyday (almost without fail) since 1983. Famous for his spicy bhel puri and sev puri, lunchtime sees him serve hordes of hungry students with remarkable ease and time for banter. A word of caution, the spiciest variant is really hot and even if you think you can handle it, you probably can’t. I’d recommend sticking with ‘Medium’ and playing it safe, at least the first time.

Cost: Complete value-for-money at Rs. 50 for a plate

II. Tom Uncle’s Maggi

Brace yourselves, it will happen at least once. “Have you tried Tom Uncle’s Cheese Maggi, yet?” So, let this be your first stop–for a generation that thinks Maggi is the greatest thing since sliced bread, you won’t be disappointed. Lots of flavours (Cheese and Butter were my favourites), rarely ready in two minutes, and extremely pocket-friendly, this 35-year-old establishment really knows what the people want.

Cost: Starting at Rs. 40 for a steaming plate of Masala Maggi

III. Mutton Dosa and Masala Coke At DSchool

The Delhi School of Economics (or Dschool) canteen sees students from all over campus shuffle in during lunch hour for a taste of their famed Mutton Dosa. It’s quite spectacular and I hadn’t really tried anything like it before first year. It pairs well with a Masala Coke–regular Coke with a delicious spicy twist–-and conversation.

Cost: A meal at DSchool shouldn’t set you back by more than

IV. Chole Bhature at Chache Di Hatti

Fair warning, if you’re headed to Kamla Nagar’s most famous spot for Chole-Bhature, you’ll probably have to wait in queue for a plate. But the wait is completely worth it when you’re served. Large, fluffy aloo-stuffed bhaturas dipped in their chole-masala (they even sell the spice mix separately but it never tastes quite the same when you make it at home) make for a divine meal.

Cost: Rs. 55 for the aloo-vaaley bhature, Rs. 50 for saadey bhature

V. A cup of chai at Sudama’s

A day is never complete without a cup of tea, if it were in my power, Chai would be our national drink. Buzzing with people at all times, one only needs to follow the crowd to get to Sudama. Been in the business for more than thirty years now, Sudama’s solves every problem with its cup of adrak and elaichi tea. The ideal spot for every chai pe charcha Sudama’s is open until midnight because even they are well aware of the fact that the craving for tea cannot be bounded by time.

Price : (couldn’t find the exact price. One article said 10 Rs.)

VI. Meetha Paratha at The Gwyer Hall Canteen

This canteen is always buzzing with excited and enthusiastic people, to grab a quick bite or just too chatter around. While they satiate the hungry souls with an array of tasty and pocket-friendly snacks, their Parathas are to fight for. Serving varieties of this delicious north Indian staple, their meetha paratha and make this canteen unique. Although it may be unusual but their finger licking good meetha samosa will not leave you disappointed.

VII. Nimbu Paani and Samosa at St. Stephen’s Cafe

I’ve been inside St. Stephen’s college a handful of times, but my favourite visit was with my father. On a quiet afternoon, before term had started, we drove down to his alma mater and I got a lovely tour of the beautiful campus, founded in 1881. Our last stop was the cafe where my father ordered two samosas and glasses of nimbu pani, both delicious, and he told me about the three years he spent at Stephen’s.

Cost: I think we spent a total of Rs. 30 for two samosas and nimbu paanis, but that was five years ago.

VIII. Bread Pakora outside Kirori Mal College’s back gate

Amitabh Bachchan was a fan of the bread pakora outside his alma mater, and you will be too. Perfectly crispy, golden-friend on the outside with a flavourful chutney-aloo stuffing on the inside, this is the snack you crave when it’s raining outside but you can’t skip class. Quick, filling and cheap–track down the man who makes these and I guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot of him after.

Cost: Between Rs. 15-20

IX. Tandoori Momos at QDs

While momos are already quite a big deal in Delhi, the TandoKnown as the first restaurant to bring the tandoor twist to momo’s Qd’s desi variation of momos is too die for. While their Thupkas and soups too are a crowd pleaser. I suggest chowing down their plate of red-hot tandoori momos accompanied with mint chutney and mayo. Simply irresistible, Qd’s have opened many outlets across the city but nothing beats the charm of the original restaurant. Although slightly higher for a street eat, these momos are worth every penny.

Cost: Rs. 175 for a plate of smoky Tandoori Chicken Momos

X. Juicy Pork Gyozas at Shagun Restaurant

While their menu includes authentic Vietnamese, Burmese and Thai cuisine, this crowd favourite restaurant wins for its authentic momos, serving them since 2011. Witness to many college romances and heartbreaks, Shagun is popular for the jumbo platters, but I would always order the juicy pork momos with a glass of fruit beer for a once-in-a-while treat.

Cost: Rs. 130 for a plate of chicken or pork momos

XI. Banta outside Miranda House’s hostel gate

Banta is quite easily available across North Campus but, obviously, I have a fondness for the stall stationed outside MH’s hostel gate. Delhi’s quintessential summer drink that evokes nostalgia and childhood memories, it’s a refreshing spin on the classic nimbu paani and for Rs. 15 a pop, completely worth the money.

Cost: Rs. 15, but prices may vary now.

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