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New Delhi - Eating

Mughlai, Chinese, Continental or food from the South… they're all available right here in Delhi. Recent years have witnessed a marked proliferation of eating places in New Delhi, along with bold introductions of different kinds of menus to cater to the sensitive palates and esthetic sensibilities of a progressively demanding public. Whatever one feels like having, the choices are wide. Mughlai, Chinese, Continental, food from the Northwest Frontier, South Indian food, delicacies from the coastal states of India, a variety of salads, fast-food creations, piping hot Punjabi makki ki rotis (flat bread prepared from corn) and sarson ka saag (prepared from fresh, green mustard leaves), bar-be-cued sizzlers, Turkish delights, the unusual flavors of cuisine perfected in beautiful Kashmir, Tibetan food, dishes from Japan-one just has to name it and it shall served, for, in matters of taste, Delhi offers the same, virtually unlimited choice as did Aladdin's lamp.

Between them, the deluxe and five-star hotels, exclusive and popular restaurants scattered all over Delhi, and the busy dhabas (the humble Indian forerunners of modern restaurants) provide fare that would tempt the most fastidious of Nawabs (noblemen) or gourmets living in times when the culinary arts had reached a peak and feasts had become a measure of class, style and social status.

With rare exceptions, almost all of Delhi's top-bracket hotels offer specialized kinds of cuisine through a clutch of restaurants designed to stimulate even the most developed of taste buds.

Both the Defence Colony and Greater Kailash I markets of New Selhi are happy eating grounds. Connaught Place in the center of Delhi has long been home to a kaleidoscopic variety of restaurants and cafes.

Reaching out to the large section of people who prefer their food spicy, steaming hot, prepared from fresh ingredients instead of those from the cold storage, is a class of hotels which falls in between the restaurants mentioned above and wayside dhabas in terms of décor and prices. The taste and quality of their food rivals the best anywhere in Delhi.

In the shoppers' paradise of Karol Bagh are located some of the oldest dhaba style hotels in Delhi. Somehow, the good, wholesome food they offer and the earthy, matter-of-fact surroundings touch a deep chord inside one and awaken soft feelings of nostalgia for another time, another place. Lately, in keeping with public tastes, the emphasis has been on being different, on combining cuisine with innovative surroundings. On the side of the flyover at Moolchand, outside the New and Old Delhi Railway Stations, and at Kashmere Gate (where Tibetan thupa cho-cho and momo can also be tried), dhabas have mushroomed up offering a limited menu of items that can be rated as better than average. But these dhabas, though original, true and authentic, are not the place for those who are squeamish about surroundings.

The well-known, not-too-well-known and little-known eating-places of Delhi are so many in numbers that it becomes almost impossible to mention them. And while the recognized Meccas of cuisine bask in the knowledge that the tastes, the flavors, the aromas, the often sumptuous presentations, the colors, the total atmosphere that they have been able to conjure up or create have passed the test of the food conscious, others wait in the wings for days that will be filled by glowing people, golden dishes, irresistible flavors and aromas…