Hungry? Check out Old Delhi’s paratha heaven

Paratha station

Welcome to Old Delhi’s Paranthewale Gully or, translated, the back alley of parathas.

Here two restaurants sit side by side serving up oil-fried parathas (also parantha, parotta and sundry other variants). Both claim to have been going at this trade since the late 1800s. Both also violate all manner of health codes, if they even exist.

And both are incredibly popular. I’ve eaten my share at both. Though I wouldn’t take Delhi tyros there, I have yet to die.

A paratha is stuffed bread that can be grilled, baked or, in this case, fried. It makes for unhealthy goodness and is a go-to Indian food served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between.

See below for a look at one of the paratha joints in all its glory.

Fried gold

Basically, when you place your order, somebody shouts it a guy who rolls it out an tosses in a khadai (wok) with hot oil.

Stuffing

Parathe (plural of paratha) come in all varieties, though the most traditional is arguably the masala potato stuffed genre. I’m a fan of the green chili (mirchi) paratha. One of the parathe cooks here said, “You can stuff a paratha with anything except a human.”

Kings of parathe

This is really a typical North Indian style paratha. There are parathe from other parts of India that are not stuffed and seem to be completely different bread. They, too, are glorious.

Crowded

The gully is always crowded lunch until well after dinner. This was taken at about 4 p.m.

Greasy wall menu

Plates of love, in food form

Here, parathe comes served with a bit of vegetable and pickle of questionable hygiene. The washing of plates is also suspect. But this is so popular in Delhi that it’s spawned, now, a number of designer, upscale paratha restaurants.

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