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FOOD AND FUN A peek at the food and stalls at this year's North East festival in New Delhi

FOOD AND FUN A peek at the food and stalls at this year's North East festival in New Delhi   | Photo Credit: 15dmcrahul

I have been feeling a little sorry for pigs. I have an Ogden Nash fan at home who often recites a little poem that he wrote about pigs. It goes like this: “The pig, if I am not mistaken/ Supplies us with sausage, ham and bacon/Let others say his heart is big/I call it stupid of the pig.”

To be fair, I don’t think poor pigs have much of a say in this. I felt this particularly at a northeast festival that I went to earlier this week. This was at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on New Delhi’s Janpath. A festival of all that is north-eastern of course means a celebration of the food of the region. And since pork figures prominently in the regional cuisine, I had a real pork fest.

I went there on the last day of the festival so quite a few of the shops were shut. I was told that many of Delhi’s north-eastern restaurants had opened their stalls there. I went to three such stalls and picked up various kinds of pork dishes. From the Sikkimese Diyaksh Kitchen, I bought a plate of pork curry with rai leaves (the shop is in Munirka; phone no: 84477198). From a Manipuri stall (no name yet, but they say they’ll soon open a restaurant in Delhi), I picked up some fried pork. From Tribal Taste (the eatery is in Dilli Haat – phone no. 9643668010), I bought pork cooked with local green leaves.

I went to a few other stalls, too, including Gharua Exaj — which didn’t have anything to offer then, but whose menu card lists some excellent Assamese dishes. This is in Lajpat Nagar IV (near Sapna Cinema — phone no.: 41044299). The menu card lists everything from rahu tenga fish (Rs.240 for two pieces) and pork boiled with lai shak (Rs.220 for eight pieces) to pork curry with bamboo shoot and pork with sesame seeds (Rs.220-330).

Each of the three pork dishes that I took home for dinner was different from the other. The Sikkimese pork was in a rich red gravy, with the leaves blended well into the sauce. The pieces were large and soft, and the thick and hot curry tasted especially good with rotis. The Manipuri pork was crispy fried, and delicious — crunchy from the outside and nicely tender inside. The Arunachal pork was excellent, too. The green leaves had been shredded and cooked with the spicy gravy, and the pork was more fatty than meaty. And since I love fatty pork, I enjoyed this thoroughly.

It makes me happy to know that Delhi has so many north-eastern restaurants. There was a time when few in the city would have known about the food from the seven sisters. But now you have eateries in various parts of the city — from the university area to Hauz Khas and from Lajpat Nagar to Sardar Patel Marg — where you get the most delicious north-eastern food.

And when there are such festivals in the heart of the city, you don’t have to go in search of the food of the region. The food comes to you instead.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:24:08 AM |

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