Old Delhi: Coolers on the move

Old Delhi: Coolers on the move
Photo Credit: Bhuvikaa Jain

Summer is a tough season, but if you really want to explore the streets of Old Delhi, there are plenty of lip-smacking coolers to beat the heat


May 10 , 2014
06 Min Read

Chuski -- and this ice cone is a three-in-one. And Raju Chuski has its own local fan base in Chandni Chowk.
Even if you can't see it, the woozy sound of curd churning into 'chaas' will lead you to this favoured summer drink.
Spring's over, but there's no dearth of colours here. The flavoured 'sharbat' - in khus, rose, mango, orange varieties at Sahu bhandar in Chandni Chowk are always welcoming.
You'd ideally want to stuff this inside your clothes, but that's not possible. So let them help you cool down via something to drink.
Few things can beat cucumber in summers, especially when even your favorite cuisine fails to raise an appetite in the heat of the day. And the best part - you get them everywhere on the road, freshly cut and served with chaat masala.
You might be wary of the water that's coming your way, but when thirst bites, all you can care for is a drink!
Its hot-and-spicier version may be a favourite during winters, but the 'pani puri' with tamarind water, light fillings and pudina (mint) chutney makes it one of the best summer snack. For a more up market variety, the Haldiram's in Chandni Chowk serves 'pani puri' with sprout salad, pudina and tamarind water.
It's Delhi, and you can be assured of some butter - even if not literally. Savour the 'malaidaar lassi' at one of the famous spots in Chandni Chowk.
Who says it only fits the buffet in restaurants. Kiwi chaats are as common in Hauz Khas during summers as are potatoes!
Peaches, watermelons, jack fruits, papayas, green melons - the list of easily available fruits to keep you cool on the streets are galore in summers. The fruitwalas source these exotic fruits from the wholesale 'mandi' in old Delhi, cut it fresh and serve.
They look like stored mortar shells, and these kulfi sticks actually work as one when the war's on with Delhi-summer.
Each lick works as cooling agents to our senses. No wonder the Kulfi has a fanbase that comprise of all age groups. At Rs 10, your pocket money is just enough for one.
The slithery and sweetened Gulaab falooda (rose vermicelli or rice noodles) with crushed ice and sharbat is another summer delicacy on the road.
For that much money, you can actually have a full fledged thaali for lunch. But trust this one glass of Rs 30-lassi to really fill you up for quite some time.
For old Delhi people, 'herbal drink' and 'organic cuisine' are words used by aliens. Mint has been providing relief to the mortals for ages and so a dash of it adds the perfect punch to the good ol' lemonade, making it a perfect thirst quencher.
Kulfi is dipped in caramelized milk before serving to enhance flavour and then stored chill to raise that heavenly taste.
Kulfi has ruled our hearts even before ice creams came into being. And these carts have also remained the same for ages. Rajendar Khullar has been making and selling Kulfi on the streets of Chandni Chowk for forty years now.
Shikanji or the water-lemonade is a saviour - anytime, anywhere.
That's the best part of being an Indian -- Kerala's coconut water is as much a local drink in Delhi as is Bihar's mangoes!
Keventers, also famous as the 'shake square' at Connaught Place is famous for its cold coffee and shakes - butterscotch, chocolate, kesar pista.
Delhi's answer to the Wall's and Baskin&Robbins -- Giani's serves their singature koolfi-falooda along with the ice creams. Their oldest branch is in Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk.
Crushing the ice isn't as cool an experience as having it. But then, how else would the thirsty mortals get the potions of life in this heat.
The ever favourite 'paan' or betel leaves with their naturally cooling ingredients like rose chutney, mint and 'kattha', can be a handy option after a meal. At Ram Lal's Paan Bhandar the 'kattha' and rose chutney are freshly prepared and rich in flavours.
At Rs 70 -- vis-a-vis the Rs 10 variety in old Delhi -- the Kulfiano serves its flavoured kulfis - kiwi, pomegranate, mango and kesar pista in Hauz Khas. It also has its outlets in Defence Colony and Siri Fort Road.
A green world is the only option for a better life. Until humans realise that, the 'khus sharbat' with crushed ice is a perfect drink to soothe the thirsty traveller's throat.
No matter how much the cola giants spend on attracting buyers, these 'desi' coolers still rule the roost at every nook and corner of Chandni Chowk. The Amritsari Lassiwala in Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk is famous for its mango and almond lassi.


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