a cup of tea
A cup of tea. Hot, sweet and satisfying.

The day before yesterday I went to Khanna Market (which is not very far from Khan Market that, unlike Khanna, targets rich customers) to eat at a south Indian restaurant. I had been hearing about this restaurant for long. Several people had sworn that the eatery serves excellent south Indian food at reasonable prices. (“AC and cheap menu.”) It took Satish and me no time to find Chidambaram’s New Madras restaurant.

We went upstairs- in a windowless hall with plain and clean tables. There were four tables on one side, two on the other (our side). Three of those four tables were occupied by three couples. Three men- perhaps in their mid-40s- were furiously eating on the fourth. There was another couple just behind me. Initially I felt little bit odd as I was with a man. That oddness disappeared as we ordered food. I decided to eat Masala Dosa while Satish wanted to taste Onion Idly. Food was not the only reason for me to visit there. I wanted to see the restaurant and the market- Khanna Market. You don’t get out of a restaurant without eating something unless you are deeply dissatisfied with the menu, no? Moreover, I was hungry.

Not that I am a big fan of south Indian food. Which doesn’t mean I dislike south Indian food either. Just that when it comes to food, generally speaking, I am not one of those who says lets try new things etc. I don’t complain much, I can adjust with the taste of the food unless its brinjal. If there is less salt, that’s ok. First of all, I may not notice that. Even if I do so, that’s OK too. Most probably I wouldn’t complain just to make the point that only I have a great taste or something. Some people can talk for hours, write tens of thousands of words (columns and books) on food. I can’t talk like that about food (may be I do but can’t express). May be because I don’t have enough appetite for such varied tastes and even more varied guffs of about food.

But tea is different! I felt so very nice when, at the end, the waiter brought a cup of tea in a bowl. I used to drink a lot of tea in a day when I was in Kathmandu. I don’t drink much tea these days because there’s no teashop around my apartment here. I am too lazy to make a cuppa for myself. But I think its more fun to have tea at a tea stall, listening to conversations, than drink in solitary.

This is Gokul drinking tea at a tea stall in front of Jama Mosque, Old Delhi. (Click on the photos to go to their original posts.)

jama masjid delhi tea
Near Jama Masjid: Best street tea in Delhi, I say. Gokul, you agree, no? 🙂 But go there only in the evenings. During day time you will see the ugly atmosphere and dirty surrounding which will ruin the taste.

I wrote an article last year about (non) availability of tea in my Delhi neighborhood. A Cup of Tea and Nizamuddin

Dinesh Wagle sipping tea in this photo taken in April 2005 in the tea shop near Kantipur office in Tinkune, Kathmandu.
I am seen sipping tea in this photo taken in April 2005 in the tea shop near Kantipur office in Tinkune, Kathmandu.

That’s tea too, inside that mud cup. Circa 2004, Varanasi, India.

Varanasi Ghats Gallis and Ganges
I get the taste of tea in matka (mud-glass) that is also called kulhad. I was fascinated when I first drank tea in kulhad. This is eco-friendly and provides jobs to many Indians. The Indian Railways, one of the premier markets for tea/chai, rarely uses such cups these days. I saw many tea-shops in Varanasi this time too that sold tea in such cups.

Here are some more photos of Kulhad.

Somehow related (but tastes different)
1. A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee