As Sameer Mushtaq wanders the famous gullies of Old Delhi, he meets the dedicated vendors who serve up the area's legendary, crowd-pulling street snacks.
Atul, 24, sells kathi kebabs (skewer-roasted kebabs wrapped in parathas), a delicacy that originated in the streets of Kolkata. Atul has been perfecting his art for close to 10 years. "I have grown up with this business and learnt to make kathi kebabs from my father. I never went to school and started assisting him when I was 15."
Om Prakash runs Babu Ram Parathewala, and as the name suggests he specialises in piping hot parathas served with pickle (Rs 30 a pop). The 55-year-old resident of Kinari Bazaar, Old Delhi, has been in the business for four decades. "People from various parts of the city and from all across India visit me," he says proudly.
Aasha Khyshap, 55, is an aloo chat chef. She erects her makeshift tent when dawn breaks and keeps going until dusk. She fries the potatoes to perfection and adds spices and chutney to elevate the preparation. "I have been doing this for 15 years. I am the lone bread-earner for my family. I have two sons, the elder one is 10 and the younger one 7. My elder son helps me on weekends because that is when the most people come to eat in Old Delhi."
Sanjay Sharma, 45, lives in Dariba village and is known for his delicious aloo kachoris, a chaat speciality that has its origins in the cuisines of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. He has been running his stall for 17 years. "My ancestors were associated with this business and I learnt to make aloo kachoris from my father who runs a stall in South Delhi now."
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Kailash Chand Jain, 50, is a famous Jalebiwala in old Delhi. He took the reins of the 130-year-old establishment from his father and has carried on the tradition of deep-frying wheat flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup. "We witness a huge rush on festivals like Eid and Diwali. I learnt this profession from my forefathers. My jalebi is famous in all of Delhi"
Nand Kishore; 48, has been working in this Chandni Chowk dhaba for the last two years. He lives in Pahadgunj in Delhi 6.
Navshad Ahmad, 33, sells biryani and tandoori chicken near Jama Masjid. His biryani is supposed to be one of the best in Old Delhi.
Khairul, 12, dishes out phirni for the sweet-toothed. His father has been running the shop for the past 32 years and the Standard IX student assists him on weekends.
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