Travel black book: Great eats in New Delhi

Who: Yuan Oeij, 45, chairman of The Prive Group

Favourite destination: New Delhi, India

Why: The city is so colourful, vibrant and rich in history. The people there are warm and genuine, not just in the hotels and expensive places.

I also love Indian cuisine and was fascinated by what I saw there.

The sights and smells were intoxicating - except the traffic fumes, but no place is perfect.

I know I barely scratched the surface as it was only my first visit, but I had two days of packed activities. You can have a luxurious experience there and totally enjoy it, or a very basic and local experience, which is even more special.

There are so many more places for me to visit and I also want to return to the places I went to the first time.

Simply put, you probably do not have enough time to do justice to what New Delhi has to offer.

Best place to stay

I really liked The Oberoi Hotel Gurgaon

(www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-gurgaon/index.aspx), a beautiful property with very comfortable rooms.

Most importantly, it has outstanding hospitality and, for that, I would stay at the hotel again when I return to New Delhi.

Best hole-in-the-wall diner

Anand Restaurant (15/96, Schindi House, Connaught Place) is a run down, almost roadside place that the locals in-the-know love.

They have excellent mutton and chicken briyani there.

I love the place for the very basic, almost unhygienic vibe that is so characteristic of many aspects of India, but no stomachaches here if you order the right things and are chaperoned by an enlightened local. It is a good spot for lunch and can get extremely busy.

Best area to walk around

The Hauz Khas Village, which is in south Dehli, is extremely colourful and steeped in immense history in a 13th-century setting.

It has a bit of everything that is interesting: narrow alleyways, restaurants and cafes, music and dance schools, eclectic shops, boutiques, handicraft vendors. This brings out the foodies, musicians, artists, designers and all sorts of creative people. There is much to walk around to see and discover.

Most interesting eat

Havemore Restaurant (Pandara Market, Pandara Road, tel: +011-2338-7070) is known for its Mughlai Food, or north Indian cuisine. It is one of those restaurants that have been around for ages - since 1959 - and has achieved institutional status.

The restaurant is untouched by time, no frills but comfortable, and loved by hard-core Mughlai food-lovers. I had quite a feast there with a few other diners.

I tried lamb's brain curry here. It was smooth and creamy, rich with Indian spices and very delicious.

I also had other dishes such as the Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani and Burrah Kebab, a lamb chop. This is a very popular place, so you should make reservations.

Best way to get around

Taxis are the best as they are very convenient and cheap and I would recommend using Uber and Meru taxis.

Tip for first-time travellers

Having a host to show you around is the best tip as you can truly discover the hidden gems. If that is not a luxury you have, choose the places to dine at carefully to minimise or avoid tummy upsets.

When in doubt, do not eat anything that is raw or uncooked. Just in case, take along some indigestion and diarrhoea medication. For the record, I spent four days in India and my digestive system was always in a comfortable state, other than being rather stuffed most of the time.

Best souvenir

Take home the flavours of India by buying something from The Indian National Army Market, which is also known as the INA Market.

The market, which is across the street from the open-air food plaza known as Dilli Haat, is closed on Mondays.

The INA Market is a wet market and gourmet market rolled into one, with fresh meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, spices, food stuff, processed food, wine, liquor and just about anything you can eat. It also stocks Asian and Western ingredients such as olive oil and soya sauce.

natashaz@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on November 9, 2014.
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