Saturday, October 04, 2008

Why do sweets taste better during festivals?

The festive season in most countries is Christmas or Easter; in some, it is Ramzan; in India, something is on all the year around. But for a Bengali, there is nothing to beat Durga Puja. And somehow, the same street food tastes so much better in these 4-5 days.
Id just got over, and the main days of the Durga Puja are just around the corner. It'll be interesting to see what Mumbai has to offer in terms of the festivities, the idols, the decorations, and most importantly, the food!

What I tried out recently is the Md.Ali Road area (Menara Masjid) during Ramzan - it was awesome! A colleague took me there on the first evening of Ramzan, and we had to go there again - and so we did on the last day (at least that's what we hoped at that point of time, but unfortunately, we landed up in office the next day).
It seemed a bit empty the first time we went there. There were very few food stalls and we actually had space to walk through the streets. We started with some excellent Phirni (both the plain and the Kesar) and some very fresh Kalakand, moved on to the non-veg and then finished the evening with the Phirni again. The best part of that evening for me was the Kalakand, freshly made and milky, just melting in the mouth!
The second time we went there, the place was definitely more crowded, but we loved it as there were more food stalls now and more options. Obviously we had to start with the Phirni again. Tasted some Kalakand, but because they were probably prepared much earlier and in more quantity, it just didn't taste the same. Tried some Tandoori Chicken which was good, but the Bhuna Gosht (we had that on the first evening too) was delicious! An interesting thing we tried and enjoyed was Halwa-Puri, but the Puris were made with Maida (refined white flour), and Bengalis don't really mind that!
What I didn't like - the standard sweets like Jalebis and Ras Malai. What I didn't try though I wanted to - Malpuas the size of 16" pizzas, and Chiku Phirni!
What I'd recommend - Go to the Menara Masjid area next year during Ramzan in the evening and try out the food (especially Phirni and Bhuna Gosht)!

While leaving, we passed the sweet shop and stopped for another round of Phirni, knowing that we would have to wait for next year for it to taste the same.