The thought of India has always remained in the back of my mind for the last 22 years and I never seriously thought about it more than a few times. So what makes New Delhi a place with so many legends and you’ll turn to the story of a king who built a city at this location in 50 BC and named it after himself.
Unfortunately modern Delhi is the most polluted cities in the world and the air pollution is obvious with shadows of smog as the sun rises peeking through the haze. As a visitor and air pollution beginner, its intense and you need to shut off your mind and look beyond it. The beauty lies underneath the white sky as the sun shines from above the heavens. The pollution is one of those unfortunate factors that can be helped except when people are used to a way of life and aren’t prepared to compromise.
When the English, following upon the Portuguese, first landed in India for the purpose of commerce, they were almost overwhelmed by the wealth and magnificence. At the time their connection with this part of Asia began, India was a great and rich country whose trade had been sought after for centuries by the West.Indian economy was the second largest economy in the world until the British came and India did not grow for 90 years.
But the British taxed the locals and insisted on more strict controls over a large territory made up of poor agricultural based tribal people. I recall a story told to me by an Indian friend; he said when the British threatened my family with suffering but suffering under the British rule was a way of life for us, and we knew their threats were benign.
India suffered too many famines during British rule mostly attributable to mismanagement and today there is a dire need to control the severity of the pollution and sooner than later.
Delhi has the highest level of the airborne particulate matter, PM2.5 considered most harmful to health, with 153 micrograms. The dense smog in Delhi during winter season results in major air and rail traffic disruptions every year: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particulates
But as a newcomer I overlook the idea of 800 new cars being introduced to the city every day and forge ahead with visiting some of our close Indian friends for a few days. My first thoughts are what and where will we go for our first Indian food experience. The answer is Bukhara at the ITC Maurya hotel in central Delhi.
The restaurant is considered the pièce de résistance in classical Indian cuisine and if you aren’t used to Indian protocol don’t ask for a knife and fork. Of course we struggled to attach a bell pepper by hand into our mouths and after a while we realized the technique is rip and dip. I am not sure I can get used to using my hands but locals swear that food tastes better when using your hands.There is no doubt the raw onion mixed with some fresh coriander and mint makes the onion feel more tame but doesn’t tame your appetite.
The cuisine at Bukhara is yes touristic, but at the same time the quality is still high standard and you’ll find the service professional and warm as you would at L’amis Louis in Paris. I felt as if I was at Joe Stone crab in Miami with the Bukhara bib that’s tied around your neck and necessary by the way. As you hand-pick at your foods, the affair can get a little messy, and food debris and particles slip and slide away.
The cuisine is moderately spicy and the dishes kept traditional and I am told not much has changed in the last 35 years.
There is no doubt the naan is the center of attention and if you dare order the family sized naan you’ll roll out of the restaurant with a headache and stomach ache.
The romance of the rugged North West Frontier comes alive as the show goes on and if in Delhi it is worthy of a lunch or dinner. I suggest a lunch if you intend on sleeping.