I’ve been putting off posting about this recent Old Delhi find because the pictures I took are so terrible. Like this…
Then it occurred to me. The reason the pictures are so bad is that the food is just so good and the crowds so mental that it’s impossible to get a shot without being trampled in the crush. How could I not pass on such treasure?
The chaotic scene you see above is played out every evening on Chandni Chowk and if you didn’t know any better you’d think it was a high-stakes illegal poker game.
In fact it’s possibly Old Delhi’s most popular sweet shop.
Actually, it’s not even a proper shop, more of a nightly pop-up event in the doorway of what during the day is Bishamber Dass Prannath Jewellers.
Whatever you want to call it, Kishan Lal Halwai make some of the best sweets and samosas you are ever likely to taste. The proof: the trays of freshly made Sev ki Barfi, Karachi Halwa and samosas which are carried in at about 7pm are gone within an hour.
As you can see, above, people are literally throwing money at the poor guy whose job it is to weigh the sweets out.
Despite its seeming impermanence, this is no fly by night operation. The family have been in business for over 50 years; the founder, Kishan Lal, used to sit outside the Mercantile building on Chandni Chowk.
The business is now run by the founder’s son Narender who I imagine must feel like the rock god of halwai every night in life.
They also have a shop in Sitaram Bazaar which I later remembered visiting a couple of years ago during monsoon when they make stunning ghewar. I didn’t manage to get any good shots then either…
The sweets I sampled, Sev ki Barfi and Karachi Halwa, are some of the best, and certainly the freshest, I’ve ever eaten. Sorry there are no drool-inducing close-ups – you’ll just have to take my word for it.
A huge thanks to my high-energy companion for the day, Surekha Narain, for pointing out Kishan Lal’s spot in Chandni Chowk.
How to find Kishan Lal: The stall is at 1210 Chandni Chowk and is directly opposite landmark shop Chhabra 555 which is roughly halfway down Chandni Chowk on the Gurudwara side.
Arrive before 8, though!
To find their Sitaram Bazaar workshop: from Chawri Bazaar metro walk almost to the end of Sitaram Bazaar, then turn right into Gali Shankar. Ask for Kishan Lal Halwai