Monday, April 19, 2010

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

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City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

The sweet game.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

If you want to taste summer-time Delhi, grab a kulfi, the Indian-style ice cream that comes in flavours like pista, rose, cardamom and saffron. Unfortunately, eclipsed by brightly lit ice cream trolleys, kulfi-wallas have become rare, and the ones with something called game-carts still rarer.

Gone are the days when children would run at the first sound of the kulfi walla’s ghanti (bell) to wake up mothers from their afternoon siestas and pester for a rupee. So don’t let the opportunity go if you see a kulfi cart fitted with a desi-style roulette wheel. Drop a coin in the spinning wheel to win as many kulfis as the number on which it comes to rest. If it is the pinball game instead, pray the kancha (small glass ball) lands into the highest value square. So if it's number five, you'll get five kulfis.

One hot summer afternoon, The Delhi Walla discovered such a game-cart in a Bulbuli Khana bylane in Old Delhi. The neighbourhood’s children had surrounded Mr Sumit's cart to play pinball. They were hitting the kancha by pulling a spring attached to a wooden block. The kancha would shoot up, strike the boundary wall and roll down into an array of pins where it might fall into one of the spaces marked with numbers.

Amidst much shoving, I too gave a coin and waited. My kancha reached close to a square that was numbered four but then it refused to move. The kind Mr Sumit discreetly pushed it inside and produced four kulfis from his wooden ice-box. The winning trophies, dipped in milk, were cool, creamy, and sugary. I felt like a champ.

Three times delight

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

Who will play?

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

What's your lucky number?

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

Taking out the trophy

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

All eyes on the kulfi

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

My smile is sweeter

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

And for the sister?

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

Mr Sumit, the kulfi walla

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

And one for you

City Food – Number Walli Kulfi, Old Delhi

3 comments:

Sumanta Roy said...

Kulfiwalas are such a rarity in Delhi in this summer. Where are they? There's one in my easy neighborhood in Amar colony who comes and sells kulfis in a big pulling cart with his entourage known as "uncleji kulfiwala". His cart is pretty visible as it actually makes a huge crowd infront of Cafe-Coffee-day. Those colorful faluda topped with Rose Syrup is just yumm. But nothing compares to "Matka kufi" from Chandni Chowk. I dont know the location exactly in chandni chowk. They supply to big hotels and restarants and spread sweet-delhi everywhere. Upon requesting a waitor at "Safdurjung flying club", he replied "No No we dont make these kulfis here Sir. They especially come from Channi chok. These Matka Kulfis are bhery famous Sir. Do you want one more?".
I sheepishly replied "Indeed.. I want one more. Thank you"

DoctorGenius said...

I am in Full Agreement
Tho i dont Very Much like Kulfis, i cant resist one At The Moment after readin this wonderful write up:)
Nvr knew about such carts with Kulfi-Fortune-Games..Sound Really Interesting:)

@Sumanta Roy.. I believe wat you re referring to is the Kure Mal ki Kulfi at Sitaram Bazar in Chandni Chowk

Vishal said...

Oh man! oh man! .............. yummy and slurpeeee............

Damn you MAS, kayoun tersa rahe ho bhai ............. where I am, I cant get these and have this urge to have one Kulfi now :)

Well done! mast hai :)