Growing up at a distance drivable to the himalayas always called for a trip in the summers. While mangoes and Lychees were being dug in, trips were being planned to hole out of the heat in Delhi. An enroute-break at a random dhaba was always non-negotiable.
I have always particularly loved the smell of this place. The smell of water being sprinkled on warm mud has an uncanny resemblance to my love for the petrichor-ic essence. Of Course that is not the only aroma playing up though. It’s ultimately the smell of the food that dominates, thanks to the ever burning tandoor that rests in the kitchen.
Tandoor is the distinction between the indian household kitchens and these dhabas. Dhaba’s promise of homelike food, is always fulfilled (except maybe the gallops of butter). But this tandoor, gets the best roast to the tandoori marinate whether on the non vegetarian chicken or the vegetarian’s (only) delight: the paneer. Not only does the tandoor feed off on the tikka-happiness but also gets out roti’s best and most good looking brother, the naan. Naan might be more fattening but hey! it’s the best the world of flatbreads can come up with. Pair it with Dal Makhni or Butter Chicken and viola, you have the best north indian food in front of you!
There is always literature on how in India, there is some serious lack of income equality but whether you’re a two wheeler dreaming for a four wheeler or a four wheeler dreaming for a Beamer, the dhaba walla on the highway is always a muse.
Dhabas are roadside mud structured restaurants. They are generally found on the highways where they serve 24 hours a day.
Photo Credits: Notacurry.com