Last year, we launched our Home Cooked Program, in which travellers can meet with a local family in their home and enjoy a meal with them. We started with Delhi and Istanbul, and grew into other cities around the globe: Bucharest, Merida, Krakow, San Jose, Lima, Cairo, and more! As a result, many a traveller has connected and broken bread with locals in these cities.
We’ve had a chat with our Home Cooked Delhi host, Rakesh, to see what it’s like to welcome travellers into your home for a meal, and to chat about the mouth-watering cuisine of his native land, India.
How did you become a home cooked host with Urban Adventures?
Who taught you how to cook?
I actually took a graduate degree in Home Sciences, so I was taught to cook as part of my degree.
What dishes do you usually make for guests on the tour?
We mainly make North Indian, vegetarian cuisine, which can be cooked very easily for a number of people. As it can be cooked easily, it is also possible for the travellers to pick up a few cooking tips from their hosts, the perfect souvenir to take home!
What is a typical family meal like at your house?
Our typical plate will be made up of one pulse, one green veggie dish, rice, and a chapatti. This provides us with the exact amount of nutrition we need, and it’s tasty, too!
What are the three most common ingredients in Delhi’s food?
Garam masala, which is a blend of spices very commonly used in North India, coriander powder, and cumin seeds, which are otherwise known as jeera.
Where do you usually shop for your food?
Mostly at the local food bazaar, where you find some of the freshest produce, but if we need something specific we’ll go to a local convenience store.
What would people be surprised to know about Delhi’s cuisine?
Food from Delhi is actually very easy to cook, it’s healthy, and tastes amazing (although that last one probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise!). Many people think that you have to be an expert to cook this kind of food, but it is easy for anyone to make – especially when you have a local to give you a few tips.
What is the most important thing for travellers to remember when eating in Delhi?
Make sure you eat the healthy food on offer, which has been cooked under hygienic conditions. It can be difficult to tell if you’re in a restaurant or a place where you cannot see the kitchen, which is why a home cooked meal is always the best.
When it comes to street food in Delhi, what are your tips for finding the best and cleanest spots to eat at?
The best, and safest, street food spots in Delhi are always the places where there are a lot of people waiting in line, and where you see lots of people eating already. It’s always a good sign if there are lots of locals queuing up at a particular stand – if the locals trust the food, you should too!
What is your favourite thing about being a home cooked host?
As well as teaching people about our own culture, I love to host people in my home because I connect with people from all over the world. We host travellers who are from so many different countries, and I learn a lot about their own culture as we share a meal together.