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Delhi’s extreme food challenges adding spice to gastronomy


Delhi: Food being a primal necessity for all living beings is something we cannot sustain without.

So if Man versus Food or Highway on My Plate happen to be your favourite TV shows and you prefer a conversation around serious appetite, then you are in for a treat. For you no longer need to go overseas to participate in some extreme food challenges. All you need to do is hop into the nearest cafe or restaurant.

The trend of having these food challenges has picked up of lately. Don’t be surprised, if your cigarette vendor tells you that he will give you free smokes if you can finish a pack in a day, for NCR alone has numerous eateries that offer such challenges. Be it finishing a burger that has 1.2 kgs of chicken in its patties or gulping down a cup of tea which has mounds of sugar. One has to name his or her sinful indulgence and surely, there do exists a challenge based around it somewhere.

If you happen to travel to Rohtak from Delhi or vice versa, you will come across a tiny dhaba on Rohtak road called Asli Paranthas that sells thirty different types of parathas. And for the food adventurers they have a small challenge of their own. “We have two sizes in parathas medium and full. Our full size paratha weighs a kilogram and is 22 inches, that is, it’s one foot and ten inches in diameter and can easily fill a family of four. But, if you really want a free life time supply of parathas, finish three of these in fifty minutes,” says Shambhu, a waiter who works at the dhaba. “Several people have attempted this but a few have actually managed to finish three kilogram’s of parathas in fifty minutes,” Shambhu further adds.

But if parathas is not something that goes well with your pallet, then how about a burger? Samay Saluja, who along with his wife started The Café Kangroos in Gurgaon (now Gurugram) decided to give a serious challenge to people who consider gluttony equal to a religion. The husband and wife duo came up with this challenge, which they call the ultimate burger challenge. “We decided to work with chicken as not everyone is a fan of red meat. So we made three patties of 150 grams of ground chicken and added another three of 250 grams to a burger along with three slices of cheese with a lot of mayo and bar-be-que sauce which we serve along with a bowl of fries,” says Samay.

If you think that’s not much, consider this, “Till date we have had seventeen people who attempted the ultimate burger challenge but no one as yet has man-aged to successfully man-aged to complete it. It’s not the quantity of food that makes it difficult but the fifteen minute time frame that increases the level of difficulty,” Samay adds.

Most the places that offer these challenges make you sign a document, in case you fall sick while going through with your quest. But not all challenges are about eating giant portions of food in a given time frame.

A few will give you an average portion of food that you need to finish in a given time frame. Like the fire wing challenge at Underdog’s sports bar. As the name suggests you need to finish twelve chicken wings in under eight minutes. Doesn’t sound like much of a challenge right? Think again. “The suicidal wings are made using Bhut Jolokia which happen to be a chilly that’s found in Assam and is said to be world’s spiciest chilly,” says Kumar Ashish, manager of the bar.

“The use of this chilly makes the wings so hot that even if the sauce touches your skin you will get a burning sensation,” Kumar added. “Several challengers fall sick due to the extreme toxic nature of these chilies. In fact even several hours after the wings have been ingested the burning sensation prevails and don’t get me started on the uneasiness it causes.”

If reading about these chilies has given you a burning sensation in your stomach how about something sweet. The next challenge is by the Soda Bottle Openerwala, a chain of Parsi restaurants that have a small challenge of their own. There is no time limit or a massive reward in case you complete the challenge and this is because the challenge is quite simple for all you need to do is finish a cup of tea. “The khade chammach ki chai challenge is pretty much simple, the participant needs to finish a cup of tea that is made by adding sugar to a cup of tea until a spoon can stand straight in the glass,” says Mohit Balachandran, Brand Head and Cuisine Director.

He further adds, “There have been many people who have attempted this challenge. Only eleven people across India have managed to complete this. Usually if the dare is not completed, the Chai is charged in the bill, else free. But if someone does complete it, we usually give a couple of desserts free on the table.” If you compare it to other challenges I know it sounds to be a lot easier but try it and you will come to know what happens when you have a cup full of diluted sugar. Don’t be surprised if you end up getting sweet sweats.

Source: Sunday Guardian

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