Not quite a busman's holiday #SisterSplurge
I needed a break and my cousin, Bikramjit Ray, needed a bit of guidance - so I decided to take my break in Delhi. Its been a while since I visited my baby brother (he may be a first cousin, but all my first cousins are my baby brothers - yes Monojit even you). Anyhoo, I thought it would be work in part helping my cousin with setting up his food tour and his web site et al but it turns out that its as much a break for him as for me. He spoils me as much as he asks to be spoiled. I love spoiling my brothers. For that matter, I love spoiling the people I love. There is so much joy.
So day 1 was mostly in travel but we did spend a lot of time talking and catching up over a 10+ year old Aberlour on rocks. Followed by a quick chicken rezalla cooked by him and some home made parathas by his hired help - Chandu, an all round good guy, ready smile, helpful and a very hard worker.
The biggest palaver was trying to set up the SIM my cousin bought for me to use. You would think that a tech-savvy country like India wouldn't be quite so backward in telecoms. Oh my! Nowhere have I encountered so much red tape to get a SIM. Or maybe I'm just spoilt. In Kenya, my Airtel SIM was activated in 5 mins! Seriously India. Trust me if the bad guys want to get a SIM they will find ways around your rules and regulations. Twitter and personal messages to people Tanu knows helped sort this.
Yesterday was a leisurely Sunday for the most part and included lunch at Tanu's (that's what we in the family call Bikramjit) favourite Chinese restaurant, Royal China. With ordering left in his capable hands, we had a feast of steamed Pork Baos (buns), steamed duck dumplings, prawn dumplings in a very yummy sauce that I can't remember the name of (and neither can Tanu surprisingly), chicken gyoza. Though all of it was absolutely yummy, my stand-out starters have to be the pork baos - light, sticky, yummy, and the gyozas that had lotus roots, ginger and asparagus flavours dancing on the tongue. I could have eaten a few more of those quite happily except we had main course on the way.
Main course was Steamed Basa fish in flaming (not kidding) sauce served with egg fried rice and stir fried morning glory. The fish was delicious and melt in the mouth. After that mountain of food, we thought that dessert was not really needed but still ordered a mango pudding (tasted a bit plasticy), and caramel custard (not bad). What we hadn't accounted for was complimentary dessert of crisp fried noodles with sticky honey (very Moorish) accompanied by vanilla icecream.
After a meal like that, we both headed back to his place in NOIDA for an afternoon nap and a chilled out evening of more Aberlour watching an old Bengali Satyajit Ray classic from our childhood, Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne. A simple home-made dinner by Chandu was a perfect finish. There is something about masoor daal, a simple veggie dish, garam (hot off the tawa) rotis that just hits the right spot.
Thank you Tanu for the perfect start to my break. I need this.
For some of the photos from day 1 - go here. If you're following me on social media, you've probably seen the photos and updates already.