Kulfis at Sitaram Bazaar

Shashank wasn’t impressed.

I was gushing on about Roshan di Kulfi of Karol Bagh, a place I’ve been visiting since I was that high, but it left Shashank cold. You see, Shashank runs a jewellery business of his own, with offices in both Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk, and his appetite only exceeds his turnover. To put it mildly, he knows a thing or two about good food in both places.

So when he told me about his preference for the kulfi at Sitaram Bazaar, my interest was piqued. And when I heard the establishment called itself Duli Chand Naresh Gupta, I knew I just had to try it out.

Why, you ask? Clearly this wasn’t a place which had wasted money on expensive brand managers, developing a catchy name that rolled off the tongue like, well, a good kulfi. And let’s face it, the last time the name Gupta carried a cachet was when the Puranas were actually very taaza. So if a place could acquire fame operating from a little lane in puraani dilli, and with a name like that to boot, it just had to be darn good.

This was much earlier in the summer, and by now visiting Duli Chand’s shop has become a bit of a ritual any time I’m in the area. Getting there is easy — just get off at the Chawri Bazaar metro station, and when you emerge to the surface in Hauz Qazi Chowk, head for the street which, when moving clockwise, comes right after the Chawri Bazaar road (i.e. the road which leads to the Jama Masjid). That’s called Sitaram Bazaar. About 80 yards into the Bazaar, turn into the first lane on your right, and keep walking till you spot the shop on your left, about 100m into the lane.

The shop is spartan to a fault. A large freezer full of kulfi stands on one side, with half a dozen plastic chairs strewn on the other. The back is occupied by stacks of kullarhs, terra cotta cups in which kulfi is traditionally frozen. The kulfi is also served in its simplest form, unaccompanied by any falooda (vermicelli) or syrup.

But there’s nothing spartan about the kulfi itself, which is as creamy as it gets. When the pretenders in wedding pandals want to make their kulfis soft, they use some sort of oil, which leaves an icky aftertaste in the mouth. No such thing with Duli Chand. His staple offering, the kesar-pista kulfi has a rich full-bodied texture, and a healthy quantity of both saffron and pistachio that leaves you feeling very sated indeed.

But that’s hardly the only variety on offer. Depending on the season, you can get mango kulfi (highly recommended: tastes almost like creamy frozen mango), frozen fruit cream, and if you’re discreet and say the magic words “ek number waali“, you’ll get a mild-looking green-tinged kulfi laced with — yes, cannabis. The only flavour which I haven’t taken to is anaar (pomegranate), which tasted sickly sweet, like an artificially flavoured candy.

I’ve become quite a fan of Duli Chand’s kulfi. But that is not to say that Roshan wouldn’t be able to hold his own against him. Roshan’s kesar pista kulfi, served with falooda that somehow manages to complement both its taste and texture so nicely, is a contrast to Dhuli Chand’s unadorned version. I’ll just be happy knowing that I now have two favorites I can rely upon in two different parts of town!

Price: Varies depending on the flavour. Kesar Pista goes for about Rs. 20. Mango is twice as much.

Location: as described above. Also approximately marked on our Google map.

Timings: closes by about 9 o’clock at night.

20 thoughts on “Kulfis at Sitaram Bazaar”

  1. beautiful write up……….from the time i have discovered this shop (3 yrs or back) i have been frequenting it…….and for me they the mango kulfi is the best kulfi in the town………..its just awesome…………..

    as always hemanshu……..very well written :)

  2. i was there today again, mango kulfi followed by fruit cream one…………..that was after a plate of kachori chaat at ashok and before two plates at bade miyan and half kg for home :)

  3. @hemanshu
    cant resist the temptation of being in CP and not going to chawri bazar station for all these lip smacking stuff :)
    me and my fiancee are avid lovers of good food and history of that place :)

    if you are in to reading : just bought Twilight in Delhi by ahmad ali (book is mentioned in City of Djinns, author is the guy whom william dalryample meets in karachi)
    really a good perspective of the area arnd 40’s

  4. really enjoyed reading the piece…was transported to delhi again….i am from delhi but presently working in kolkata..the metro has brought the gastronomic delights of delhi so much closer to the ppl…next time i am there i shall surely go there…

  5. I have fond memories of Roshan Ki Kulfi in Karol Bagh. It used to be awesome! But then it became too “clean” or something.

    I don’t mean hygienically clean (lets not go there), I mean, they changed the recipe a bit – the kulfi wasn’t as messy and gooey.

    There used be a little shop on the side that used to sell ‘khatta aam pappad’ and I really miss that.

  6. Extremely well written!! You have a very involving style and what struck me best was the fun you had in finding the shop and then writing about it. Am so impressed that would be there…..my doctor should look away :-)

  7. Have you tried the bedmi-sabzi in Sitaram Bazaar? So incredible – and miles ahead of any puri-sabzi.

    Oh, and help me out here – isn’t it Bazaar Sitaram rather than the other way around?

  8. Ever tried Kuremal’s kulfi at Sitaram Bazaar? They do a lot of flavours too…I loved the fruit cream kulfi at kuremal’s BEST!
    Also, I must visit Duli Chand on my next visit to Old Delhi which happens oh soooo soooon!!!

  9. Hemanshu:
    You are absolutely a better writer than a talker. I saw you on the travel channel a few days ago and decided to check out your blog and am I blown away!

    I am going to be in Delhi next week and would sure to check out this place.

    Keep up the good work. I will be sure to spread your blog address to buddies in SFO area.

    Thanks

  10. My in-laws used to live in Bazar Sitaram, (so did Pt. Nehru’s) right in front of Churiwalan. The house has since been sold. I am now in USA for last 30 years. I was in Hauz Kazi couple of years ago, and almost fell from the sky. There is Metro station at Hauz Kazi ! I always think of painting in oil on canvas, the section Churiwalan corner and Bulbulikhana. May be some day…!!

  11. I grew up with both Kulfis, Duli Chand in Sitaram and Roshan, since I lived in Pusa Road, the later was easier access, it was never great but Roshan was better fare than others in that vicinity and beyond. I visited Delhi after six years and find that Roshan has gone to the dung heap, its watery and fake,Duli Chand didn’t disappoint, it was creamy and pure as ever, its No.1 was the best, Cannabis does nothing for a jaded NYorker like me. Also Chaina Ram and Ghantewala have retained their quality so there is still hope for humanity.

  12. Oh how I love this kulfi from sitaram bazaar. Probably the best one around the town. And yeah, my favorite is the mango kulfi from his offerings. :D

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