Books

Language of the Streets of India

Written by Sheeba Manish

Anyone who is not willing to try street food in India, is missing an entire culture altogether. The food of the men and women on the streets and on the go is brought to life ever so delightfully in the vibrant Street Food of India by Sephi Bergerson.

Sephi’s love of Indian street food and the people that make it are captured so evocatively by his lens.The book finds it’s roots from an aborted photo article for Indian Food back in Tel Aviv. He continued to shoot nevertheless, capturing images from Varnasi, Kolkota, Delhi, Mumbai and Raipur. The result is a stunning book of images of all sorts of delectable street food. He writes with such an intimacy and fondness for his subject and shares the recipes as well.

Bread pakoda's with potato and paneer filling

Bread pakoda’s with potato and paneer filling

Changing seasons in India bring different dishes out on the stands. Jamoon in the summer, sweet potato in winter, gajar ka halwa on a cold night in Old Delhi and sweet lassi ona hot summer morning in Jaipur. And chai, of course…the chai everywhere. At four in the morning, waiting for the train, I had a small glass; in Kolkota in an earthern pot that was then smashed to the ground; and in Gujarat from a small plate. This is the blood that flows in the veins of the streets of India.

Sephi Bergerson, Street Food of India

Street Food of India captures for posterity the tradition of healthy, vegetable filled, spice infused delightful delicacies that can be found at every turn for just a few rupees. Street food too is undergoing change just as India herself is.

The author notes:

Street food, that symbol of wild, chaotic, urban India, is slowly being harnessed. In recent years, it has begun to come indoors, get sterilized, go upmarket.

What you can expect is to turn each page to see a gem of an image story in each. Here Gurmeet Singh pours out tea from a copper ‘patheela’ or utensil with a cutom handle in Amritsar. There a child looks with gratitude and expectation as she takes her golas from a vendor. Corn roasted over coals and jalebis in newspaper, colossal fried parathas are served with halwa – are all images captured masterfully by Bergerson.

Little girl waiting to have her gola or crushed ice flavoured sticks

Little girl waiting to have her gola or crushed ice flavoured sticks

He has traversed the streets at different times of the day and year to bring alive this book. The mouth waters when it sees tikkis or potato cutlet being fried in the night on a Delhi street. The oil bubbles, leaving the crust crispy and centre soft paving the way for a perfect tikki .

Sizzling tikkis!

Sizzling tikkis!

Images of busy markets, hoardings of film actors from Dilip Kumar to Aamir Khan hawking tea or biryani capture street life brilliantly.

Street Food of India is as much a travel book as it is about cuisine. It is a record of how many an Indian eats, the delights that can be conjured with few seasonal ingredients and the many, many people who make their living selling street food.

Street food vendor in Kolkota

Street food vendor in Kolkota

This book will have you craving for kulfis, jamuns, chowmein from a tempo, poori at the railway station and the gola in the pushcart. You have been warned!

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