When we read about the devastation caused by floods in Kashmir, our hearts went out to those who had lost their lives and whose life has been badly affected. At the same time, it also brought back fond memories of interacting with these fine people known for their courtesy and hospitality.
It was a sunny day when we got down in Srinagar airport on our way to Ladakh last month. We were surprised and asked Mushtaq our driver why Srinagar was hot and humid? Mushtaq replied that rains were delayed in Kashmir this year which has had resulted in hot and sultry Srinagar.
As we left airport, we started talking about how the tourism season had been and other sundry subjects. Invariably the food was the next topic in our discussion. We spoke about our drinking of “Kashmiri chai” in Lal Chowk on a hartal day in August, last year. Dipping crispy “puffs” in “Kashmiri salt tea” and eating them was a delicious experience.
“So, you like Kashmir salt tea?” Asked Mushtaq.
“Ok, i will take you to a good place where you can savour the chai.”
He turned the car towards tourism reception centre. In front of that is the taxi stand. Inside the taxi stand, Mushtaq led us to the “Chai shop”. It looked like a popular place for everyone who wished to savour tea and exchange words. Few men were sitting on the bench talking in Kashmiri and sipping the chai.
Courtesies exchanged, the chaiwallah asked whether we want normal chai or Kashmiri chai. Kashmiri we replied. He prepared three cups of tea. Pink in colour and salty in taste. As we took the glass of tea, we saw him giving out Kashmir bun smeared with butter.
|Ready to sip!
|Preparing buttered bun
We also ordered three buns with butter. Dipping that in the chai and eating was just what was ordered for a hungry stomach which was starving since morning.
If you go to Srinagar, one of the “must experience” is to sip the “Kashmiri Chai” along with butter smeared buns.
We have not been able to speak to Mushtaq ever since the floods affected the city of Srinagar. We are sure that the “Chai shop” would have flooded too. We hope and pray Mushtaq and the “Chaiwallah” are safe and once the things settle down, chaiwallah will start his shop once again.
Till then, the taste of Kashmiri Chai will linger on.
For other Gourmet experiences on our travel, please check this link in this blog
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