It should be the perfect setting: a sprawling amphitheatre, music and 20 food trucks, offering a variety of gourmet food. That’s what you can expect at Delhi’s first food truck festival this weekend.
Called Horn Ok Please, the festival is being organized by GoBuzzinga, a Delhi start-up that helps people discover Delhi, and So Delhi, a city guide for travellers and locals.
Over the past few years, Delhi has seen a spurt in food festivals, a trend made popular by the New Delhi Palate Fest, which first brought together pop-up stalls by leading restaurants in Nehru Park over three days in 2014. Its third edition, which ended on 12 February, was attended by over 150,000 people, a 30% increase from the previous year. Another popular event, The Grub Fest, saw over 70,000 visitors in its second edition (a 25% increase), from 18-20 October.
“Food festivals indeed have become a rage. We wanted to do something with food (‘because who doesn’t like food’), but something different. Hence, Horn Ok Please,” says So Delhi’s founder-chief executive officer (CEO) Digant Sharma.
“Gurgaon (Gurugram) already has a popular hub for food trucks in Sector 29, something which Delhi is yet to see. This festival will bring that experience to the Capital,” says GoBuzzinga’s CEO Shantanu Verma.
The food trucks, from different parts of the National Capital Region, will serve cuisines ranging from Chinese, Thai and Italian to Indian and street food. You can also enjoy a variety of waffles (think Banana Toffee) and hotdogs (do try the New Yorker) at Waffle Chowk and Doggy Style, respectively.
Isha Sarin will be coming with the Delhi-based Grubtrotters food truck, which she started with brother-duo Bharat and Akbar Asokan in December. “We will be serving bun sliders with eight kinds of fillings, including Korean pulled pork and mutton galouti,” says Sarin, who recommends their fried chicken filling with “super hot” ghost chilli sauce. In case you are in the mood for burgers, try Smita Pahwa’s Devilicious truck. The former Taj Mansingh chef recommends her twisted Lamb Burger. If you are a fan of Lebanese food, Gourmet Streat’s would be a good choice. “This is the first time we are coming to Delhi (from Gurugram). However, we have seen a lot of Delhi crowd come to Sector 29 to enjoy our food,” says Dixit Malhotra, who quit his family business after 15 years and started Gourmet Streat late last year because he wanted to cook “all the time”. His recommendations: Chermoula Paneer Pizza Pocket and Arabic Rice with Goulash.
“There’s no denying that food trucks have gained immense popularity over the years. The vibe, the jazzed-up look, the gourmet food, all add to the experience. They are a break from the ordinary,” says Verma.
Besides the opportunity to do food-truck hopping, the other exciting thing about the festival is its venue: Delhi’s first mall, Ansal Plaza. “There’s a lot of nostalgia attached to it, more so for south Delhiites. It has ample space for parking, and is easily accessible by Metro, bus and auto. This is our little effort to revive the mall,” says Sharma.
The festival will also have performances by bands and artistes like Chizai and Kamakshi Khanna.
This weekend then, make time for music, nostalgia and, of course, food.
Horn Ok Please will be held on 4-5 March, 11am-9pm, at Ansal Plaza, Khel Gaon Marg. Prices, starting from Rs100.