Ten Second Takeaway

Himanshu Verma, curator of Red Earth, tells us all about Meher Chand and Sons at Khari Baoli. Stocking masalas, teas and more for almost a century, this is a relic to relish.

Teeing off with Tea Talks

meharchand1Walking into Delhi’s historic spice market at Khari Baoli, one is awed. It’s been around since the 17th century, and there are shops here that have been around for generations. One such institution here, and undisputedly the toast of the market, is the 99-year-old Mehar Chand and Sons.

The establishment was started in 1917, and is today steered by Ashok Kumar and his son, Anshu Kumar. Anshu has taken the enterprise to another level altogether, with the finesse of his master blends and his mastery over the finer nuances of tea.

Spice and All Things Nice

The modest working ambience of the store is quickly defied by the extraordinary quality of the spices you encounter here—from whole spices to ground powders—which are blended under Kumar’s able expertise to produce very specific masalas for particular dishes {even those inspired by various regional cuisines}.

You will also encounter a mind-boggling variety of teas—from the humble Masala Chai, moving up the ladder to finer Darjeeling teas sorted as per flush/plantation, and lastly, the finest green, white and black teas, which Kumar sorts into the high school, graduate, post-grad and doctoral levels respectively, and charmingly describes some of the doctoral ones as, ‘a cup of music’.

Tea-ming with Tourists

meharchand2Junior Kumar’s articulate deliveries and friendly demeanour makes sure that the store is flooded with tourists and local consumers through the day. And it is a delight to hear him explain, with great earnestness, the finer points of tea and spices tirelessly, even as he cracks deals to move tons of pepper daily, or entertains celebrity chefs and big food corporations.

Potent Patents

The potent tea-masala is a must-have. As for the teas, much as I am at the bottom of the rung with my die-hard preference for Masala Chai {‘builder’s tea’ as Kumar calls it!}; over the years I have moved up by trying some of his finer blends like the Kashmiri Green Tea Kahwa.

Go check it out.

Where: Mehar Chand and Sons, 6535, Khari Baoli, Near Fatehpuri Masjid

Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk

Price: INR 200 – INR 2,600

Timings: 10am – 8pm {Mon-Sat}; 10am – 4.30pm {Sunday}

Contact: 011 23958801 {Anshu Kumar}

Follow their Facebook page here.