Monday, November 8, 2010

Cyber Cafe

This hole in the wall is called a cyber-cafe because it is next to an internet cafe. The internet cafe has no food only the internet. This place has food but no internet. It is owned and operated by four brothers. They grew up in Raniket, an area in the foothills of  the Himalayas. Their father is a farmer. There was not enough land for the brothers to farm. All of the four went to school. Some finished high school. The oldest came to Delhi and soon the rest  followed. They all work in the café. One of them is always there. The work starts at 4:00 AM with a visit to the market for vegetables. They finish after 11:00 PM with the cleaning of the kitchen. They all are married and have either one or two kids. They live together in a small house.

The restaurant employs five others. Most of them are migrants from other states. The rent for the space is Rs. 7000 per month and the electric bill is about the same. The workers make between Rs. 3000 to 4500 per month. The restaurant used to be very busy with people waiting in line at lunchtime. But now the hospital has opened two other eating-places. These are government run and subsidized canteens. They have taken a lot of business away from the Cyber Café. For the past six months the café is merely breaking even.

It took me a while to feel comfortable there. Everything looks awfully dirty. They clean everything every day, but it is all very old, broken, stained, and rusted! After eating a few times I realized that my stomach was not complaining. There was no Delhi belly. So now I feel okay in there. The bread is fresh out of oven and is very tasty. Today I saw the oven and took some photos. I wish I had not seen how they make it! It is not going to taste that good anymore.

I am on a crusade to teach the cook how to cook. My omelet was plain. So I asked him to sauté some onion. When the omelet came I could not see any onions. He had chopped the onions so fine, it was like onion powder! So the next day I went into the kitchen and chopped some onions and bell peppers myself. I told him to sauté it before putting it in the eggs. He threw the stuff in a pan, with some oil, and turned on the burner so high that the flames were going all around the thirteen-inch pan! No wonder he burns everything. Maybe that is why I have not had any Delhi belly so far. After appropriate instructions he made a decent omelet. Tomorrow I must teach him how to make scrambled eggs.

For photos of café click here.


  1. Well if for some reason you can't do more lectures at the hospital, at least it looks like you can teach some cooking classes.

  2. Yes, for generations to come, people eating omelets in Cyber Cafe will benefit from my visit to Delhi :)

  3. I hope to see some pictures of that kitchen...rust and all.

  4. This is a pattern with you - "educating" restaurant cooks. I suppose you must have a way about you, since they don't toss you out of the kitchen!

  5. Ines: Did you click on the bottom line which says "For photos of Cafe click here"??

    Kristina: Others do not treat me the way you do!