Delhi Belly-noun: Diarrhea or dysentery contracted from eating Indian (i.e., from India) food. Also
In Mexico it is known as a bout of Montezuma's revenge, in India a case of Delhi Belly. But whatever is called, it is common. Of course I have heard about it and if I hadn't, I'd be an expert by now. Not because I contracted it, but because every time I check in or touch base with friends and family in the States, invariably their first question is related to my lower gastrointestinal fortitude. It's a rather personal question, don't you think? But hey, I'm all about bathroom humor, just not so frequent or about a specific place.
What's the deal? I just don't get it! When I first arrived in Goa, my hosts were very concerned about where we ate because they thought I was going to die, literally melt from the inside out, if I sampled the local fare. Their remedy: Feed Brad Pizza! Ok, great! I love pizza. In fact, the pizza in India is really, REALLY good. If you must know, there is Domino's on every corner in Delhi and their delivery guarantee is 15 minutes FASTER than the US!
Finally I had to beg to be taken for a fish fry or have some of these famous masala, mutton or curry dishes. Simply amazing.
We just don't have food in the US that has this much going on. The preparation, the blending of spices, the presentation, all of this allows you to mix and match different flavors through hand-dipping your morsels.
Really tasty and super fun. Eating, of course, is a very social experience everywhere around the world. In India they have turned dining into both an art and a science, steeped in geography and tradition. A few hours after consumption, there is no effect. The next morning, it was business as usual in the bathroom (Sorry! The loo). Having escaped what I was told was a Class 5 Chem-Bio Hazmat threat, I was ready to go again!
In Delhi, I very confidently told my hosts that I had an iron gut, had been all over the world. I've not only sampled, but eaten some pretty crazy stuff from Mexico to Haiti and even dined on Rocky Mountain Oysters from the States. I sincerely informed them that Delhi Belly was a mere myth to keep out American and British Imperialists.
Me and my big mouth.
So my hosts, being ever so gracious, took me to Old Delhi. A very traditional, historic district, where cuisine has not changed in hundreds of years and the way of doing business hasn't changed that much either.
There are bustling streets, crowded market places and vendor stalls that look like temporary flea markets, except that these stalls have not moved for generations. Nor, it seems, have the proprietors or the patrons.
So we visited a food vendor that was more than 100 years at the same location that attracts famous celebrities from Bollywood, sports and politics. I didn't really know what I was getting into but I knew by everyones faces as I ate, that I was going to be informed shortly. By the end of the night I had enjoyed a wonderful assortment of Goat cutlets, peas and potato curry, as well as some kind of Indian chicken wings and goat brain curry. No, that was not an autocorrect or a "Siri" mishap. They fed me the brains of a goat. Mental movies of Faces of Death were playing in my head on the ride home and I thought that my version of Man vs. Food was going to score one for the home team.
Nope! All good downstairs and I am definitely getting used to this place!
What's next? I'm getting hungry.