Khyen Chyen Team
SRINAGAR – Fried chicken is described as the quintessential fast food item, that is synonymous with being cheap, quick and delicious meal. There are numerous fast food chains recognised for their fried chicken recipes, with KFC leading the way.
Though the multinational outlets are reluctant to come to Kashmir because of political uncertainty we have inherited, Srinagar has created its own variety which will give the world’s foremost fried chicken brand run for its money.
Two such places in the city are “Mummy Please Express” on the Residency Road and “Modern Sweets” at Headwon, opposite State Hospital. Both eateries are known for their fried chicken, and can quell anyone’s desire for wholesome, battered, chicken goodness.
Mummy Please Express
‘Mummy Please Express’ sits on the third floor. Down below in a quick getaway eatery of the same brand, sort of reminiscent of an American fast food joint. But the main restaurant is well laid out, with glass tables and cushioned chairs, making for an extremely traditional Asian ambiance. The menu is probably one of the most diverse ones I’ve seen in any Srinagar restaurant. From the typical ‘Tuj’, to the modern day meat pizzas or spaghetti arabiata, they have it all. But I was here for the KFC competitor.
I asked straight, for a fried chicken meal, which comes with two mammoth pieces of chicken dipped in batter and fried, a portion of crisp French fries and a medium sized beverage. The chicken arrived looking perfectly cooked, and to the touch it felt as sinfully deep fried as what you’d expect in an international food chain. You can hear the crunch and snap, just as you bite into them, and from the inside, the meat was tender and succulent.
The French fries were a brilliant golden brown colour, and I indulged in them with packet tomato ketchup, because you can’t have them any other way? No oil drips or overbearing smells from when they were cooked. Just delicious fries. And nothing more needs to be said about the perfect glass of cola to wash down your meal with. Yes, the meal is excessive. Yes, it represents human opulence at its finest. And yes, the calories are way beyond the average person requires in one meal. But do I really care? Probably not. This meal is as good as a KFC 5$ box, if not better.
On the other hand, ‘Modern Sweets’, has a fast food sort of vibe to their ambience, and their food. As you enter you’re surrounded by an assortment of sweets and confectionary because as their title suggests, they are a sweet shop first. Once you make your way through the ‘ladus’ and ‘barfis’, you will see a counter arranged in the same way as international fast food chains. There’s pizzas, wings, boneless strips, shakes and of course, fried chicken. We ordered the boneless fried chicken strips with ketchup, and the chicken cheese burger. Though this place has a fast food aura, the time the burg¬er took to arrive was anything but quick. As someone who has frequented fast food joints in other parts of the world, as soon as
I was asked to “take a seat” after ordering, I knew something was amiss. The burger took 15 minutes to arrive, and in fast food restaurant terms, that is an eternity. Though my patience was well rewarded, as the burger was lined with the restaurants own mayonnaise, and the chicken patty was perfectly cooked. The boneless chicken strips however, were far from perfect. The batter was overbearing with the scent of oil, and once you bit in to the strip, the batter case would come apart from the chicken, sometimes leaving a long strand of chicken in your mouth. This was perhaps the low point of our fried chicken finding escapades, but the burgers, chicken bucket and the mutton/fish items at Modern Sweets, are compelling reasons why I’d want to come here again. What also doesn’t hurt to know, is that Modern Sweets will end up being a lot lighter on your wallets as compared to Mummy Please Express.
Srinagar does lack the American fast food franchises, but with restaurants such as “Mummy Please Express” and “Modern Sweets”, Kashmiris no longer need to long for a quick, cheap and delicious meal. Locals have learned to live without quality foreign chains, and devised their own, more than stellar solutions.
Srinagar does lack the American fast food franchises, but with restaurants such as “Mummy Please Express” and “Modern Sweets”, Kashmiris no longer need to long for a quick, cheap and delicious meal. Locals have learned to live without quality foreign chains, and devised their own, more than stellar solutions. Eating fried chicken in Srinagar represents more than just a quick meal. It shows that though there may be a disconnect with the outside world, we won’t let phenomena like trade and conflict deter us from globalisation, and in this form, a meal synonymous all over the world. Fried chicken in Srinagar is delicious, global and damn rightly deserving for Kashmiris.