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A dhaba in Chandigarh where Canadian prime minster tested his taste buds
Chandigarh is known for sun, space and roses. Over the years, it has become a hub for dignitaries. From film stars to musicians, from business tycoons to politicians, from national to international guests, the beautiful city is drawing the attention of personalities from all walks of life.

There are large numbers of eateries in Chandigarh which cater to the need of the residents. These places range from eating joints established in star hotels and other areas of the city which are very popular for serving food suitable for all pockets. Of late, eating food at a dhaba has become a craze among the students, youngsters and other visitors of Chandigarh.

What is a dhaba? I just try to trace the meaning and found that “a roadside restaurant, normally situated on highway is known as dhaba.” But this is not sufficient to understand the exact meaning. The etymology suggests that the word might have stemmed from the word Punjabi dabba (box). With the passage of time dabba became dhaba where local cuisine is served with no formal sitting arrangement of chairs and tables but only on charpoys (rope-bed) kept in the open in a traditional way. These dhabas used to serve the food to truck drivers and other long distance travelers. The food is generally heavily spiced and fried.

Nowadays, dhabas have evolved and attained a respectable position in the gourmet circle. The dhaba culture has also been introduced in five stars hotels by creating and ambience of archetypical rustic highway eatery complete with truck mural and with rustic internal décor in traditional phulkari work. These artificial created dhabas at such places offer the tantalizing taste of wholesome food but at exorbitant rates.  

But the real taste of food lies only in Indian dhabas where food is simple and unpretentious. One such dhaba is located in sector 28 of Chandigarh. It is known as Deluxe Dhaba. The dhaba attained overnight fame when the prime minister of Canada Stephan Harper expressed his desire to test his taste buds there. The city and the residents were quite happy and felt proud to know about this. There was a jubilant atmosphere in sector 28. The entire market of sector 28 Chandigarh was decorated with buntings, banners and lights. Security was also beefed up in the area for ensuring the safe visit of the dignitary and other VIPs accompanying the Canadian Prime Minister.

I came to know that earlier Mr. Harper was scheduled to visit ‘Pal Dhaba’ located in the same sector but due to security reasons it was decided shift the venue from to Deluxe Dhaba. The decision disappointed the owners of Pal Dhaba who had made arrangements in advance regarding the visit of international guest for dinner.

The prime minister of Canada visited Deluxe Dhaba on 7th November 2012. A delegation of 60 persons including politicians of Canada and Punjab, businessmen and officials of Canadian government enjoyed the dinner at Deluxe Dhaba. Famous singer and actor of Punjab Harbhajan Mann also accompanied the international guests. The guests were greeted with the beat of Punjabi Dhol and bhangra performed by children.

The prime minister tested his taste buds with butter chicken, lemon chicken, rogan Josh, palak paneer, chilly paranthas, lachhedar paranthas, yellow daal and malai kofta. But the most sought after item after the dinner was tilla kulfi which was savored by the guests.

The Deluxe dhaba, after the visit of international guests, has now become very popular for the city residents and the visitors. No wonder, the place has already caught the eye of some film producers who intend to shoot few scenes of their forthcoming movies there. So Deluxe Dhaba has become another place to visit and relish food in Chandigarh.

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