Do Chai: Surviving Cold Nights
Roadside dhabas are the place of choice when one is craving a cup of karak chai (strong tea). These small tea shops may not offer top-notch interiors and views but I love the homely vibe that they innately have. Sitting cross-legged on a rustic chair or charpoy is how I like to enjoy my dhaba chai. Make-shift kitchens, full of activity. Continuous pouring of steaming chai. Usually, this action is carried out by the owner himself who greets every visitor with the heartiest of smiles. In a world of new-fangled tea cafes and dhabas aiming to gentrify this experience, Do Chai popped up as something exciting.
Its uber delicious tea assortments are bringing in a herd of tea lovers from all across Lahore. Last week, when the rain hit the city and its crystal clear droplets washed away layers of smog and dirt, I found it hard to stay at home. Following the call of my itchy foot, I pulled on a warm jumper, hopped in my car and headed towards Do Chai to give it a try.
My Do Chai Experience
When I happened to reach my destination I found it teeming with fellow tea geeks. Many youngsters were sitting in small circles, they were either busy in joyful conversations or playing Ludo along while relishing their cups of tea. I sat down on a small table right in front of the dhaba. The bright color scheme of the dhaba made it stand out like a burning star in an empty sky. Since the dhaba was a busy one, it took us quite some time before we managed to catch a waiters eye. He presented the menu, which too was carved on a delightfully bright and vivid card. I opted for the Do Chai special tea although the dhaba offers a variety of teas as well as parathas, sandwiches, shawarmas, burgers, and cold beverages.
My tea was brought forth within a matter of minutes and accompanied with shakkar (brown sugar). Initially, I was cynical about adding shakkar in my tea but then decided to give it a shot. It took only a single small spoon to sweeten up the cup. Every sip of it was perfection. The aroma of cardamom and cinnamon was not only pleasant but also soothing. It was, in fact, so satisfying that I found one cup insufficient and couldn’t refrain myself from ordering the second. The waiter offered me a variety of board games, I opted for ludo. In a second he reemerged with a marble ludo set in his hands. The one person game lasted longer than my tea.
Experimenting at Home
While leaving Do Chai I asked the owner for the recipe of their chai, he shared it without any hesitation. The very next day, I tried to make the perfect do chai style tea. I put together the concoction, prepared it, tasted it, and I wasn’t pleased. There must be some secret ingredient that he hid. Never mind. Do chai is nice enough for a daily visit.