We stayed in Delhi last weekend and when we were trying to plan what to do, I saw an ad for “The World’s Largest Biryani.” Biryani is a pretty basic Indian rice dish, with vegetables or it can be made with different meats. This event was scheduled to take place at a stadium, so I was picturing a whole stadium filled with rice. Annica wanted to go with me, but we had to convince the skeptical others that it would be a quick stop on our way to India gate.
The rickshaw dropped us off at the stadium and it was dusty and abandoned. We went in and there was construction equipment everywhere – no giant rice dish in sight. We were about to give up but I decided to humiliate myself, walked up to a security guard and asked “World’s largest biryani?” He pointed out the door and to the right, and as we walked that way for awhile we came upon a tent. We pushed back the curtains and inside was a lavish but empty looking party.
Immediately, we became celebrities. I suppose we were the only foreign tourists to come see this world wonder, and we were pounced on by the Indian media, video and still cameras following our every move. We asked when we could see the biryani and they gave us progressively shorter time intervals to convince us to stay. They sat us down at this lovely table in the VIP area and brought us all coffees.
While we were sitting at the table, a man from an Indian radio station came around and interviewed all of us. I told him my name was Amy and he said “Like Amy Winehouse!” Great. I said “No, not like her!” and he said “What, you don’t want a Grammy?” I told him I’d take the Grammy but not the rehab.
He asked us if we’d seen the biryani and we said not yet, we were waiting. They weren’t letting many people go up, but we were allowed to put on surgical gear and see the monstrosity, while hundreds of cameras took pictures of us. Crazy! (Yes, that is a crane dropping ingredients into the biryani.)
After our peek into the world record-setting rice dish (which was, at that time, riceless), we went over to the stage where there were some fantasically cheesy dancers performing. Then Sam, being tall and blonde, got called up to do a contest with some other spectators. She was supposed to speak for 30 seconds about biryani, but she didn’t know what biryani was, so they had her speak about ice cream. She came in second (missing out on the prize – a bag of Kohinoor basmati rice) to a knowledgeable female doctor who spoke on the health benefits of biryani AND threw in a plug for Kohinoor rice. But we were proud of her anyway!
We watched lots more cheesy entertainment, including guys dancing without shirts in outfits made out of yellow raincoats with fringe. Then we decided we’d had our share of the biryani fest, and snuck out.
Tragically, despite the huge number of pictures taken of us (I felt like Britney Spears, having my every move recorded), no paper or news outlet really found the World’s Largest Biryani worthy of major coverage. We checked all the papers but each one just had print articles. So sad!