In the midst of the bustling kitchen, Rahul John can be seen meticulously guiding his team of chefs, ensuring the chicken is boiled to perfection to capture the authentic taste of Arunachal cuisine.
“Our canteen is known for its authentic Arunachal taste. Many individuals who have migrated from Arunachal Pradesh to Delhi come to us,” proudly states Rahul John, the owner of Arunachal Pradesh Bhawan canteen.
For over 17 years, the 45-year-old John has been serving Arunachal-style boiled chicken and pork steaks, carrying on the business inherited from his father, who had previously managed the Nagaland House kitchen.
“While my family hails from Goa, my father had lived in Nagaland for several years. He had a deep understanding of Nagaland’s food and culture, and that’s where we initially started. Later on, around 16-17 years ago, we ventured into the Arunachal Pradesh House kitchen,” shares John, explaining the origins of their canteen.
The canteen has gained popularity for its signature dishes — boiled chicken and grilled chicken steaks.
John proudly adds, “In addition to our Arunachal-style chicken, we also cater to pork steak enthusiasts. Very few restaurants in Delhi can rival the authentic and delectable pork steaks we serve.
“People even come from nearby regions like Gurugram, Noida, and Greater Noida just to relish our special pork steaks and pork fry,” reveals John when asked about the most sought-after dishes.
Interestingly, John has a deep appreciation for the flavours of North-Eastern cuisine. Traditional dishes from this region are characterised by their minimal use of oil and spices. Simple ingredients such as turmeric and red chilli are used, with the distinctive flavour of bamboo shoots adding a unique touch.
“Our canteen also welcomes north Indians and Delhiites who have developed a fondness for our cuisine. Occasionally, they prefer their chicken or pork curry without bamboo shoots, as the shoots possess a distinct aroma and acquired taste,” explains John, highlighting the preferences of locals.
Notably, John highly recommends the food not only for its tantalizing taste but also for its health benefits. The dishes primarily consist of boiled preparations with minimal oil usage. Even the curries are predominantly composed of tomato and onion puree, making them considerably healthier compared to the rich Mughlai chicken dishes commonly found in Delhi.
John’s dedication to preserving the authentic flavours of Arunachal Pradesh and his commitment to offering healthy yet delicious food at Arunachal Pradesh Bhawan canteen have established it as a go-to destination for food enthusiasts looking for an exceptional culinary experience.