Young Thais are drawn by the big city lifestyle
Enjoy some of the best contemporary Indian dishes in the city – many cooked by your table or in the restaurant’s unusual show kitchen – at Masala Art, located near the diplomatic enclave on the south side of New Delhi. Here, chefs pioneered the increasingly common technique of using olive oil instead of ghee (clarified butter) to lighten the fare and heighten its flavours. Nearby, Blue Ginger turns out spicy Vietnamese dishes in a modern, moody dining room. Wait for your table (and tap your feet to the DJ’s beat) at the neighbouring Blue Bar, where locals choose from a diverse list of hand-crafted cocktails – made with everything from local fruit to oysters – and gather after work on the bar’s expansive bonsai-dotted deck.
In a dining room decorated with hand-painted murals, the Imperial Hotel’s Spice Route restaurant offers a wide range of tastes and flavours (including stir-fried lobster with ginger and Thai black mushrooms) from India’s exotic south Asian neighbours: Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. For the city’s best Japanese tempura, teppanyaki and sushi in upscale surroundings, check out Wasabi by Morimoto at the Taj Mahal hotel.
Once you have had your fill of Indian and Asian cuisine, head over to La Piazza at the Hyatt Regency for Italian dishes such as wood-fired pizzas and hand-made pastas in a rustic grotto-like environment, or try the Orient Express at the Taj Palace, where classic European fare is paired with wines from one of the best cellars in the city.
Off the clock
Add an extra day to your Delhi business trip and make the pilgrimage to the Taj Mahal, located about 200km to the south near Agra, via new express trains that depart Delhi at 6 am and return from Agra the same evening. If you have more than a day to spare in Agra, stay over at the lovely new Oberoi Amarvilas, a luxury hotel that offers stunning full-on views of the Taj Mahal. Do not try to make this day trip on your own – inquire with your hotel concierge about hiring a private guide or joining an organized group.
Adventuresome business travellers eager to get out of the processed environment at Delhi’s big hotels or office buildings should consider spending an afternoon in Chandni Chowk, or old Delhi, where you can hire a rickshaw to pedal through a warren of skinny alleyways full of silver, spice and marriage markets. Or take a stroll through India's largest mosque, the Jama Masjid, and climb to the top of its highest minaret for a marvellous, mystical view of the old city. When you are finished, have a meal at the famous Karim’s for excellent local mughlaidishes of chicken, lamb or goat. If you are still up for more, go to Aap ki pasand for a cup of India's finest tea.
Don’t do this!
Do not always expect to shake hands when greeting your counterparts in Delhi. Instead, show respect for the local culture by pressing your palms together under your chin with a slight bow and saying “Namaste”. This is also the safest option when men greet women, or vice versa due to varying local customs about touching the opposite sex.