The young Instagram star behind My Yellow Plate, Himanshu Sehgal is a true-blue Delhi boy who quit his job to follow his passion for food and travel. Here's his story!
If you’re an avid Instagrammer, you probably follow some of those drool-worthy food accounts. You know, the ones with outrageously pretty food spreads and recipes guaranteed to make your stomach rumble. In recent years, these food accounts have exploded in popularity, leading to the creation of online communities of foodies across India.
Among this growing crowd of Indian ‘foodstagrammers’ is Himanshu Sehgal, the Delhi-based founder of My Yellow Plate, a full-fledged Instagram account dedicated to foodie escapades across the world.
Filled with stunning snapshots of dishes from across India, all served on a yellow plate and juxtaposed against snow-capped mountains, heritage neighbourhoods and even dingy dhabas, this hugely popular Insta-page already has over 33,000 followers.
It all started in December 2016 when Himanshu decided to start a hobby project that would document an assortment of Indian street foods on a yellow plate.
Born and brought up in a typical Punjabi family in Delhi, he grew up with a deep love for food and travel.
It was this love that made the Computer Science engineer quit his full-time job at a Fortune-500 company and start freelancing, so that he could earn and travel side-by-side. It was this period that laid the foundation for My Yellow Plate.
Asked how the project took its name, Himanshu says,
“My Yellow Plate was not intentional. I never planned that I would pick up a yellow plate and go out looking for food.
One fine day in 2015, my mom served me Rajma Chawal on this yellow plate. No one knows where it came from, it was just there in the kitchen. I remember taking a picture of it and sharing it on my personal Instagram profile.
It wasn’t a great shot but it still clicked with the viewers, getting several likes and comments from friends and family. This was probably because most Indian households use either steel thalis or pastel-coloured crockery and a bright yellow plate was conspicuous.
Intrigued, I decided to carry the yellow plate along with me while travelling. Every time I would eat on it, I would share it with people and let them know what’s on my yellow plate.”
Accompanying every photo was Himanshu’s personal take on the dish and interesting anecdotes about the people behind the dish (from the humble owners of nameless joints to famous dhabawalas). Unsurprisingly, My Yellow Plate was quickly gaining a loyal following on both Instagram and Facebook; and what had started as a hobby project soon became a full-time job.
Encouraged by the response, Himanshu stopped accepting freelance assignments (digital marketing for Cafes) and began exploring different destinations in India with nothing but his taste buds, a camera and his faithful yellow plate. While most of these trips were undertaken at his own expense, some were sponsored by brands.
Today, My Yellow Plate has a full-blown community of gastronomes and travel aficionados who follow it as their guide to the world of Indian street food.
Asked about his all-time favourite photo from this collection, Himanshu says that it would be his first signature shot at India Gate in New Delhi.
Talking about what he loves the best and finds most challenging about running My Yellow Plate, Himanshu says with a grin,
“The most challenging part has to be deciding what to eat! As for the best part, it is getting eat delicious food, meeting some amazing people, travelling to different places, learning about new cultures and most importantly, getting to inspire people to start their own journeys.
On a more personal note, the journey has also changed me as a person and made me grateful for the kind of life I am living, for the work that I get to do. It has also taught me to be patient, persistent and to always do what you love. No money or less money is fine, but no satisfaction is not.”
Picked by Himanshu as his favourite moments, here are some photographs from My Yellow Plate’s insta-page that will inspire you to pack your cameras (and a plate) and take off for parts unknown!
1. Chole Bhature with the Indian Army
Reposting this memorable experience from my North East India trip in 2016. . Respect and salute to the Indian Army. They can paint, they can fight and they can cook. I had this chole bhature at Army cafe at Madhuri Lake, Tawang. Madhuri lake (Orginal name is Shungester Lake) is named after bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit. “Tanhai Tanhai” a popular song from the movie “Koyla” featuring Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit was filmed here. After the film’s shooting in 1996, the lake lost its original name. The notorious tour guides sold it to the tourists as Madhuri Lake, after the filmstar. This post is dedicated to Indian Army – the brave hearts. I saw a little cafe with few army officers and ask them if I can get something to eat to which I got a polite reply “Saab ji Chole Bhature Khaoge?”. Without a second thought I said yes and ordered a plate of chole bhature as that was the only dish available. While I was waiting, I noticed them running in and out of the kitchen. To know what’s going on, I entered the kitchen and saw the team work at its best. They were helping each other to get the food ready. By this time, they had 2 more orders for chole bhature from other tourists. Out of curiosity, I ask them how do they know cooking, to which they replied “Saabji aajkal cook nahi aa raha to hum log hi handle kar rahe hai. Pehle hum log sirf serve karte the, par cook ko dekh dekh aa gaya todha bahut. Momos bhi janta hai hum.” As soon as I heard MOMOS, I couldn’t stop myself and ask them if they can make a plate for us. While they were making Momos right in front of me, I told them about My Yellow Plate. They found it very interesting and gave compliments. And then we chatted for hours over a plate of momos and coffee. What a experience it was. JAI HIND!!!!! #myyellowplate #yellowplate #tawang #arunachalpradesh #madhurilake #IncredibleIndia #Indianarmy #FoodtalkIndia #foodmaniacindia #Indianfood #Indiafood #InstaIndia #Indiagram #India #tripoto #lonelyplanetindia #indiaclicks #Indiapictures #india_gram #indiastories #storiesofindia #_soi #streetofindia #foodbossIndia #indiatravelgram #Indiatravel #indiancuisine #Indiaphotoproject #India_gram #cnntravel
2. Meeting Sahil and Rizwan
WHEN IN AGRA. What’s on my yellow plate? Aloo and fruit chaat from a local cart seller in Mehtab Bagh, Agra. Mehtab Bagh is a charbagh complex in Agra. It lies north of the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, in the flood plains. It is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank and gives a lovely view of the Taj Mahal. . Since food and a yellow plate isn’t allowed inside the Taj Mahal, we headed to Mehtab Bagh for this less-known view of the Taj Mahal and to take some pretty cool pictures. And this was the result. This picture has given me memories of a lifetime. The whole village came together to help us get into the park and to see us clicking and for getting clicked. It was such a happy experience. . I met Sahil and Faisal, local kids who were extremely excited to see us and the yellow beast (@ducati_India) and were dancing their heart out. I offered them some Aloo and Fruit Chaat to add to the happiness. These kids reminded me that you don’t need big reasons to be happy and happiness lies in the little things. What a day it was! Thanks @ducati_india & @inspired_traveller for an amazing time! #MyYellowPlate #YellowPlate #Agra #uttarpradesh #tajmahal #mehtabbagh #India #Indiagram #InstaIndia #Ducati #DucatiIndia #indiatourism #indiatravelgram #inspired_traveller #Indiaclicks #indiapictures #indiaphotosociety #indiaphotoproject #indiatravel #foodtalkIndia #india_gram #VscoIndia #incredibleindia #Instagood #picoftheday #streetsofindia #culturvation #tripoto #bbctravel #natgeotravel
3. Dussehra Through A Yellow Plate
What’s on my yellow plate? Bhalla Papdi and Gol Gappe from a stall at Punjabi Bagh Ram Leela. Ab Dilli mein reh ke Ram Leela dekhne nahi gaye…to kahi nahi gaye. Vijayadashami also known as Dussehra is an important Hindu festival. Dussehra comes from sanskrit word “Dasa-hara” which means Ravana’s defeat. Vijayadashami is celebrated on the tenth day of brighter fortnight in the month of Ashwin according to Hindu Calendar. The first nine days are celebrated as Navratri, culminating on the tenth day as Dussehra. Dussehra celebrates the Hindu god Rama’s victory over the demon king Ravana (who abducted Rama’s wife) and the triumph of good over evil. Lord Rama, his brother Lakshmana, their disciple Hanuman and an army fought a battle to rescue Sita. The story is recorded in the Hindu epic; The Ramayana. Based on inferences from Valmiki’s Ramayana, Lord Rama, Sita and Lakhmana returned to Ayodhya on the 30th day of Ashwin (19-20 days after Dussehra). To celebrate Rama’s return, the city’s resident lit millions of earthen lamps; the day is celebrated in India as Deepawali (Diwali). On Dussehra, Effigies of Ravana (as seen in the picture) are burnt to mark the victory of good over evil. May this Dussehra burn all your worries, fears and tensions. May the GOOD conquer the EVIL, everyday. Wishing each one of you a very HAPPY DUSSEHRA. #MyYellowPlate #Dussehra #happydussehra #India #incredibleindia #Indianfestival #Indiagram #InstaIndia #indiaclicks #Indiaphotos #indiapictures #indianfood #Delhi #NewDelhi #Delhigram #Sodelhi #dfordelhi #instadelhi #delhidiaries #delhi_igers #delhincr #delhidays #vscodelhi #vscoIndia #Festival #culturvation #streetsofIndia #_soi #TravelIndia #oyemyclick
4. My First Meal in North East India
EAT WELL & TRAVEL OFTEN. This was my first meal in North-East India. Assamese Thali for lunch at Anuraag Dhaba, Nagaon Bypass. It was a sheer treat. The Thali consists of delicacies like Dhekia Saak, Tite Kerela, Bhat Kerela, Yellow Daal, Lesera Mah, Podina Chutney and Puthi Fish served with boiled rice. When in Assam, you must visit this place for some authentic Assamese food. #myyellowplate #yellowplate #northindia #northeast #northeastindia #assam #India #Indianfood #Indiafood #foodtalkIndia #delhiblog #foodmaniacIndia #Indiagram #InstaIndia #Indiaclicks #Indiapictures #vscoIndia #India_gram #streetsofIndia #zomato #zomatoin #foodgram #Indiancuisine #IncredibleIndia #Indiatravel #instafood #Assamesefood #delhifoodblogger #Indiadaily
5. Red Fort; Matar Kulcha and Sneaking Through a Fence
RED FORT; Eating matar kulcha and sneaking through broken fence. What’s on my yellow plate? Matar kulcha from a small mobile cart run by Rohit outside the Red Fort. Rohit is 16 years old and has been selling matar kulcha on his cart from last 4 years at Red Fort. He travels all the way from Yamuna Vihar to Red Fort daily to earn a living. Matar kulcha didn’t appear very hygienic but was okay in taste and it costs only 20 bucks. Now was the time to take pictures.I took my yellow plate, started walking towards the entry and got to know that Red Fort stays closed on Mondays. Disappointed, I moved towards a police booth next to the entry gate with a thought, to tell them the purpose and see if they would let me in. But all I got was rejection. While I was standing there waiting for these guys to look at me or respond, I heard a voice saying “Sir kyu pareshaan ho rahe ho. Andar Jaana hai? Photo leni hai?.” To which I replied, “Haan bhaiya, koi raasta hai?”. He: Aa jao sir sath. *I followed him* 100 meters & he showed me a broken fence and said “Yaha se ghus Jao”. I said NO as I was afraid of getting caught by the police and guards inside. To which he replied “Sir ghus jao koi dikat nai hogi. Jyada hai in sahab se puch lo* Sahab was a policemen sipping tea outside the fort, just sitting few meters away from the broken fence* I went to the Sahab, explained him the whole situation and came back with a smile. Sahab said “Jaldi se photo leke bahar aa jana. Jyada aage tak mat jaana.” I said okay and entered through the broken fence, clicked a picture, came out , had matar kulche and chatted with people around. #myyellowplate #yellowplate #redfort #olddelhi #delhi #delhigram #sodelhi #newdelhi #delhifood #delhifoodblog #delhifoodblogger #delhiblog #delhifoodie #delhifoodguide #delhifoodwalks #delhi_igers #foodtalkIndia #foodgram #foodporn #streetfood #Indianfood #Indiagram #incredibleindia #indiafood #delhidiaries #delhilife #vscodelhi #Indiaclicks #delhitourism #vscoIndia
6. A Place Without a Name
A place without a name. (We gave him a name) I was in Bomdila (West Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh) few days ago and this happened. While our driver was fixing puncture, me and my fellow buddies went out exploring and came across this small shop without a name where we saw a man who was busy making tea. To get ready for the day ahead, we ordered ourselves some tea and omelette. On asking what else we could get to eat, he replied “Sir, Rajma or Parantha bhi hai”. As soon as we heard this, we were happy souls. We ordered a plate to taste which was followed by another plate. And then a plate after plate kept coming in. We ate 6 plates of these super delicious maida parantha with rajma. This was surely the best breakfast during our whole North-East trip. While clicking pictures of my yellow plate, I asked him name of the shop, to which, he replied “Sir, naam to kuch nahi hai. *I checked and there was literally no sign board or anything* Par humara naam KAKU hai. Log KAKU naam se hi jaante hai. Dukaan ka naam nahi hai. Waise to Puncture or mechanic ka kaam karne ke liye kholi thi dukaan, par sath sath ye bhi shuru ho gaya. *He showed us a box full of equipments kept in a corner* We: Bhaiya, agar hume kisi ko batana ho ke bomdila jaye to is jagah zarur jaye to hum kya naam batayenge? He: Sir yaha kaun aayega. We: Sab aayenge. Ek dum kadak chai or parantha banate ho aap Kaku. Is jagah ka naam Kaku ka dhaba kaisa rahega? He: Haan sir, Kaku ka dhaba bata dijiyega. Bomdila petrol pump ke opposite, Kaku ka Dhaba. We: KAKU KA DHABA. ? When in Bomdila, do visit KAKU KA DHABA, opposite Bomdila Petrol Pump. It would still be without a board, but not without a name. And we have a name to make him famous. Go KAKU go!!! #myyellowplate #yellowplate #India #arunachalpradesh #Indiagram #FoodtalkIndia #foodmaniacIndia #Indiafood #Indianfood #streetfoodIndia #Indiastreetfood #Indiapics #indiapictures #Indiaclicks #Indiagram #travelIndia #bomdila #InstaIndia #incredibleindia #vscoIndia #india_gram #indianstories #delhifoodblogger #foodgram #indiatourism #_soi #streetsofIndia #vscoIndia #Indiaphotos #indiatravelgram #Indiapics #foodIndia #Indiatravel