Banaras, Bholey Baba ki Nagri, has been blessed with food items that can provide you with ultimate salvation. To taste the feeling of salvation and salivation at one single time, just start chanting Har Har Mahadev and indulge yourself in the innumerous delicacies, the holy Nagri has to offer you. The following listed, are the top 20 things that you have to have, when in Banaras.
1. Kachori Sabji:
A staple breakfast food for almost all Banarasis,- this is one item you have to try. As the round ball of sun comes up in the vast sky full of clouds, the street side stalls are ready with their hot fluffy ball like kachoris, floating up in their huge utensils filled with oil. Early office goers or simply hostelers tired of their hostel food, throng up the streets and devour the hot kachori with an even hotter and spicier sabji. Give it a try to have that authentic Banarasi wala feeling.
2. Aloo Kachori:
Coming to another of the delicacies of Varanasi, the Aloo Kachori is a slight variation of the Kachori Sabji. Here the normal kachoris are stuffed with real spicy potato fillings and instead of sabji, they are be taken with chutneys. One of the best Aloo Kachoris is served at Shri Madhur Jalpan Sweet shop, Godowlia.
3. Desi Ghee Ke Jalebee:
Do not make Republic Days and Independence Days, the only days to indulge in this heavenly dessert. When in Varanasi, all days are Cheat days. Another of the best things that Madhur Jalpan has to offer is this Desi Ghee wale jalebi. Succulent, crispy, juicy and hot- it has got all things that will make you crave for more and more.
4. Baati Chokkha:
This is another widely loved food of Bihar and U.P. Though there are a lot of street side stalls selling the mashed balls of boiled potatoes, tomatoes, and baked brinjals, an authentic taste of the dish can be experienced in the Baati Chokkha Restaurant at Teliyabagh. Do give it a definite try.
5. Aloo Tamatar Chaat-
Besides the famous Deena Chaat Bhandar and Kashi Chaat Bhandar, there are quite a number of road-side stalls at Lahurabir Road, that offer you with an out of the world Chaat experience. Adding just the right amount of spices and masalas and garnishing it with a sweet chutney, the makers of this Banarasi cuisine will definitely succeed in holding your attention, for quite a long time, like the Masaledar saas-bahu serials of Hindi channels.
There won’t be a single sane person saying a No to this. Of course, there are Chaat shops like Deena and Kashi Chaat Bhander selling the best of Banaras ke Golgappe. But if you are anywhere near Maldahiya, do try out the golgappes from the stall right outside Vishal Mega mart- they are simply out of the world.
Stuffed with khoya and cloves, this will be a spicy and sweet treat for you from Varanasi, with love.
After Punjab, I guess, it is Varanasi that can serve you with the thickest and creamiest of Lassis. One of the must haves in Varanasi,- the best of it can be experienced at the Pehlwan Sweets Lassi and Doodh, at Lanka. Go and have your Malai markey experience there.
Banaras aake thandai nahi piye, toh kya kiye. Thandai’s are one of those things, Varanasi is really famous for. Do come here and grab a glass at Godowlia. The lip-smacking delight is found at its best in Baba Thandai and Kashi Vishwanath Thandai Ghar.
This though is not a must try, but when in Bhole baba ki Nagri, you gotta give it a try, in case you have never tried it before. Varanasi, if not the only one, is definitely one of the very few cities in India, with officially permitted Bhaang shops around. You can easily get it with your Thandai and if you want that added effect you better start chanting Bum Bum Boley!
With a lot of mandirs around and even a larger number of sweet shops around, there is no scarcity of pedas in Banaras. I agree Pedas are widely found all over India, but there is a very distinct taste in the pedas you get over here. Try avoiding small roadside shops and get yourself a packet from either Madhur Jalpan, Ksheer Sagar or the lanes of Sankat Mochan Mandir.
12. Sankat Mochan wale Besan ke Laddu-
Even if going to Mandirs is not your thing, do visit the lanes of Sankat Mochan, for experiencing these completely awesome round pieces of absolute love. Garnished with Tulsi leaves, the taste of these ghee-laden crisp laddus is infused with a different kind of aroma,- a kind of aroma that is going to titillate you to keep going back to it.
13. Makkhan Malai-
A winter specialty of Varanasi, this dish is not only prepared by a lot of boiling, and churning of milk, but also with a hell lot of patience. However, the result that you get is an ABSOLUTE bliss that completely melts as soon as you put it in your mouth. A MUST MUST TRY, is all I can suggest.
Rabri is another of the famous delicacies of Varanasi and tastes even better when combined and taken with that of the desi ghee laden Jalebis. So, head towards any of the renowned sweet shops of this holy city, and indulge yourself in an experience of absolute sweetness like never before.
15. Chhena Dahi Bada-
Unlike the common Dahi Badas found all across the country, Varanasi’s Dahi Badas consist of Badas made of Chhena( boiling of milk and then curdling it with whey). In contrast to Launglatas, which give you a spicy and sweet feeling at a single time, Banarasi Chhena Dahi Badas give you a taste of the sweet and sour at the same time.
16. Dalmandi wale Chicken and Roomali Roti-
At a pocket pinch of just Rs 60, Dalmandi at Godowlia, can offer you with a delicious treat of Rotis and grilled chicken kebabs (4-6 pieces). Worried about the taste? Well, in that case, be informed that it tastes absolutely Mamma-mia!!
17. The Bhog/Bhojan at Annapurna Temple-
Annapurna temple situated just beside the old Viswanath Temple, Godowlia, offers a free Bhog to all the devotees, every afternoon. The Bhog consists of Rice, Dal, Papad, Pickle, Sabji, Fried Potato, Dahi, and one piece of sweet. However, the best part is that you can take as much as you want, provided you don’t waste.
18. Kulladh wali Chai-
In Varanasi, buffalo milk is kind of preferred to cow’s milk, not only because it is healthier but also because it is a lot more thicker. Therefore, the tea in Varanasi also happens to be creamier and richer than the usual lots. Added to this, is, it being served in Kulhads or earthen cups,- in all creating an altogether different aroma – almost like that of petrichor.
19. Lemon Tea at Ghats-
When at Ghat, always opt for a Lemon/Masala Tea, and not a milk tea, because in the later, the milk is usually diluted with water. Assi Ghat and Dasaswamedh Ghat offer the best lemon teas and trust me- the hot piquant sips that you take while the cold winds from the river-side brush against your face, is something you will treasure throughout your life. DO NOT MISS THIS.
20. Banarasi Paan-
Just like a meal is incomplete without having a paan at the end of it, your visit to Varanasi shall remain to be completely futile if you fail to have the Banaras ki Shaan- Banarasi Paan, during the course of your trip. Prepared by stuffing sweet betel leaves with fennel seeds (saunf), cardamom, cinnamon, menthol, camphor and clove powder along with gulkand and coated sugar- the paan of Banaras is famous all over the world. Two of the best shops, where you can have an authentic and unparalleled taste of Banarasi paan, are Kuber Paan Bhander at Godowlia, and Keshav Tambul Bhandar at Lanka.
I don’t know about you, but the list is already giving me a Foodgasm. Here I come, Banaras!!!
Har Har Mahadev!!!