Food in Varanasi
Sweet, savoury or spicy – whatever be your taste, you are sure to find a food that suits your mood and palate. Varanasi cuisine is highly inspired by the food culture of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and mildly Bihar as the three regions have uncanny similarities in its style of cooking and ingredients.
For all you food-lovers, here’s list of items that is definitely worth trying, while you are on your Varanasi trip.
Though jalebis are widely famous in whole of north India, but Varanasi’s jalebi undoubtedly has a distinctive flavour. These crispy dish of crystallized sugar is a favourite munch for many while sitting along the banks of rive Ganges and admiring nature.
No trip to Varanasi is complete without tasting the succulent and mouth-watering betel leafs of Varanasi. Such is the fame of this paan that even Bollywood has dedicated songs eulogising the paan. Keshav Tambul Bhandar near BHU gate and Ram Chaurasia Tambul Bhandar at Chowk are two best places where you can taste authentic Banarsi paan in the city.
Just like temples, boats and Ganga Aarti, chaats too are indispensable part of Varanasi. Myriad range of chaat preparations like raj kachouri, batata puri, paani puri, tikkis, dahi vada, papri chaat and many more are dished out to hundreds of greedy chaat lovers daily. But the clear winner is definitely the tamatar (tomato) chaat. This chaat can be aptly described as the hybrid of Kathiawadi Sev tamatar and Maharashtrian Pao Bhaji. The boondi sev that garnishes tamatar chaat is certainly the USP of this dish. Go to Mahadev Chaat Bhandar at Assi Ghat to experience a spicy and colourful plate of chaat. Kesari Chaat Bhandar is also another popular chaat joint, and probably the oldest too. It was started by Dinanath Keshri and is currently managed by his son Pradeep. Check this place out to get the authentic taste to chaats. This shop is located in Nirail Bazaar behind police station of Chowk.
Kachoris are the best breakfast item to have in the holy city. Piping hot Kachoris accompanied by equally tasty potato curry and chutney is a great way to start the day. These kachoris are usually stuffed with moong lentil and are fried in hot oil. Madhur Milan near Dashashwamedha Ghat is famous for its kachoris. Do not forget to include it in your must-eat list.
Be it with or without bhang, Varanasi has made a name for itself worldwide for its famous thandai preparation. Check out Shri Chandra Mohan Pathak’s thandai shop at Narayan Katra, Nichi Bagh to enjoy a glass full of chilled yoghurt shake. Raju Kesharji sitting near Dashashwamedha Ghat is also known for its thandai. If you are in an adventurous mood and want to try out thandai mixed with bhang, it is advisable to have it from government authorised shops near Dashashwamedha temple. Another popular joint is Lassiwala’s lassi that comes with a pinch of rose water and served in earthen cups. The cooling-effect of the thandai will make you forget all the tantrums and noises that have bugged you for so long in Varanasi.
Though predominantly a Rajasthani dish, Litti Chokha is also a favourite in Varanasi. This effortless dish is acknowledged as one of the traditional dishes of the country. Here, wheat balls known as littis are stuffed with sattu or roasted gram flour and then charcoal baked. And choka is a mixture of roasted brinjal or eggplant, mashed potatoes, tomates, onions and dash of lemon juice for added flavour. The combination of litti with chokha is simply mouth watering and people from faraway places rush to Baati Chokha, a restaurant near Teliabagh Railway Station to have a taste of this delicacy.
Gulab Jamun, Rabri, Malpua, Gajar ka Halwa, thekua, Sevaiyan Kheer, shashi tukda are some of the famous sweet items to be found in Varanasi. Check out Ramman Mishttan Bhandar at Cantt Road, Basant Bahar in Lahurabir to satiate your sweet tooth.
This flavoured crushed ice dollop with tinge of colour is another favourite roadside food, especially during hot summer days.
This is one food item in Varanasi, where you do not have to think twice about cleanliness and calories. Roasted peanut kiosks are in abundance throughout the city and are definitely healthy and satisfying filler for an empty stomach. Charcoal and sand are used while roasting the peanuts, adding a distinct flavour to the peanuts.