Benaras is older than history,
Older than tradition,
Older even than legend, and
Look twice as old as all of them put together.
Such is the glory of my city, which leaves everyone spellbound. Benaras aka Kashi aka Varanasi, is not only a city but also a way of living in itself. Once you have been there and you will never forget it, the ghats, the gallis, the ganga aarti, the banarasi paan, benarasi silk…the list will go on and on. Pheww! I am already missing my native place.
So much has been already documented and said about Benaras and its culture. If Shaam -e- Awadh is famous, There is nothing equivalent to Subah-e-Benaras!! Apart from from being a cultural and educational hub, Benaras is also famous for its lip smacking food. Every other shop in Benaras is of food joint, trust me when I am saying this as I have lived there for more than twenty years 🙂 Apart from the famous Benarasi paan which happens to open your brain lock, the gallis of Benaras offer sweets and spicy food which will surely make place in your heart (metaphorically!!)
Foodie Alert!! For the very first time I am collaborating with a bunch of budding photographers, who are equally passionate about the city and its food. They have beautifully captured the essence of city in their pictures. If you are visiting Benaras lately, do not forget to try below listed street food 🙂
#1 Kachori Sabzi
And when I mentioned about Subah -e-Benaras, it means watching sunrise while taking a dip in Ganga river, attending morning aarti of Kashi Vishwanath temple, followed by breakfast in gallis of Benaras. The kachori and sabzi is a typical benarasi breakfast, which you will get in every joints near ghats. You will find it best in Kachori Gali, need to explain the reason ?? 😉
Do not stop at kachori sabzi, instead binge on hot karaari jalebi dipped in sugar syrup, which is served in almost every shop serving breakfast. Jalebi is better served with rabdi, curd or warm milk.
#3 Lassi & Thandai
Coming to other options for sweet ending of your breakfast, try malai lassi in kulhad(earthen cup) in summers. Thick lassi topped with generous amount of malai or rabdi is perfect drink for summers. Shops like Blue lassi in Vishwanath gali serve lassi in different flavours and toppings. Also try the famous thandai(flavoured milk) of city, mostly available in various small joints at Godowlia Chowk.
#4 Chaat & Golgappe
Chaat is another street food, the city has to offer and if you ask for varieties, right from aloo tikki chaat to tamatar chaat, dahi papdi chaat, tokri chaat, the names you may have not heard before are available to tickle your tongue. Coming to golgappe aka panipuri it’s not an ordinary but benarasi trademark golgappe which have stuffed aloo , chhola, onion, and tangy imli paani in it. Vishwanath Chaat, Vishwanath galli, Kashi Chat Bhandar and Dina chaat Bhandar near Godowlia Chowk are famous shops to curb your spicy food cravings.
We benarasi are born foodie and naturally have sweet tooth. For those who are extreme sweet lovers like me, launglata is the answer for all you sweet cravings. Launglata is maida parcels stuffed with khoya and dipped in sugar syrup. You will find best launglata at Madhur Milan, Sigra.
Talking about sweet and forgetting malaiyo is crime! Malaiyo is a city special creamy foamy delicacy prepared from milk. It is very light and mildly sweet in taste. You will find shops serving malaiyo mainly in winters, have malaiyo in its full glory at Markendey Shop, Chaukhambha or Lakshman shop , Bhartendu bhavan.
#7 Baati Chokha
This is another favourite street food you will find vendors selling on wheel cart. Baati is dough ball stuffed with sattu complimented with chokha( mashed potatoes,tomatoes and brinjals). Apart from street you can try them in a comfortable setting at Baati Chokha restaurant, Anand mandir, Telia bagh.
#8 Kulhad ki Chai
Sitting besides ghats, watching sun setting down and sipping chai from kulhad is one of the many perks of living in Benaras. It is a heavenly feeling altogether !
# 9 Kulfi
Cold desserts like malai kulfi are the best street food in summer. Malai kulfi served with falooda(Vermicelli) with a hint of rose syrup is a must try at Anamika coffee & kulfi house, near I.P.Sigra.
#10 Banarasi Paan
Benaras aae aur paan nhi khaya to kya khaak Banaras aaye! This is any banarasi typical reaction if you have not tried Benarasi Paan, and we are right. why do you think there is famous song on benarasi paan?Duhh! Paan leaf wrapped with kattha, choona, supari, gulkand, Saunf, and lots of love as ingredient is speciality of city. Kuber Paan Bhandar, Gama paan Bhandar at Godowlia and Keshav paan Bhandaar at Lanka are famous paan shops in city.
Special mentions: This is going to be a never ending list, if we do not stop it here. There are many other food stops which serve not only Indian but Chinese, American ever kind of food. The cold coffee with ice cream of Tripti Cafe, VT, BHU is lifeline of students studying in BHU. The treats are incomplete without having Hot Sizzling Brownie at Ming Garden, Ravindrapuri.
The chhena sweets for every celebrations from Ksheer Sagar, Mahmoorganj. There are many numerous names which are being missed due to time and space constraints.
Alright this is it from my side! I had fun writing this post, it made me nostalgic, happy & sad at the same time. Do visit Benaras and while being there please do indulge in what our streets have to offer.
Har Har Mahadev!!