What comes to your mind first when you think of Varanasi tourism? You must be wondering about the magnificent Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi Ghats, Silk emporium or the narrow lanes of the city. But, how can one forget talking about the lip-smacking eateries starting from mouth-watering Pani Puri to the sweet seduction of Thandai and desserts. It is quite obvious to say that Varanasi is a complete package of fun and never disheartens travel enthusiasts.
A trip is said incomplete unless you binge on delectable delicacies of Banaras that represents a quintessential part of Varanasi’s culture. Check out the list of a few handpicked locations and special delicacies that tickle your taste buds on your Varanasi tour.
One of the most happening and loved breakfast dishes in the city, Kachori Sabzi is prepared with two different types of Kachoris- Badi and Chhoti Kachori. Spicy mashed potato mix is used to prepare the filling of Choti Kachori where as Badi Kachori is stuffed with Dal Ki Pithi prepared with spicy mixture cooked with lentils. These flavored kachoris are served with an aromatic and tangy Aloo curry.
Aloo Curry is cooked with a generous amount of black pepper and cloves and to make it spicier and more flavorful, dry red chillies and green chillies are added to the curry.
Where to try? Thatheri Bazaar, Kachori Gali, and Ram Bhandar
A beautiful blend of Chiwda of Bihar and Maharashtrian Poha, Choora Matar is prepared with flattened rice soaked in pure Desi Ghee and then cooked with spices along with raisins, saffron, and green peas. You can either have it as a famous morning meal or evening snack. Certain spices like black pepper, hing, and garam masala are added to this eatery to enhance its taste and aroma. Some people even add cream or Milk to enhance the texture and flavor of the dish.
Where to try? Gopal Mandir Gali
Dahi Chutney Gol Gappe
Popularly called as Meethe Golgappe, this eatery is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy delight that are loved by children as well as adults too. The crispy Gol Gappas are filled with a flavored mixture of smashed potatoes and then garnished with curd flavored with Imli, tangy chutney, Pudina, and a few more spices. Pomegranate is also added as a topping and as the last garnishment of the platter.
The moment you put these Waterballs in your mouth, you get to enjoy different flavors added as the topping.
Where to try? Gol Ganj and Deena Chaat Bhandar
One of the most popular delicacies in Bihar, Baati Chokha is served as delicious street food in Varanasi also. Roasted Chana Dal and spices are stuffed inside the whole wheat dough balls and these balls are only called as Litties. The wheat dough balls are roasted over charcoal and later on dipped generously in pure desi ghee. The litties are then served with Chokha, a spicy mixture of brinjal, tomato, and potato.
Where to try? Puran Das Road
Another popular local version of Aloo Chaat, this dish is prepared with a mashed mixture of boiled tomatoes, potatoes, green chillies, onions, and fresh coriander leaves. This lip-smacking spicy chaat is quite hot to handle and if you are a faint-hearted person then you must not try this eatery. Red Chilly powder, pounded ginger, garam masala, and other few spices are added in this dish to make it more delicious. The dish is served in a bowl made up of Palash leaves.
Where to try? Deena Chaat Bhandar, Dashashwamedh Ghat
Chena Dahi Vada
Are you also a curd lover? If yes, then raise your hands and move towards Dasaswamedh Ghat to enjoy this sumptuous variation to the regular bhallas filled with lentils. Looks pretty much similar to Rasmalai, Chena Dahi Vada is generally served with “Meethi Dahi” sprinkled with a pinch of black salt and jeera. Streaming cup of tea adds more flavor to these Dahi Vadas, a quite popular snack to have in breakfast.
It happens to be a great snack offering an amalgamation of sweet and sour flavors. Garnishing of coriander leaves make it more delectable and refreshing.
Where to try? Deena Chat Bhandar, Dasaswamedh Ghat
Nimish or Makhan Malaiyyo is one of the most preferred desserts to savor in Varanasi especially during the winter months. Inspired by Persian culture, Malaiyyo is prepared by churning the milk to prepare a creamy texture. This milk cream is then added with cardamoms and saffron and is then garnished with almonds and pistachios on the top. Perfectly sweet and very light, Malaiyyo is generally served in Kulhads or Purva.
It happens to be a well-preserved secret of this religious city and one can experience it only when they visit this eternal city. This creamy delicacy will definitely melt in your mouth.
Where to try? Kachori Gali and Neelkanth
Varanasi is reckoned for fairly high production of milk and curd and this is why these products are profoundly used in almost every dish. Banarasi Thandai is very much popular for its celebratory spirit and refreshing and soul-soothing taste. Cooked with Puree, the seasonal fruit, this sweet beverage is served in a Kulhad flavored with ice cream, rose essence, nuts, and fruits and is topped with Rabri.
Magajtari seeds, vetiver seeds, fennel seeds, pepper, saffron, and cardamom add rich and refreshing flavors to the beverage. Adding Thandai in the menu of Holi party is quite compulsory and a kick of Bhang is also added in Thandai on this auspicious Hindu festival.
Where to try? Blue Lassi Shop, Kachori Gali Chowk
Everyone must have heard of this Bollywood song “Khai Ke Paan Banaras Wala” featured by the great Indian actor, Amitabh Bachchan. This Paan is something that one must not skip trying when you are in the city. It is prepared with beetle nut leaves and supari, an amalgamation of condiments and lime, and is eaten with lime or tobacco. You can also try Meetha Paan, devoid of lime or tobacco, and is garnished with fennel seeds, sweetened rose petals, and soft and chewy beetle nuts.
Where to try? Deepak Tambul Bhandar, Dashashwamedh Ghat, and Rajendra Chourasia Paan, Chowk Thana.
Another most loved sweet dish served in Varanasi is Rabdi Jalebi which is prepared with pure desi ghee. If you are fond of confectionaries and looking for sweet, crispy, and juicy jalebis are sold here like hotcakes. The city has some of the well-cooked Rabris that are easily available at any of the well-known sweet shops. The flavor and delicacy of Jalebi tastes good when served with Rabri and having them along with Kachori Sabzi is another great idea.
Where to try? Madhur Jalpan shop serves some really amazing Jalebis.
However, served throughout the year yet usually prepared on the festive occasion of Holi, Launglata is a sweet dish served at almost every shop in Varanasi. This sweet eatery is cooked with crispy dough having stuffing of Mawa, Sugar, Nuts, and also find cloves stuffed in the dish.
Some of the best places in Varanasi to treat your taste buds with some amazing delicacies.
Pizzeria Vaatika Café, Assi Ghat
Established closer to Assi Ghat, Pizzeria Vaatika Café is one of the most renowned rooftop restaurants in the city. The café promises and serves you with Italian and continental dishes and also provides a few Indian dishes to attract the locals. One can also taste a variety of flavored pizzas and also apple pie is served with ice cream.
Timings: Between 7:30 am and 10 pm
Brown Bread Café
Popularly called as German Bakery, this café is established near Dasaswamedh Ghat and serves Indian, continental, European, and Italian cuisines. The dishes served here are prepared with organic grains and baked freshly. If you are looking for a light meal then you can try out the delectable pizzas, breads, rolls, and pastries. The café is very much famous for its breakfast that can be selected from vegetarian cutleries.
Timings: You can visit the place between 7 am and 10 pm.
Roof Top Restaurant
Situated at Assi Ghat, this rooftop restaurant happens to be one of the most happening places to witness the beauty of nature and offers you mesmerizing views of River Ganges providing refreshing and soul touched feel to the traveler. The restaurant serves you with mouthwatering Chinese, Indian, and Continental cuisines.
Timings: Between 7 am and 10:30 am, 2:00 to 4 pm and then from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.
Kashi Chat Bhandar
One of the most popular street food joint, Kashi Chat Bhandar is a very popular street side food that offers its guests with Indian fast food. The shop happens to be quite treasured in Varanasi and is famous for Tomato Chat served in a very small mud pot. Despite being a very small shop, Kashi Chat Bhandar is always found crowded and customers start visiting the place from early morning.
Sometimes you can see a huge queue standing for hours to taste this lip-smacking snack.
Timings: Between 4 am and 10 pm.
There are several special treats served on the narrow lanes of Varanasi and only a few of the eateries are enlisted above. Make sure to enjoy the flavored street food of Varanasi on your holiday to this gorgeous and fascinating city.