Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in this world, is also known as Banaras by local people. It is the spiritual capital of India. This city has history of thousands years. It is also called city of temples as you can see hundreds of temples across the city. You can also find hundreds of ghats along the river Ganga. River side such ghats are major tourist attraction in Varanasi. So what are street food so popular in such city which is crowded by tourists from various corners of the country as well as world or in short what are popular Varanasi street food?
Popular Varanasi street food
Kachori is very popular in Varanasi (Benaras). Though kachori is also popular across the state and in whole Northern Indian region (particularly in UP, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal) but Varanasi kachori is very famous and both locals and tourists prefer this as most delicious street food in Benaras. It is a flour made food with dal & hing (asafoetida) stuffing and often served with mashed aloo (potato) gravy.
Another North Indian dish and people love to start day with puri sabzi as breakfast. You can see road side street vendors who are selling puri sabzi in many corners of this city. It is just plain flour made small, flattened & circular shaped food. People prefer this puri with aloo (potato) sabzi.
Pakoda is also very popular, almost everybody likes this food. Lanka (chili) pakoda, aloo (potato) pakoda, pyaz (onion) pakoda dal pakoda are very popular in Benaras. Pakoda is basically fries of veg or non veg item coated with flour (chick peas, corn, rice, wheat flour etc) made mixture. It is generally served with chutney or sauce.
Chaat is a mouth watering North Indian food. Chaat is very popular evening snack across the Uttar Pradesh, the biggest state of India. Chat is basically fried item (generally vegetable) with many spices with different fantastic flavor and taste. Varanasi chat is also famous. People particularly in Benaras like aloo (potato) chaat, tamatar (tomato) chat etc. Papdi chaat is also prefered by people in Varanasi.
Have you ever heard about litti chokha? It is very popular in Hindi speaking eastern region of India, particularly in Bihar, Jharkhand and East UP. Some people also think litti same as bati (Rajasthani food Dal bati) but these two are different in taste and bati is served with dal, whereas litti is served with chokha. Litti chokha is also widely available in Varansai and local people love this food very much.
Thandai is most common drink in Northern India and Rajasthan. Foreigners consider this as flavored milk. This is perfect drink for Indian festivals like Holi & shivratri etc. But people also prefer this as healthy or energy drink. This drink is prepared with full cream milk, saffron, sugar and other spices’ powder. This drink is absolutely delicious and healthy desi (country) drink. You can see many thandai shops in Benaras.
Most most common sweet of India. Everybody like this sweet from west India to East India and from Kashmir to MP. It is also popular in south but not as popular as in Northern India. People like this sweet dish after having puri sabzi or kachori. This actually flour made circular fried item dipped in sugar serum. This a very popular Varanasi street food.
This is not so popular in other part of India. Does it sound true? Nope rather I should say, it is only available in Varanasi and that too only during winter season. You can not see malaiyo in the street of Varanasi during other season. This food is prepared with milk (boiled milk) which is kept under the sky for whole night during winter. Dew drops are added in milk which make it fluffy and then dry fruits, spices & saffron added. This dessert is only selling in the morning during winter.
Lassi is yogurt or curd made delicious drink. People like this drink very much. It is very healthy and tasty too. North Indian people like this drink very much. You can see many lassi stalls across the city. Though some varieties in lassi (salty, sweet etc) are available but most people prefer sweet lassi drink.
Paan is basically a flavored leaf. It is also called tambul patra in Hindi. So many other things are also added in paan to make it more flavored and delicious. Many people like to have this after having meal. Benarasi paan is very famous in India.
There so many other popular Varanasi street food but above are most famous and tourist’s favorite.
Places to visit in Varanasi
Benaras aka Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in India. Benaras is known for its ghats along side river Ganges, sound of ringing bells at temples, strong smell of incenses and rich culture of hundreds years old city. 🙂 It is also known for its narrow roads (gali), horrible traffic in crowded roads, empty bowls of beggars and pale faces of old people. Varanasi is also called as city of temples. You can see hundreds of temples everywhere in this city.
In Benaras, morning starts with ringing bells at temples, lazy sip a cup of masala tea, reflection of sunlight in river and watching crazy activities of monkeys in ghats along side river.
Day is spent in watching busy people & prayers of priest in temples, enjoying street food and discovering Indian culture own way.
An evening in Varanasi is most beautiful than whole day. Ganga aarti at Dashaswamedh ghat is main tourist’s attraction in Varanasi. Thousands of people (pilgrims, tourists, photographers etc) reach at Dashaswamedh ghat to be witnessed of thousands of years tradition. Ringing bells, thousands deepam (oil lamps), smell of incenses and color of marigold flowers will mesmerize everyone.
Temples : Kashi Viswanath Temple, Sankat Mochon Hanuman Temple, Monkey Temple, Tibetan Temple, Kathwala Nepali Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Batuk Bhairav Mandir etc
River Ghats : Dashaswamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat, Manikarnika ghat, Kedar Ghat, Harish Chandra Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat
Other Spots to Visit : Ramnagar Fort, Ashoka Pillar, Museum etc
Your turn :
Let other know about favorite Varanasi street food and locations to visit. Did you try any of those food? Did you prepare those at home?