Mark Twain once commented, “Banaras (now Varanasi) is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together!”
Food is of vital importance forming a unique identity and culture of the city. And the wide assortment of food options available in the streets of Varanasi (previously known as Banaras), inculcate a very strong food culture in the City of Shiva – Varanasi.
Check out some of my recommendations which you should definitely try out in Varanasi.
- Assortment of Chaat at Kashi Chaat Bhandaar
Chaat is synonymous with Varanasi and one should straightaway head out to Kashi Chaat Bhandar, which is barely a km away from Dashashwamedh Ghat, the main ghat. Your taste buds will be tantalized with the assortment of Chaat options you can get there like Aaloo Chaat, Papdi Chaat, Pani Puri, Dahi Puri, Churra Mattar and the most unique one, Tamatar Chaat.
- Batti Chokha at Potli
Just like Daal Baati Choorma is famous in Rajasthan, similarly Batti Chokha is famous in Uttar Pradesh and there is no place better than Potli, to go and indulge in this local dish. One can opt for a thali or order a la carte to enjoy the traditional bati chokha — Sattu Baati with Aubergine Bharta; steamed or fried Phaaras (rice dumplings stuffed with dal filling) with coriander, tamarind and tomato chutneys; Dal Handi with steamed rice served with pure ghee and some salted buttermilk with fresh coriander leaves. The wooden platters covered with lotus leaves, the hard clay bowls and kulhars just enhance the rustic flavour of the food.
- Puri Sabzi from Madhur Milaan
There is no better breakfast in Varanasi other than hot steaming Poori Sabzi or Kachori Sabzi. While poori is soft and fluffy, the kachori is crispy and usually with a filling. A liquid gravy dish comprising of a mix of some potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and chillis, is the perfect accompaniment for the poori and kachori. One of the best places to have a hearty breakfast of Poori Sabzi is Madhur Milaan located on Dashashwamedh Ghat road.
- Thin Crust Pizzas at Pizzeria
With foreigners thronging the streets and ghats of Varanasi, a lot of cafes have opened up keeping the foreign crowd in mind and one of them is Pizzeria which is on Assi Ghat right in front of the area where the evening Ganga Aarti Happens. The thin crusted pizzas and the pastas are a yummy alternative for foreigners, whose stomach doesn’t gel much with the Indian food. Though they have numerous options for an accompanying drink, my recommendation will be a glass of Nana Mint.
- Assortments of Lassi at Baba Lassi
Baba Lassi in the lanes of Bengali tola, is the safest alternative to the much hyped Blue Lassi. Tucked cozily in the by lanes this place has free wifi and has a variety of Lassi options such as Plain Lassi, Kesar Lassi, Mango Lassi, Banana Lassi and many more. Lassi is a popular traditional yogurt-based drink which is a blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes fruit.
These are just some of the food items available in the streets of Varanasi, so go ahead and explore more food items apart from trying out these recommendations.