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Street Foods in Amritsar

This is a story about how I ruined my diet. I had visited the land of the Golden Temple as a diversion from my usual hectic college life. In a fashion designer’s life the yearly show where all the years hard work reflects in the garments that come out on the ramp (in this case this was our college ramp in NIFT). 

Interacting with all the unbelievably slim people in the fashion world and working on sketches till late night had anyway ruined my appetite and thus I had decided to take this opportunity to reduce down the extra kilos that had been following me around since childhood.

Street Foods in Amritsar
Source: Flickr

My personal work involved a lot of traditional embroidery in it so I had gone to Amritsar searching for phulkari embroidered clothes. Well my Amritsar trip was going on just fine and I was actually successful in buying some lovely rolls of Phulkari material along with a couple of traditional Punjabi Joothis. The trouble happened when I was returning from Anand Market in Amritsar with my hands loaded with packets and my stomach grumbling.

Dhaba Food in Amritsar

Usually I am the type of woman who carries digestive biscuits and mineral water in her handbag to deal with situations like this. However this time I had forgotten to carry both and so unable to bear the pangs of hunger any more I decided to scout around for the nearest eateries. From what I gathered of Amritsar the city is full of Dhabas (a type of eatery I seldom visit. 

Anyway I spotted one named Harbans Dhaba near the market and after doing a basic screening of the place (thankfully no flies and mosquitoes were around) I decided to sit and order.

Dhabas in Amritsar

I ordered stuffed Kulcha as according to my Delhi experience it’s a kind of baked roti with pickle and dal as its companions. My Kulcha when it arrived was stuffed with Cauliflowers, potatoes, tomatoes and cottage cheese and had a huge blob of butter sitting on it. There was also a plate of delicious looking Chole on the side. “I will have to diet for months to compensate” I thought as I took a bite scraping away as much butter I could.

I still remember the explosion of flavors inside my mouth…the crispy and flaxy outer layers of Kulcha mixed with the spicy pepper chilly anardana infused veggie filling all toped up with butter and tangerine and jaggery infused perfectly cooked chole. That was all it took to break my dieting resolutions…just one bite. I devoured two full Kulchas along with the full bowl of chole. After paying the bill (just 35 bucks...can you believe it!!!) quickly asked the owner the place where I could get some decent sweets. I was staying over at a friend’s place in Amritsar and needed to take back some goodies for them.

I was directed to a place called 1916 Kesar ka Dhaba which looked as old as it proclaimed to be. After ordering a kilo each of Rasmala (small round balls of cream cheese dropped in yellow malai) and gajar ka halwa to be packed, I sat down quietly waiting for the dhaba boy to finish packing my stuff. After some time I couldn’t resist the delicious aromas wafting from inside the shop and the sight of people all around me munching on jalebi, gulab jamun and rabri further weakened my resolve. Guiltily I ordered a small bowl of Phirni and it was awesome with saffron and kesar delicately flavoring the milky white liquid.

Inside a Dhaba in Amritsar

“Go to Katra Ahluwalia area beta” said the old wizened Sardarji sitting at the cash counter when I went to pay my bill. “Do visit the Gurudas Ram Jalebiwala there…they serve the best Jalebis in town”. Sardarji further went on to explain that for the typical Amritsar public munching on jalebis is a way of life. Jalebis are munched with chai in the morning then with nashtha /breakfast and again in the evening with golden kachoris as a snack. I was already stuffed to my neck with all the Phirni that I had consumed so I decided to keep the Gurudas Ram Jalebiwala trip for my next visit to Amritsar!!

Best Places for Vegetarian Food in Amritsar

After handing over the sweet packets to my friends and family, I decided to quiz them about the best food joints in this pilgrim town. Amritsar is so obviously a food lover’s paradise. There are restaurants, dhabas and mithaiwalas here in almost every street. It must get difficult to choose I thought while scouting around for the best vegetarian restaurant or the best non vegetarian joint or the shop selling the most delicious mithai. It turns out that my friend’s mom had a lot of information to contribute.

Lassi in Amritsar

  • All India Famous Kulche Wala on the well Known Maqbool Road is famous for its butter Kulchas, Mooli Parantha and Masala Chole

  • Ashoka Kulche Waala at A Block on Ranjit Avenue is famous for its stuffed vegetable Paintee waala Kulcha and Chur-Chur Naan

  • Monu Kulcha Corner near Loharka Road on the NH3 serves the best butter Kulcha in Amritsar with super delicious tangy sweet Pyaaz Chutney

  • Kanha’s on Lawrence road serves lip smackingly delicious Gur Halwa and Alu-Puri. This place is jam packed on Sundays an Amritsar localites target this joint for their Sunday brunch,

  • Bharawan da Dhaba 1917 near Amritsar Town Hall is famous for its Kaali Daal which is still sold for the unbelievable price of Rs 5/- per bowl.

  • Kanhayas on Phoolanwala Road is well known all over Amritsar for its 16 different varieties of Paranthas (all topped with enormous amounts of butter) and its Dal Makhani.
Remember, these are all places that are off the usual tourist circuit and cater to Amritsar locals. The menu will usually be in Gurmukhi with no translations. Just ask the friendly waiters about the menu and they will fully explain it to you. The dhabas and small joints in Amritsar are the best as they still retain the flavors and smells of traditional full bodied cooking style of Amritsar.

Best Non Vegetarian Joints in Amritsar

By this time I was a total fan of Amritsar food and my dieting plans were blown to smithereens. I will make it up by starving myself once I reach Delhi I promised myself as I had Keema Naan and pickle along with a tall glass of delicious Lassi at Pal da Dhaba at Ananad Market. 

This was just Breakfast at 10 A.M and the tiny dhaba was filled with hearty sardars who munched their way to food heaven.  The next 3- 4 hours were spent by some more scouting around the Amritsar local markets for dupattas and embroidered cloth rolls and then me and my friend decided to have a non vegetarian lunch.

Non Vegetarian Food in Amritsar

The first stop for lunch was at Parkash da Dhaba in Central Chowk Amritsar. Plain Kulcha and mutton curry was what my friend ordered and I had to admit that it was one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted. The place was quite noisy and bustling but the beautiful kirtans wafting in from Harmandar Sahib Gurudwara in the background quite made up for it.

The mutton curry of Parkash Dhaba is its signature dish and is sold off between 1P.M to 6P.M every day. Slow cooked on simmer with home ground spice, curd, tomato, baby onion and green chili, this dish has a lovely peppery and tangy taste to it. Priced very modestly at Rs 55/- per plate the dish has a clientele ranging from ministers to rickshaw pullers as claimed by Naresh Singh who is currently running this 54 year old shop.

We headed off to Makhan Da Dhaba on Lawrence Road (our 2nd stop for our extended lunch) and sampled the most astounding Amritsari Machli I had ever tasted. I have been to many food festivals in Delhi but none of the versions of the popular Amritsari Machli served there equals the full bodied flavors of the fish dish created by the small local dhaba.

The Amritsari Fish at Makhan’s can beat Sanjeev Kapoor’s Recipe for the same. The fish is light fried with egg and besan batter and is quite dry and not oily. The succulent white meat of the fish is flavored with ajwain.

Tandoori Chicken in Amritsar

My soul craved more but my stomach as full so I contented myself by researching on the other great places to eat non vegetarian food in Amritsar.

  • Tandoori Chicken at Beera Chicken on Majitha Road is reportedly the best in whole of Amritsar though its best to consume it as a takeaway option because of the dearth of sitting places inside.

  • Nehru Shopping Complex has Surjit Food Plaza which serves succulent mutton tikkas, gilawati kebabs and other delicious non vegetarian dishes.

  • Kulcha Land on Ranjit Avenue has delicious Mutton Keema, egg stuffed and fiery chicken Kulchas which are a complete meal in themselves.

  • Pai da Dhaba in Hathi Gate Amritsar has great Keema Kaleji, Chicken Tikka and Mutton Kharoda.

Best Places for Street Snacks in Amritsar

As you must have guessed by now people in Amritsar are die hard foodies. The street snacks of Amritsar like chole Bhature, Dahi Bhalla, Kachori, Gol Gappa and Papdi Chaat etc are very famous so I decided to prepare a list of the best places you can target for lip smacking street snacks.

Street Snacks of Amritsar

  • Brijwasi Chat Wale who sits opposite Bhandari Bridge and near Ranjit Avenue C Block Market serves amazing Papdi Chaat, Golgappa, Kachori and Samosa Chaat and Dahi Bhalla. His stall is always packed and everything is sold-out by 6.30 P.M.
  • Munim Di Hatti which is on Lawrence Road Amritsar serves delicious Poori, hot Malpuwa and Phirni. They also serve mouth watering Aloo chaat and Churmur.
  • Giani Tea Stall situated near Bhandari Bridge serves 10 variations of omelets including the famous half fried egg and masala chai.
  • Popular Bakery on Queen’s Road serves tasty veg and non veg puffs and patties. Be sure to arrive early as the stock sells out by 7.00 P.M
  • Kanha near Govt Medical College serves Poori, Sabzi and amazing Gur ka Halwa. The Samosa and Kachori there is very famous.

  • Kishan Lal Tikkiwala in Anand Bazaar serves mouth watering varieties of Tikki made of Aloo, paneer, gobhi etc. The Gol-Gappa over there is quite famous.

Sweets in Amritsar

Like h best food of Amritsar s served in Dhabas and street stalls, the best sweets too are served in small corner shops. Though the shops are small and non descript the sweets they serve will beat the fanciest desserts of five star restaurants.

Sweets in Amritsar

Here is a list of all the sweet shops you should look out for.

  • Gurudas Ram Jalebian Wala was established in 1955: Warm golden Jalebis of this small shop are what makes itfamous all over Amritsar.

  • Bansal Sweets hails back to 1981 and makes amazing Pinni and Gulab Jamuns and Ladoos. The Panjiri (Amritsar special) made with desi ghee and dry fruit is another sociality.

  • Ahuja Sweets is the best place to go to for creamy cold Lassi with a delicious dollop of fresh cream on top.

  • Kanha Sweets will charm you with their famous Gajar ka Halwa and the delicious Patisas.

  • Goenka Sweets is well known for its milk cake, sandesh and badam halwa.

  • Novelty Sweets serves mouth watering Fruit cream and Rasmalai.
At the end of it all I grew a little pensive thinking that my unplanned food tryst with Amritsar was now at an end. The delicious tastes of all the fabulous dishes I had tasted will remain in my memory forever.

Also Read:
Food in Amritsar
| Bakeries in Amritsar | Dhabas in Amritsar | Fast Food Options in Amritsar | Cafes in Amritsar | CCD in Amritsar | Chinese Restaurants in Amritsar | Ice Cream Parlors in Amritsar | South Indian Restaurants in Amritsar | Special Cuisines of Amritsar | Sweet Corners in Amritsar

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