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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Guide to Amritsari Food

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If there is one thing North India is famous for, it is the simply scrumptious food that you get here. Especially in Amritsar, the city which witnesses a lot of footfalls, because of the Golden Temple.

The Durgiana Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Wagah Border and numerous other tourist spots, food is probably one of the many baits that lures people here.

Every lane is dotted with chole-bhature and puri-waalas, this city can surely make you fall in love with the variety of food it has to offer.

Here are a few places you must check out, if you ever go to the city. I bet you will turn into an Amritsari food foodie.

1. Kesar Da Dhaba

It is one dhaba that can truly boast being ‘world famous.’ It was set up before partition. Its foundation was laid by Lt. Lala Kesar Mal and his wife Lt. Smt. Parvati in 1916 in Sheikhupura, Pakistan.

After 1947, it shifted to Amritsar. I still remember the looks of shock, horror and utter disappointment on all my college friends’ faces (in Delhi), when I told them that I had not tried out the food in Kesar Da Dhaba, a mistake that I intend to rectify soon.

It’s known for food that brings out the truly Punjabi flavor, and is famous for its ‘mah di daal.’ The food may be spicy, and drenched in ghee, but the restaurants cannot hold a candle to the way that this food manages to capture the true Punjabi essence.

2. Amritsari famous “Kulche-Chole’

Everytime we have a guest at our place, their first demand is to have the famous Amritsari ‘Kulche-Chole.’ I think every family in Amritsar has had the famous ‘Amritsari Kulche’ (Stuffed with peas, zeera, potatoes, onions, anardana…..).

Infact, there is a shop on the Maqbool road, by this name, and has its Kulche-Chole selling like hot cakes. I once made the mistake of going to this shop on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and the rush made my eyes bug out of their sockets.

But the availability of Kulche-Chole is not limited to this lone shop. Rani-ka-baagh, which Is the tuition hub of the city, has a shop selling these at almost every corner. I have had my share of kulche-chane as brunch before an early tuition class, and boy! aren’t they filling!

3. Brijwasi ki chaat

With two shops in Amritsar, one on Cooper Road (near Hall Bazaar), and the other in Ranjit Avenue (the Gurgaon of Amritsar), Brijwasi is renowned for its chaats, Its ‘papri-chaat’ is every famous.

Other than that, it offers mixed chaat, bhelpuri, golgappas, bun-tikki (Did I forget to mention how delicious that is?) and a lot many other things. If you go to these shops after 6 in the evening, you will find that they have sold out everything. Their customer base is simply astounding!

4. Giani ki Chai

Just opposite Brijwasi on Cooper Road, this shop is the place where all the morning walkers assemble for tea and breakfast. The preparations are simple: omelet, butter toast, samosas, kachouris, pakoras etc, you will find people sitting outside the shop on the pavements and relishing the food with no care in the world.

5. Puri-chane

After Kulche, this city is famous for its puri-chane. One of the to-go places for this is Kanhaiya Sweets on Lawrence Road. Puris, served with chane, aaloo ki subzi, and an assortment of pickles, just writing about this is sending my taste-buds into overdrive.

They have also added a huge dining room-cum-restaurant to the shop, where you can comfortably enjoy the food. There are numerous other shops that sell puri chane and chole-bhature as well.

6. Fine dining in the city

Astoria is a famous restaurant in the city, in Ranjit Avenue. Over the years, this restaurant has shown a solid client base, and a tremendous improvisation in the menu.

It has three floors, the lowest floor being generally used for gatherings and parties, and the middle floor for the routine restaurant.

The newest addition is the top floor, where the live kitchen is. It is called ‘Oka’ or ‘Open Kitchen Astoria’. The quality of food served in the restaurant is great, and the ambience is good as well.

Crystal is another restaurant in the city, and has a chowk named after it. It is now split into two parts, The ground floor has a traditional air to it, and the first floor (which is a rival branch, although owned by the same family) has a more modern environment, The menu is more or less the same in both the restaurants.

So, these were a few places you should, rather must go to, if you visit the holy city. Caution: Going to Amritsar and experiencing the great food might make you experience withdrawal symptoms for its food once you leave the city, but trust me, it’s completely worth it!

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