In the final episode of the two part Indore Food Tour series, we bring you our memorable gastronomic explorations from Chappan Dukaan and Sarafa Bazaar in Indore, the commercial capital of central India and the city of foodies. Chappan Dukan is a lane that has 56 different eateries servion the other hand is Indore’s most prominent jewelry market that transforms into a vegetarian food haven after sundown. With the closing of the jewelry market at around 8 pm, rows of street food vendors springs up on the lane with their eclectic mix of scrumptious vegetarian snacks. This place is ideal for nocturnal culinary escapade as it remains busy till 2 am a night. Locals and visitors throng these two places to satiate their ravenous street food cravings. Here is a compilation of the most popular eateries that boasts of the substantial footfall due to their delectable and exciting fares.
Let’s start with eateries at Chappan Dukan street. Our first stop here was the Vijay Chat House. We tried two of their most popular snacks, the Batla Kachori and Khopra Patties. The former is a peas stuffed kachori while the latter one is a one of its kind snacks that is available only at Vijay Chaat House in the whole of Indore. The coconut stuffed round potato patties were crisp and moreish. The Batla kachoris was so well fried that each and every layer of these flattened dough balls were perfectly cooked. They served it as a Chaat which was filling and satisfying. Since the owners are from Gujarat, the shop also serves some of the popular Gujrati snacks like the Khaman dhokla etc.
The second stop here was Madhuram Sweets whose Shikanji is well known. This one is not at all, not even remotely, the Shikanji that we are familiar with i.e. the refreshing spiced lemonade. Here it refers to a luscious milk drink made with Rabri, buttermilk,dry fruits and spices. This signature drink was rich and smooth but a way too sweet.
Our third halt was Johnny Hot Dog that has become a household name in the city. It is hugely popular with the locals, especially the young crowd who adore its delectably affordable snacks like Hotdogs, Egg Benjo etc. We had ordered their bestseller, the Egg benjo and Veg Hot dog. The former is a simple yet interesting dish comprising of buns stuffed with a fluffy omelette. The use of desi ghee in its preparation elevated its taste to a different dimension. The veg hot dog was a tasty vegetarian alternative to the Egg Benjo. Moreover the place was quite neat and hygienic. We recommend this place for its yummy snacks that are modest yet toothsome.
As evening ushered in, we arrived at Sarafa bazaar, Indore’s famed food hub. It is a jewelry market by the daytime that transforms into a food haven by late evening. Innumerable vendors throng the place with their attractive and eclectic spread. And the culinary fiesta goes on till 2 am in the morning. As you enter the street, the sight and the aroma captivates your senses and you are bound to forget everything but the food and the carnival around you.
We began our binge from the iconic Joshi ke Dahi Vade whose owner Joshi Ji was no less than a sorcerer whose magic wasn’t just limited to the food that he served but the amusing tricks that he performed with them and his endearing talks with the customers. He has mastered this incredible skill of flinging the Dahi Vada plates into the air and catching it back without spilling out a drop and also sprinkling five different spices separately in just a single pinch. Furthermore he is so eloquent and affectionate that his sweet talks just wins your heart. The Moong dal Dahi vada that are fondly known as Flying Dahi Vadas was quite satisfying, especially the curd which was super smooth and luscious. It is an indispensable food destination of Indore.
From there we went on to try the Indore famous Bhutte ki Kees and Garadu from the stall named A-1 Garadu. This place is hugely famous for these two playful treats. Butte ki khees is a savoury corn based delicacy that has a Halwa like texture. While the Garadu was a zesty, deep fried snacks made of Yam chunks. We tried them both for the first time and loved them. The fun part of the eating experience here was the light-hearted interaction with the owner of the stall Mr. B.C. Agarwal, who is a septuagenarian. His vigour at such age was both amazing and inspiring. In an amusing candour he told us about the his business, his success and his nocturnal lifestyle. Like Mr. Joshi, he too is a culinary celebrity of the Indore street food scene.
Our next food stop was Sawariya ke Khichdi food stall whose Sabudana kichdi is very famous among the locals. The mildly spiced Sago khichdi along with the toppings of spicy sev was quite appetising. They also sell the zesty savoury snacks like peanuts chat, banana chips, potato wafers etc.
Next was time for some sweets and so we visited the Jai Bhole Jalebi Bhandar to relish the humongous Jaleba which is nothing but an extra large, saffron flavoured Jalebi that was served with an equally decadent Rabri. We thoroughly loved the contrast of crisp hot jaleba with chilled Rabri.
After all those gluttony we checked on Jai Bhole Soda Shop gulp down a glassful of the digestive concoction so that we could make some room for few more delicacies. The fizzy lemon soda that we had ordered got extra frothy when the vendor dissolved some spice mix into the lemon soda. The whole act was fun but due to the effervescence, a lot of soda got spilled out. So when you go to try it make sure that you drink half the content of the glass so that most of the fizz stays in the empty portion.
From there we headed to Nima Kulfi, a highly recommended place at Sarafa bazar. Apart from the sensational falooda kulfi, the genial owner all decked up in gold ornaments was a sight to behold. We did confuse him for a jewelry trader but soon got to know that gold ornaments were his passion so he wears them. Like the owner, Nema Ji, the falooda kulfi was also an flamboyant delicacy.
Our penultimate halt was Naveen Coconut Crush stall where we tried the healthy drink coconut crush. The milky concoction had refreshingly pleasant taste that came from the blend of coconut water and tender coconut flesh. The vendor informed us that the coconut were sourced from Bangalore. It was a perfect health drink that restored the mineral balance in the body and energised us. We wrapped up the food trail with a brilliant Paan from Anna Pan Shop.
The gastronomic escapade at Indore was quite special for many reasons, the significant ones being the unusual yet delectable street food, the warm and jovial food vendors, the glorious success stories and the clean, hygienic and sustainable food practices in many of the eateries.