As a kid reading those history books I often used to wonder how life would have been at the time when we were governed by the British Raj. As a Dilliwala myself have seen Delhi grow with time. Almost giving away that old world feel except for the some parts which are still very much intact. But somewhere within me I knew there’s still a city which could give me that feel of being very much back there in the history. That’s when one day I came across this city of Amritsar.Now when they say Golden Temple is a must, believe it. Because to start the quest for something, in our case FOOD, you should always be thankful to the all mighty. Now when you step out of this place, the distance from history becomes all the more obvious as you're thrown into the crazy hustle-bustle of Amritsar. Every city has its buzz and old Amritsar sounds like an old fridge. You would find hundred’s of Bajaj eight-seaters lined up just outside. Just mention FOOD and they would take you places.
‘Amritsar’ literally a pool of nectar derived its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the fabulous Golden Temple. For first time visitors it can easily seem like an over-sized version of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk. The description that would really hold true in the later part of this blog.
For the start first things first – Start with a glass of Lassi.
1) Ahuja Lassi shop located near Hindu mahasabha College serves the best lassi in the country. Started in 1955 and since then all of the visitors are treated to this lassi. Also highly recommended by the real food enthusiasts Rocky and Mayur ( HOMP )without whom I would have never known about this place. Sound like an award speech but am ok with that.
2) Kesar Da Dhaba, Chowk Passion I have to say this and I mean it. If you been to Amritsar and has never visited this place just because someone told you Bharavan or Brothers served much better don’t call yourself Foodies. I highly recommend this place. Kesar Da Dhaba is run by fourth generation and many of the recipes have been passed down in the family since 1916. Never would you find a open fronted kitchen (YES you read that correctly). If you don’t believe me just pay a visit once. Kesar waali Daal, Lachha Paranthas, Stuffed Paranthas, Paneer Bhurji, Palak Paneer on menu welcomes you to this legendary dhaba. Not to forget Phirnis and Gulab Jamun. You can never ever afford to miss this. Just FYI, be prepared to walk or take a rickshaw from outside Golden Temple complex for Rs.10-15.
|Menu at Kesar Dhabha|
|Parantha Thali at Kesar Da Dhabha|
3) Bharavan , Brother’s or Bade Bhai ka Brothers Am not bothered which one came first. I don’t recommend this place. I know many of you would disagree but that is fine. Famous for its Amritsari Kulcha, Channa Masala and Daal. Mostly thronged by tourists due to prominent location, which is visible as you return from Golden Temple.
|Phirnis waiting to be served|
4) All India Famous Amritsari Kulcha, Maqbool Road As the name suggests by far and away the tastiest Kulcha ever tasted. Kulcha which has filling of potatoes mixed with sliced onions, red and green chillies. Served with dark, imli flavoured chana and piquant salad. No better place to have Amritsari Kulcha than this.
5) Beera Chicken House, Majitha Road I know many of you would have your reservations after visiting Golden Temple not to have chicken that day. But make it a point you finish with Vegetarian joints on one day and the other day you chance upon the Tandoori Chicken served by Beera.
6 ) Surjit Food Plaza, Lawrence Road Mr.Surjit Singh is by far the most courteous owner I have ever met . World famous eating joint, recommended by Lonely Planet Publications, BBC , World Cafe Asia, Jet Airways , Kingfisher, and many others. Surjit Food Plaza is famous for almost all its dishes, but Tandoori chicken and Amritsari Fish are beyond comparison. And every conversation with the owner, truly is an experience. Just tell him you have come from all the way from Delhi and he would be like “Ki khaoge mere bacheyo, pehle dasso Non Veg ya Veg? Tuhannu pehlan khilande ne Machi malai machi te for Veg Haryali Paneer tikka”. He has loads of albums with him showing famous celebrities who have visited this place. He would have his camera ready for the click every time.
|No explanation needed.|
|Fish @ Surjit's|
7) Golden Temple When we are talking FOOD how could we not mention the Guru Ka Langar served here. Guru Arjan Dev decreed that none of his people in the city should ever have to go to bed hungry and thus began the tradition of Langar (free food). The money is provided by devotees and most cooks are volunteers. It is strongly recommended you stop here for a langar. The most satisfying meal you can have.
|Yours truly with Surjit Uncle.|
8) Ujagar Singh for Varian and Papad And for your takeaways from Amritsar don’t forget to buy some Variya and Papad as well. Some of your dear ones would be happy with these goodies. You can get a wide variety of same.
9) Puni Lal Aam Papad Lawrence Road :- Now the girls would love this. Aam Papad topped with Lemon Juice, Red Chilli powder and Black Salt. This makes a deadly combination. Highly Recommended!!!
|Again, no introduction needed :D|
|The spiced up Aam Padad.|
Now would be sharing with you some of the other famous joints as well shared by our fellow FEDs from Amritsar. Here I would like to specially thank Jaideep Riar paaji.
10) Kundan Dhaba Near Railway Station.
11) Veg Pakoras outside Hall Gate or Gandhi Gate where railway over bridge starts.
12) Kanha Sweets Lawrence Road famous for Puri Launji Thalis and Halwa of all types.
13) Prakash Meat, Maqbool Road
14) Brijwasi Chaat, C Block Ranjit Avenue
If you plan on visiting Amritsar, a 2-3 days trip is essential to sample all the delights it has to offer, both as a tourist and as a foodie.
PS : Will keep modifying and adding to list as new recommendation and information keeps coming in.
Text & Pictures by Siddharth Chatrath
Edited by Shashank Aggarwal
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