The colours and flavours of India are best seen in Varanasi or Banaras. While the Ganga fills the soul with piety, the food served around the holy river and the city is a source of eternal joy... as pulsating and as lingering as the mood of the place. Varanasi is one joyride of an experience, especially its food.
To begin with, everything that's vegan is cooked in pure ghee of the finest quality. The vegetarian dishes served in Varanasi are high on taste. The streets are lined with zillions of eateries which serve or have been serving traditional food for years. Fast food is an inevitable part of Varanasi culture. Hot crispy samosas and kachoris beckon people as they walk down the streets. Aloo tikki, paratha, papdi chaat and pani poori are some of the very popular chaats folks go for, here.
Each joint has something special, something of its own to serve those who come in to dine. It's a varied spread. And there's a novelty about each special item served in each different eatery.
Varanasi owes its food flavours to the influences of Bengal and Bihar. It's a heavenly combination of all that's sweet, spicy, and tangy. Varanasi has a weakness for milk-based goodies. Magdal, a Varanasi special made with moong dal and urad dal flour and pure ghee, the soul-liberating laddoo and kheer mohan are some among Varanasi's countless sweet savouries.
The poori-sabsi is the hottest-selling breakfast food here. No trip to Varanasi is complete without a bite of the slurpy jilebis floating in sugar syrup or a cardamom-flavoured drink of lazzi. The place is home to countless lazzi bars. Varanasi sells over 75 different types and flavours of lazzi to give some cool to weary wanderers.
The thandai, the favourite drink of Kasi Viswanath, as the local lore goes, is a hot favourite of all who come in to Varanasi. It's an exotic drink made with nuts and almonds, rose petals, water melon and other ingredients.
Here's how to make a Banarasi ghugni.