I’m adding here nine local food you must have in Varanasi or Banaras or Kashi (I prefer Banaras). During my six days visit in November 2016, I ate eight of them, and have one of the best food memories.
Local Food in Varanasi
For the record, I’ll be visiting the city again, not for exploring Ghats, but to have these local cuisines of Varanasi, again.
To repeat this Food Trail of Banaras and have a tasty memory for lifetime, you should be at Assi Ghat and Thatheri Gali.
Deena Chat Bhandar, Sri Ram Sweets, Pahalwan Lassi and Kashi Tea Stall are few popular names to ask for.
Sadly, two of the three dedicated Kachauri shops are closed now. They have joined the clothing business, but there is still one remaining.
The Kachauri served here is not that unique (by look), but the ingredients they serve it with, makes it taste totally different, and yummy.
The Kachauri Gali is located inside the old Kashi streets, near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. You can easily notice the shop, as there’s just one left and is mostly crowded in the operating hours.
Best Time to Get – before 10:30AM
Cost – 14INR for Two Piece
Needless to say, Paan is the centre of Varanasi. In the old city located around those 87 different ghats, there are hundreds of Paan shops.
To be fair, the paan here is no different than what you can get in other North-West part of India, but in Varanasi, Paan is part of the culture.
I never saw a single local person discussing about demonetisation and other political affairs without having a Paan.
FYI, the total number of ghats in Varanasi is 87 and it’s recommended to visit each of them. The best way is to walk, but you can also hire a boat. Watch this video for a glimpse!
Best Time to Get – from 6:00AM till 10:00PM
Cost – 10-20INR
As soon as you’re done eating those delicious Kachauris (I always ate two places), the shop owner will ask you to have Jalebi.
The Jalebi of Varanasi, is nothing special, but you should have it to taste and be a judge.
Best Time to Get – before 11:00AM
Cost – 10-20INR
To find the best Malaiyo of Varanasi, you’ve to walk into the streets of Old Kashi. There are many local sellers and established shops with the Foam Desert of Banaras. It is available only during winters and only available in Varanasi.
Malaiyo is another local food which you shouldn’t be missing. They serve it with the butter milk which doubles the taste.
I had Malaiyo for three days, at four different shops. The picture in frame is where you’ll get the best Malaiyo of Varanasi.
Availability hours – before 11:00AM
Cost – 14INR for one Kullad
Everyone is asking for the Blue Lassi and popular shop to have one is at Pahalwan Lassi on the road to BHU. To be frank, I didn’t try the Lassi here, as I was short on cash.
Lassi is available in different flavours and at almost every restaurant. It’s easily available and you shouldn’t miss it. For added fun and a lifetime Banaras memory, ask for the Bhang Lassi!
Availability hours – 10:00AM to 9:00PM
Cost – 20+INR per glass
#6 Gol Gappe at Assi Ghat
During my six days at Assi Ghat, I saw an old timer, running this Gol Gappe shop. He lives inside the shop, and works at the same.
The speed of serving is slow, but the taste is worth the wait. The shop is located right at the Assi Choraha and I always saw two-three people enjoying these Puchka, Gol Gappe, Pani Patashi, or whatever you prefer calling.
Available hours – 9:00AM to 6-7:00PM
Cost – 10INR for 8-10 Gol Gappe
#7 Tea at Kashi Stall
There are two feature things about tea at Kashi Stall, location, Assi Ghat. First, they use old stove which uses Coal as the fuel. Second, they serve it in the Kullad!
If you haven’t had a tea made using Coal as fuel and served in Kullad, then you’re missing one good tea in life. Considering the fact that India is moving towards modernisation, finding this combination is getting rare these days.
Even in Varanasi, this is the only shop where I found this rocking combination of tea. It will cost you 10INR for a Kullad.
Available hours – stall opens at 5:30AM till 7:30PM
Cost – 10INR per Kullad
#8 Kachauri Sabzi
This is another special street food of Varanasi, available only in morning hours. Local people and the tourists have this for breakfast every day and it costs about 20-30INR per plate, including four Kachauri and Sabzi.
Sabzi’s ingredients are mostly potatoes, but they mix other vegetables to make it taste even better. The Kachauri in the package here is a different and tastier version of the Poori.
Every time I called it Poori Sabzi, the Banarasi people corrected me to call it Kachauri Sabzi.
Available hours – before 10:30-11:00AM
Cost – 20-30INR per plate
#9 Kaju Gazak
A friend of mine recommended to have Kaju Gazak of Sri Ram Sweets, located at Kedar Bazar at Chauki Ghat, but I couldn’t have it.
You shouldn’t repeat my mistake and must have it. I’ll be definitely trying it in my next visit.
Available hours – 8AM to 9PM
This was my Food Trail in Varanasi, and each of these are my favourite memories of the oldest town in our country.
Mark Twain once quoted,
Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.
If I was him, I would have quoted this for the local cuisine of Varanasi!
If you’re a travelling foodie, then Varanasi should be added to the list, immediately.
Ok, now, what all I’ve missed?