Amritsar : the land of the sacred Harmandir Sahib, of the remnants of the Indo-pak partition and of the ancient rich heritage of the pre-partition era.
Also the land of lip smacking Punjabi food! From the delectable Amritsari Kulchas to Ambarsari papad. From the tangy Aam papads to the authentic Dal wadiyan, Amritsar is a food haven!
On a recent trip, I decided to do a quick Food trail in Amritsar and jot down some of my favorite food joints.
Of course first and foremost, there is the Guru Ka Langar at the Golden temple. Simple, yet delectable meals served at the community hall for any and everyone.
Apart from this, there are scores of options: From Dhaabas to fine dining, to chaat stalls to roadside sweetmeat shops,this city has it all.
Foodies need to just be sure of where to go at what time. Chances are that you might enter a shop and find everything sold out! (Yes,it happened with me)
If you plan to visit Amritsar soon,here’s a quick guide to satisfy your hunger pangs:
1. Kesar Da Dhaba: Veg food for the soul.
The battery rickshaw walah whizzes past the bustling market area and enters tiny, narrow lanes as I hold on tightly. I am sure he has heard it right. I opened my mouth to say “Kesa…” and he gave me a “I-Know-it-all” expression,making me question myself.”Did I actually look starved?”
10 later I am seated in a crowded Dhaaba,with no chairs. Just long benches and tables and about 3-4 waiters scurrying across one table to another, serving Paranthas dripping with desi ghee.
Welcome to Kesar Da Dhaba: one of Amritsar’s oldest vegetarian Dhaaba, nestled in the narrow lanes where cars can’t go.
The waiter takes down my order and I wait for my ghee laden Missi roti and Rajma. A few minutes later, he proudly presents the Missi Roti, as he holds it in his hand and crushes it slightly. (This is something my granny used to do) I smile,as I dig into pure bliss.
Absolutely lip smacking food! The must haves are: the thick Malai Lassi, The Laccha Parantha, Dal Makhani which is simmered overnight in a huge cauldron.
You have options of ordering vegetables and dals in Full or Half, depending on your appetite.
Kesar also offers a variety of desserts. Rabdi, Matka Kulfi, Rasmalai, Gulab jamun were all instant hits with me.
Verdict: Highly Highly recommended for a sumptuous lunch or dinner.
Address: Town Hall, Near Telephone Exchange, Shastri Market, Amritsar
2. Kanhaiya Sweets: For that perfect Puri-Aloo
It was a cold, winter morning and my breakfast destination was Kanhaiya Sweets on Lawrence road. Usually a lot of us are skeptical of having fried puris early in the morning. But one bite into this meal and you are sure to change your mind.
They serve two huge puris with “launji” and Chole.
Launji is a tangy, sweet and sour version of Aloo Ki sabzi. Extremely unique and delicious! The vegetables are refilled in your thali and you can ask for more puris, because none can have just two!
Absolutely recommended as an ideal Breakfast option, especially in winters.
Address: Shop 1, Opposite Bijli Pehalwan Mandir, Lawrence Road, White Avenue, Amritsar.
3.Lubhaya Ram Aam Papad wala : for the tangiest Aam papads.
He hasn’t even started shop and I wait outside DAV college on Lawrence road. His famed Aam papads compel people from all over to order his wares from far and wide. He makes me taste all the varieties from huge, transparent jars and quickly removes boxes of the selected ones. He has a variety to choose from: Sweet, tangy and filled with Masala.
Then hands me his business card, incase I wish to order some in Mumbai and he can courier me the order!
Address: Shop A 1,Arya Samaj Mandir Building, Lawrence Road, Amritsar.
4. Brijwasi Chaat: for the best tikki you will have in a long time.
Its a rare thing to see the proprietor dishing out each and every plate of Chaat. At Brijwasis you will find him doing so. In control of all the ingredients, meticulously mixing and preparing each plate.
Enter this extremely popular chat shop at 8 ish at night and you will find them winding up! Ordered a Papdi Chaat, Bhalla Chaat, A plate of Tikkis and Golgappe.
The tikkis are delightful. Its not just the good old potato, but a combination of peas, daal and spices that gives it its crispiness.
Must haves: Tikki and Golgappe. The mix in the Golgappas is sinful.
Address: Crystal Chowk, Cooper Road, INA Colony, Amritsar.
5. Crystal: For a fine dining experience.
You really wouldn’t want a fine dining experience in a city that offers so many roadside treats. But if you still want a luxury restaurant experience, there is Crystal.
Not too high on the Desi ghee and oil and got a variety of Vegetarian and Non vegetarian appetizers and main course dishes.
Ideally, I wouldn’t be keen to eat here when there are so many roadside options!
Address: Crystal Chowk, Queens Road, INA Colony, Amritsar
6. Kulcha land: For crispy Amritsari Kulchas
Situated in Ranjit Avenue, opposite MK Hotel, this place serves the quintessential Amritsari Kulcha with copious amounts of white butter,tangy chutney and Chole.
With a simple,no flair menu, it serves three types of Kulchas: Masala, paneer and the traditional Amritsari Kulcha.
What differentiates it from the others is the spicy filling and the crispiness of the Kulchas.
Address: Opposite M.K Hotel, District Shopping Centre, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar
7. Roadside sweet shop recommendations:
DO NOT MISS these roadside mithai walah shops to satisfy your sweet tooth.
a. Flat Gulab Jamuns: Sharma Sweets.
Hidden in a lane opposite DAV college, off Lawrence road, is a small shop that specializes in flat Gulab jamuns. Buy a piping hot pair of Gulab Jamuns at Rs. 20 and thank me later!
b. Gurdas Ram Jalebi wala
Located in the bustling Town Hall, serving crispy Jalebis, made in pure Desi Ghee. Be prepared to bite into these delectable Jalebis and go straight to heaven and back!
Have any food recommendations in Amritsar?Or have you tried any of these places? Do let me know in the comments.