Amritsar’s Food Trail – Part 1

To continue with the series of food/travel posts from my recent big fat vacation... I had been eating my way around Kumaon and Amritsar and in my earlier post I had written about some of the traditional Kumaoni dishes. So this one is dedicated to Amritsar... And do I have a lot to share! In fact, I’m splitting this post into two. I was in Amritsar for three days and quite frankly that’s not enough to do justice to the wide variety of food available there. I will have to make another trip, in the interest of this blog!
At Kesar da Dhaba
We had travelled from Nainital to Kathgodam to Delhi to Amritsar and most of the journey was by train. So we were exhausted by the time we reached, which was around lunch time. We decided to have our first lunch at Crystal Restaurant on Queens Road, which was at a walking distance from our hotel. The restaurant is quite highly rated on TripAdvisor and we went with high expectations – and everything we ordered met or exceeded them, except the lassi. Our first lassi in Amritsar and it was a resounding failure. However, their Murg Tawa Frontier is delicious and so is the Kheema Naan (naan stuffed with mince). The black Daal (called maa ki daal or mom’s daal, a Punjabi specialty) and Paneer Tikka that we ordered were also very good. Overall, recommended – but steer clear of the lassi!
Murg Tawa Frontier

Kheema Naan

Black Daal
After lunch, we headed to the Golden Temple, the beauty of which is to be seen to be believed. I won’t go into that now and just stick to the ‘food trail’! Since we had had a late lunch, we decided to go for a light dinner and ended up outside one of the most recommended dhabas in Amritsar – Bharawan da Dhaba (near the Town Hall). First up, I was disappointed that it didn’t look like a dhaba at all. Just another crowded restaurant... We ordered paranthas, black daal, jeera rice and lassi to go. Er, did I say light dinner?! Anyway, the food was good (the daal was excellent), but I wouldn’t rave about it. The lassi was a definite improvement over the one we had for lunch, so plus points for Bharawan!

The next day was Sunday and we absolutely had to recover from our sleep-deprived state. So we woke up late and then headed out to lunch to another recommended dhabaKesar da Dhaba (in Passian Chowk). At least this one looked like a dhaba
We were a group of four so we ordered some Paneer kadahi, black daal, sarson da saag (another Punjabi specialty, holding pride of place in many a Bollywood movie!) and individual ‘bread’. I ordered an aloo paratha (always a safe bet in Punjab), the husband ordered makke di roti (made of maize flour) and our friends V & S ordered tandoori rotis. And of course lassi! The towering glasses of lassi came first, topped with heavy cream. This was, hands down, the best lassi we had in Amritsar. The food was excellent as well and I’d definitely recommend Kesar.
Towers of Delicious Lassi!

Behind the scenes at Kesar

We had to work off our heavy lunch so we walked about (and shopped) in the local markets and then headed for a Heritage Walk of Amritsar (more info here). Whilst on our walk, we came across Gurdas Ram – a sweet shop that is supposed to have the best jalebi (wheels of dough, deep fried and then sweetened in sugar syrup). In fact, the shop is called 'Gurdas Ram Jalebiyan wale'!

We watched the master at work and then ordered two plates – burnt our tongues a bit, but there were really delicious jalebis. The gulab jamuns (deep fried balls of khoya dipped in sugar syrup) here are also worth a try. In other words, do not miss!

More on this food trail in a couple of days. Until then, have a Happy Diwali! And say ‘no’ to crackers, for heaven’s sake :) 

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