What to eat in Amritsar? – A comprehensive list.

Amritsar is a food lovers delight and the question keeps popping up on what to eat there. I though I will make a compilation of information we have on it and make this post a one stop resource for anyone looking to explore the food scene of the city.

Harmandir Saheb or Golden Temple

If you have something to share, please share that in comments, and if you are here to take info, then please do read comments too.

The following list is courtesy Rajeev Gulati, I picked it from one of his comments on Facebook.

■ GURDAS RAM JALEBI WALE IN OLD CITY

■ BHRAWAN DA DHABA AT HALL BAZAR FOR VEG THAALI

■ KESAR DA DHABA FOR SLOW COOKED DAAL AND CRISP PARANTHAS

■ AMRITSARI KULCHAS AT…..

1. KULCHA LAND OPP. MK INTERNATIONAL

2. KULWANT DE AMRITSARI KULCHEY NEAR DARBAR SAHEB

3. SUCHHA SINGH AT CHUNGI 

■ BAU DI PANEER BHURJI

■ KANHA SWEETS for PURI-CHOLEY, LASSI & JAGGERY (GUR) HALWA

■ AHUJA (HALL BAZAR) FOR LASSI 

■ NAGINA NUTREY PALAK KULCHA AT CLOTH MARKET NEAR HALL BAZAR 

■ BHIJJEY CHOLEY KULCHA & MATHHI AT CLOTH MARKET NEAR HALL BAZAR 

■ PAL DHABA AT HALL BAZAAR FOR KEEMA NAAN & KEEMA MUTTON

■ PARKASH MEAT AT MAQBOOL ROAD FOR TAWA MUTTON ITEMS

■ SURJIT FOOD PLAZA (TANDOORI CHICKEN) AT LAWRANCE ROAD

■ BEERAN DA DHAABA AT MAJHITHIA ROAD

■ FISH & CHICHEN AT MAKKHAN AT LAWRANCE ROAD

I guess the data shared above is sufficient to sort out any traveler and/or food lover looking for good in this Northern frontier city of India. Feel free to add and read comments.Connect with me on Twitter : @SH_AGer

Where to eat Poori Chhole in Amritsar? – Food Trippin’

Poori Chhole is something which is very close to my heart, for me they are food for my soul. Last year when we went to Amritsar for our food trip, we ate them at Kanha Sweets and couple of morsels inside me, I proclaimed them the best I have had till date. However life is not always about the best, and I am someone who would appreciate some of the lesser known mortals too and give them a fair chance to compete for my taste buds and very valuable appetite.

 
So when a dear friend and food lover Jaideep Riar from Amritsar suggested that we do a poori and kulcha shootout on our trip to Amritsar this year, I jumped on the offer. The idea of trying 3-4 prominent poori waalas in the famed lanes of Amritsar was way too exciting for me to say no to.


Lead by Aman Kahlon and Jaideep Riar, we started our expedition with New Munim Di Hatti on lawrence road. Which unfortunately was a disappointment as they were not even making them puris that morning. They offered to source them from a shop behind theirs but we decided to give it a pass. Apparently I have been told that these guys have opened up a shop in some mall and that is where they sell their stuff now. Not Interested. Seriously.



Poori, Chhole, Aloo ki Subzi at Kanha, Lawrence Road

 

Fresh Pooris at Kanha

 

Next up was Kanha, where the puris were as good as I remember them to be. Served with Chhole and Aloo ki khatti meethi subzi, he still remains the best that is out there. Besides that his Gur waala Halwa is quite divine. Here I also must mention something called Satpura (sat-pura or seven puras). Many of you would confuse it with ‘Japanese samosa’ from Old Delhi, which is a mystery in itself for me. Its something that would look similar to a Puff or patty, however is nothing like it. Well, I have had it only couple of times, and both times at Kanha itself.


Satpura
Gur (Jaggery) ka Halwa
Gur ka Hawla at New Munim di Hatti, Lawrence Road
Basanti Halwa at New Munim hi Hatti, the name is attributed to Color.

 

Then we went to Kanhaiya which is Kanha’s next door neighbour, and his stuff was quite good as well. And like their names, their Poori-Chhole were quite similar to each other too, but Kanha still manages to take an edge for me.


Chhole Poori and Aloo ki Subi at Kahaiya sweets, Lawrence Road
Satpuras in a stack

 

From there we took the long hop all the way to Old City, right in the heart of action at Telephone Exchange area. Now this is a very interesting area, you can find a number of rehris selling kulche, Bhature, Pooris and other vegetarian stuff in the morning and noon time and as they day progresses the place is taken over by vendors catering to carnivore audience.

This expedition of ours was to Shera Poori Waala who sells his stuff from a cart / rehri near the telephone exchange. There is nothing fancy about him like Kanha or kanhaiya, however fresh, thin and crispy pooris served with very decent Chhole and Aloo ki subzi. If you like your stuff with no frills and zero fanciness quotient, then this is the place to be. Plus I am assuming it is not too far from Golden Temple and hence would be most easy for people visiting the city to reach and savor.
Poori Chhole Aloo at Shera Poori Waala, Near Telephone Exchange
Lassi waala next to shera, serving hand churned Lassis.
Another style of eating it, just add bit of thick curd on your chhole
Giant Poori made specially for us by Shera on request of Aman Paaji
Our last stop was a poori waala next to Laungan Devi temple in Rani Da Bagh area. His pooris came with Kaddu (Pumpkin), alooo and chhole. We all felt that his stuff was quite bland, but then I am biased against Poori and Chhole and cannot really call anything bad.
 
Poori, Chhole, Kaddu and Aloo outside Laungan Devi Temple

Poori, Chhole, Kaddu and Aloo outside Laungan Devi Temple
Waiting to be served
Madhup bhai, getting in the fresh stock
So when it comes to eating Pooris in Amritsar – First choice is Kanha for sure, however if you are bored of him or want to try something other than Kanha or do not want to travel to Lawrence Road, then you should head to Shera Poori Waala in Telephone exchange area.


 

Giani Tea Shop – Old School Chai – Amritsar – Food Trippin’

Watching western movies and realizing how strong the cafe and bar culture overseas is, I always try to find places in India which serve tea and provide avenue for locals to ‘hangout’ and enjoy a quick bite. There are not many which I have found yet, however Giani Tea Shop of Amritsar seems to be one such place.The place is on a busy Amritsari road, gets as Old School, Desi and Rustic as it can get. Probably not the cleanest or most well managed place where you would let your foot in, but then some of us are suckers for old world charm and Giani offers that by the truck loads.

 

My first experience with them was when Dr. Aman Kahlon and Jaideep Riar took us there for tea, and as they say fortune favors the brave, at that time of the day the old man of the shop himself was at the helm of the things. And when I say at the helm, I do not mean managing the joint, but the man himself was sitting on the bhatti and making chai.
Special Chai, you can see bits of Pista on top.
A quick word from Aman Paaji to the owner, 5 minutes of waiting, and what we had on our table was probably the best Chai I have ever tasted in my life (and my 4 foodie companions from Delhi also claimed the same). This particular chai was made in Milk only, however still was dark enough to tell us how well it was brewed. Giani ji himself goes to the old part of the town and selects Chai Patti (tea leaves) of few types from tea merchants there and makes his own unique blend. Most of the times when you have tea outside you appreciate a combination of masala, ginger, elaichi, long or dalchini in the chai, however in this cuppa we could appreciate the actual flavors of the tea leaf blend.
Besides that it had some froth over it and was topped with a sprinkling of crushed pista, which was something very unique and new for me and my companions. Not sure if the pista comes from some traditional style of serving tea or Punjabi fixation of making everything rich and grand, but it went surprisingly well with that chai.
Coming to the food on offer, we tried their Omelet with bread, half fried eggs (sunny side up) and Gulab Jamun. Omelet was quite delicious, you cannot go wrong with half fried eggs and Gulab Jamuns were one of the better ones if not the best that we have had. That said, the chutney concoction that they offer with those dishes is what makes them stand out.
Bread Omelet
Their Chutney ‘mix’.
Half fried Eggs (Sunny side up)
We went to the shop again next day and unfortunately it was one of the ‘boys’ making the tea and the owner’s son was sitting at the cash counter barking orders to them boys. We ordered the same tea, which though tasted great by all standards, still lacked the punch of day before. I hope our judgment was not hazed by our knowledge of the fact that his tea was made by a different person. Will have to make more visits in future to establish that fact.
How to eat the half fried eggs, as illustrated by Aman Paaji. Go layer by layer.
Another illustration of how to eat your Half fry.
Then comes the second hand knowledge about the shop from Aman Paaji, who told us that people who come to nearby Ram Bagh, which is the most popular spot in Amritsar for morning walks, make a stop at Giani’s Tea Shop for their Chai, snacks and Gup-Shup sessions with friends. The claim collaborated by Madhup Bhutani who was one of our companions from Delhi, who happened to visit the shop a bit earlier in the morning. He tells us that the busy road in the daytime is actually deserted from traffic in the morning, and is taken over by people hanging out and enjoying their morning cup of tea.
To end it, I would say Giani Tea Shop is definitely and probably the only tea shop that I look forward to visiting again and can recommend it to anyone who appreciates their Chai, the old school way.Location : Queens Road, just before Bhandari Bridge

Where to eat Amritsari Kulcha in Amritsar? – Food Trippin’

The Eatlo gang  lead by Aman and Jaideep Paaji that raided all the Kulcha joints in this post.
As
legendary as Amritsari Kulcha is, it is something that we Dilliwalas
hardly understand. Not many of us know the real taste, texture or even
the idea of one. People confuse it with Stuffed Naan or Parantha all the
time, when the fact is that those two type of breads are completely
different from genuine Amritsari Kulcha.

 

Amritsari
Kulcha’s dough is made in a special way, with layers and then stuffed
with Aloo, Gobhi, Paneer etc. It is flaky, crispy and is served with
Chhole and Khatti chutney waale pyaz. Traditionally no raita or dal is
served with them, which is a common practice in Delhi these days.

 

And
generally speaking most of us have had so many bad versions for those
Kulchas that when we actually land in Amritsar, we eagerly lap up
whatever comes our way and consider it the best the city has to offer.
However with my recent interactions with Jaideep Riar and Aman Kahlon
from Amritsar, I realised that most of the places that get recommended
on Eatlo were the places frequented by tourists (read non-residents or
visitors to the city) and not many Ambarsaris actually go there to get
their fill of kulchas.

 

So
on this trip, we surrendered ourselves to Aman and Jaideep paaji, and
requested them to take charge of our Kulcha expedition and education.
And being the gracious punjabis they are, they helped us in sampling 4
of the top Kulcha makers that Amritsar has to offer.

 

1.
All India Famous – The one we tasted last year and the place from where
we started our expedition this year. This place was Nirvana for me,
this place served the best Amritsari Kulcha I had ever tasted. Amazing
by Delhi and rest of Indian standards for sure, but now I have tasted
better. Much better.

 

Location – Chungi crossing, Maqbool Road
Amritsari Kulche at All India Famous Kulche Wala – Maqbool Road

 

Mix of Chutney and onions – Some also call it ‘Khatta’

 

2.
Harbans Lal Kulche Waala – This is located in a small local market,
which looked kind of deserted to me or maybe we were there quite early
in the day. But then ‘Bansa’ as Harbans is popularly known amongst
locals had no shortage of patrons. And one bite into his kulcha, we knew
why. His Kulcha was considerably thinner, crispier and tastier than the
one we had at All India Famous.

 

Location – Old Market of Anand Avenue
Harbans Lal Kulche Wale – they do have a separate sitting area.
All I see is the swagger of a Amritsari Kulcha
Amtrisari Kulcha at Harbans Lal Kulche Wala

 

Amtrisari Kulcha at Harbans Lal Kulche Wala
3.
Ashoka kulche Waala – Now here Aman Paaji only made us sample a Kulcha
which was off the Menu and is called Paintee waala Kulcha (Rs.35
Kulcha). The Kulcha was stuffed with Gobhi, Aloo, Paneer, Tamatar etc
and though it was delicious, did not feel or taste like a Kulcha. It
reminded me of Chur Chur Naan that we get in Delhi. Aman told us that
today he (Ashokha) got over excited and over-stuff the kulcha. Probably
would try it again when I am there. The Chhole that he serves were much
better than any other outlet that I have tasted.

 

Location : A-Block, Ranjit Avenue (near Park)
Paintee waala special off the menu Kulcha

Regular Amritsari Kulche at Ashoka, notice the difference in shape compared to others.
Amritsari Kulche ready to be served

Most delicious chhole of all the ones we tasted that day.

 

4.
Monu Kulcha Corner – Now this seemed to be a long drive for us, atleast
by the Amritsari standards but then I cannot be a good judge of
distance as I had no clue where I was, or where I was being taken. We
were there on a Saturday and while driving Jaideep Paaji told me that
last Sunday he went to Monu for Kulchas and he was 57th in queue to be
served. Yup, Monu had 56 other orders to cater too, before he could have
served Jaideep Paaji. And once we had our Kulchas infront of us, we
knew why someone who was so off the grid, someone literally out of the
city limits was doing so well for himself. His Kulcha was the crispiest
and tastiest amongst all we had tasted that day. Though the chhole at
Ashoka were a tad better, but then the Kulcha itself made up for
everything.

 

Aman
paaji tells me that Monu used be operate from a place called Chitta
Katra in the walled city and was quite famous there. However now he has
got his own shop and the new location also gives him a better paying
clientele.

 

Location : Take a turn on Loharka Road from NH3, go for 1.5 km approximately and Monu would on your Left hand side.
Amritsari Kulcha at Monu Kulche wala – The Best of the lot.

Amritsari Kulcha at Monu Kulche wala – The Best of the lot.
Amritsari kuchas of a different type

Getting ready to roll

 

Rate list in Punjabi
at Monu Kulche waala

 

Now
I am sure that we have managed to touch only tip of the iceberg when it
comes to Kulchas in Amritsar. However considering that tip was actually
the top shown to us by Dr. Aman Kahlon and Jaideep Riar, both of whom
are local to Amritsar and super foodies in their own right and the fact
that these joints are not on tourist trail and they cater to actual
Ambarsaris, I feel pretty safe in saying that the above mentioned
Kulcha joints are best that Amritsar has to offer.PS : Working on pictures I realized that the rate list at Monu Kulche Wala is written in Gurmukhi (Punjabi) and no English or Hindi translation is there. Do we need more proof that there is nothing about this shop that is geared to cater to tourists or non locals ?? 😛Connect with me on Twitter : @SH_AGer

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Amritsar – Spirituality, Sights, history and of course FOOD – by Siddharth Chatrath

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.

Golden Temple

‘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. 

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. 

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
Phirnis waiting to be served

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.   

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

Yours truly with Surjit Uncle

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.

Take Aways

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 😀
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
 To share your experiences, reviews, recipes, food pictures etc, mail them to shashank@foodenthusiastsofdelhi.com

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