Go on a culinary treasure hunt in Jaipur.
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It is inevitable that you don’t think of the mighty Hawa Mahal and Amer Fort at the mention of Jaipur. The ‘Pink City’ is a major gateway city to Rajasthan making it the perfect pit stop to sample local fare. But be warned, we’ll be moving away from the evergreen dal baati churma, lal maas and ker sangri. One of the biggest benefits of being a tourist-friendly destination is that you can sample these classic dishes at any eatery—from the smallest to the posh restaurant.

In our search for more local foods, we enlisted the help of Tejveer Singh, owner of Suroth House, a government approved bread-and-breakfast. He and his wife, Nidhi, also conduct cooking classes for tourists. For Singh, Jaipur is a vibrant city known for its festivals, but it also has amazing food waiting to be discovered. “Jaipur has unique food specialties and they are very distinct in their taste and flavours. A lot of the dishes have common names across the state, but the style of preparation and taste varies,” he says. Something as common as chai, kachori and even pakodas also have interesting differences and have gained popularity due to the specific vendors who have perfected the varied styles.

Here are some of his recommended places:

Sampat Namkeen Bhandar, Kishanpole Bazar
Whether it is for breakfast or evening snacks the deep fried dumpling-style kachori has a cult status in Rajasthan. While Singh recommends the hing dal kachori served with curd, populist tastes speak very highly of their aloo kachori as well. The latter is made using unpeeled boiled potatoes that has become a trademark for them. “The great fact about them is that they have been in the business for generations ensuring that the quality, taste and flavour never changes. It is one of the biggest reasons why these kachoris are in such high demand among customers,” says Singh.

Golcha Cinema, Chaura Rasta
“Apart from being one of the oldest cinemas in Jaipur, Golcha Cinema has another hidden gem, the samosa. It is very famous among people of Jaipur and the good thing is that it is available to non-movie goers as well,” says Singh. It is an established fact that old cinema theatres (especially the single screen ones) serve the best samosas at their food counters. In Jaipur, locals including Singh, swear by the samosa at Golcha Cinema. So, if you want to catch a blockbuster in Jaipur, make a beeline for the canteen to sample the delicious samosa.

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(Also Read: Samosa fillings beyond potatoes)

Gulab Ji Chai Wala, MI Road
If you are a tea lover, this place is a must-visit in Jaipur. With more than half a century behind them, the legendary Gulab Ji Chai Wala has garnered loyal patronage from the entire city, including the royal family for serving the best tea in the city. “The place is famous for its amazing chai with bun maska, a bun sliced in two and fully loaded with butter,” Singh elucidates on the highlight of the place.

Sahu Chai Wala, Chaura Rasta
If Gulab Ji Chai Wala has a loyal following, so does Sahu Chai Wala. The cardamom-infused masala chai brings everyone from the common man to celebrities to the tea stall. “Even chief minister of the state, Vasundhara Raje, has enjoyed a cup of chai at Sahu,” says Singh.

(Also Read: Facts, Folklores and Fables of the Great Indian Railways)

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Bhawar Lal Kailash Chand Sodhya Halwai, Chaura Rasta
This ancestral halwai business has made a name for itself in Jaipur for their bestselling dessert, Moong Thaal. Made from crushed moong dal cooked in milk, ghee which is then sweetened. It is then spread on an enormous plate, the thaal, to cool down. While cooling, it is garnished with sliced almonds, cardamom and saffron strands. Barfis are cut of the thaal and sold to salivating customers.

Narayanji Gajakwale, Johari Bazar
Come winter, Rajasthan switches its snacks. You will find larders stocked with the likes of gajak, rewri and tilpatti. Til or sesame is known for its heating properties and when mixed along with jaggery or even sugar it helps you brace against the extreme temperatures, often going below zero. Narayanji Gajakwale is one of those pit stops that you must make to pick up these munchies.

While these eateries rank high on Singh’s list, this list is incomplete without names such as Ramchandra Kulfi Bhandar and Lala Ji Pakode Wale in Tripolia Bazar, Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar, Shankar Namkeen Bhandar on Chaura Rasta.

 Image: Shutterstock.com

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