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Varanasi: Its munch time in chillout zone

Traditional taste Delicious fare draws people to eateries in Varanasi, a city known for its early morning culture.

lucknow Updated: Jan 17, 2018 14:56 IST
Sudhir Kumar
Sudhir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Varanasi

It’s 6.30am, about 15 minutes before sunrise in Varanasi. Despite the chill, Kachauri Gali in the Chowk area of the city is abuzz with locals out to savour crisp kachauris, mouthwatering jalebis and sabzi (vegetable curry) at shops in the famous lane. This delicious breakfast is popular among locals, tourists and foreigners in the city, which is known for Subah-e-Banaras.

A round snack made of fine flour, kachauri has a stuffing of pulses. Jalebi is a sweetmeat in pretzel or circular shapes.

Kachauri Gali isn’t the only early morning hot spot for foodies. There are others along Maidagin-Godowlia Road, Luxa, Teliabagh and Nadesar. For instance, Narendra Pathak, a Banarsi, and his four friends visit a roadside joint at Jangambadi near the Godaulia intersection as early as 6am to enjoy the delicacy daily.

“Crisp kachauri-jalebi is my daily breakfast. I enjoy it at Batuk Sardar’s shop where the fare has a unique taste. Many locals visit the shop as early as 6am,” Pathak says. Batuk Sardar’s shop is over 60 years old.

“Banaras and Banarasis are unique. We enjoy our breakfast by 8am at any cost,” says Veerendra Tiwari, another customer.

“It is difficult to get fresh kachauri-jalebi at 6am in other cities, but they are available in plenty in Varanasi,” he adds.

To be ready to serve their customers so early, shops in Kachauri Gali start preparing at around 5.30am. The outlets at Nadesar, Teliabagh and Luxa do so at 6am.

There are 10 shops known for serving kachauri jalebi prepared in deshi ghee at Kachauri Gali. Vending carts at Luxa, Ramkatora, Pandeypur, Godowlia, Girijaghar, Shivala, Ramkatora and Nadesar areas of the city are famous for the delicacy too.

Some of the shops at Kachauri Gali are 100 years old.

Bahadur Singh, a Chowk resident, says, “A few kachauri shops are over a century old. Kachauris are prepared at these shops using flour, instead of maida (refined flour). They take care of quality and the traditional taste of the vegetable curry. They have their own recipe, which they don’t disclose.”

Suresh Gupta, a kachauri shop owner in Teliabagh, says, “Kachauri-jalebi has been a popular breakfast for many decades. We start preparing kachauri and jalebi at 6am as a large number of customers want their breakfast soon after sunrise.”

Gupta estimates there are over 1,000 shops and vending carts serving kachauri-jalebi. Sometimes, foreigners also can be seen munching the delicacy.

“Many locals reach my shop at 6am and I am ready to serve by then,” Vishnu Kachauri Wale of Kachauri Gali says.

The Puraniwali Kachauri shop has completed around a century, Vishnu Kumar says.

Young Banarsis Vishal Kumar and Rohit Kumar are among those who savour an early morning breakfast.

“We can’t resist the unique taste. So we enjoy it daily,” Vishal Kumar says, asking the shopkeeper to give him a little more of the vegetable curry.

Foreigners too relish the vegetables.

Bahadur Singh says many locals and villagers from nearby areas are among the daily customers, but their number is not very high in winter. Their figure swells in autumn. While some shops serve kachauris with vegetable curry and pieces of onion, others serve only kachauri and sabzi.

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 14:56 IST