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10 Street food stands in Varanasi to add to your foodie list

10 Street food stands in Varanasi to add to your foodie list

By Aquib Nawab

12 Jun, 2024

Varanasi, the ancient city situated on the banks of the Ganges River in Uttar Pradesh, India, is famous for being a spiritual epicenter, having timeless temples, a vibrant culture, and spicy food. For over 2000 years of gastronomic history, there have been numerous street foods that represent different cultural influences.

From fried to curry flavors, you cannot avoid eating street food when you are in Varanasi. You must taste these mouth-watering dishes, which are cooked with local ingredients and spices.

Here is our bucket list of 10 must-try Varanasi street foods:

1. Kachori Sabzi

A favorite breakfast street food found all over Varanasi is kachori, a deep-fried round-shaped pastry filled with mashed peas or lentil stuffing. The crispy, flaky stuff goes together with spicy sabzi, which is a vegetable dish prepared using potatoes, cauliflower, and fresh green peas. Start your day right with this hearty snack.

Credits: Canva

When having kachori sabzi, don’t forget to try out both the fried kachori as well as the vegetable sabzi so that you can experience it fully. It’s because there is no way one can resist this particular dish, with its crispy dough contrasting with the tasty sabzi.

2. Jalebi

One of India’s most iconic street snacks is jalebi, a popular sweet snack. In Varanasi, jalebis are deep-fried until golden and then served hot from large frying pans while still glistening in sugar syrup.

Credits: Canva

While in Varanasi, indulge yourself by eating plates full of piping hot jalebis. These syrupy sweet jalebis go well with rabdi milk, another specialty dessert found throughout the city known for its creamy texture. In addition, do not miss other varieties such as kesar (saffron) jalebi.

3. Malaiyo

Do you have a sweet tooth? Malaiyo, the mouth-watering soft milk sweets, are a typical Varanasi treat. It is prepared by boiling and curdling milk, which is then allowed to cool down, and the cream forms.

Credits: Canva

Some of the flavors that malaiyo comes in include kamal kakdi malaiyo, flavored with lotus seed paste, or kesar malaiyo, made with saffron. This light, fluffy malaiyo merely dissolves within your tongue due to its delicate cotton-like texture.

4. Kachalu Chaat

Varanasi gives an entirely new version of an Indian street food snack called chaat. Kachalu chaat has boiled potato slices seasoned with chili powder, cumin, chaat masala spice blend, lime juice, chopped onions, coriander leaves, and crunchy sev noodles.

Credits: Canva

The tangy potato chaat with crispy sev and spicy chutneys makes for a scrumptious snack while walking around Varanasi on foot. Additionally, try other variations of chaat too.

5. Gol Gappa

Gol gappa is popularly known as paani puri or gup chup all over India as a street food specialty. In Varanasi, this tasty snack includes hollow crisp puris that have been pierced and filled up using potato sprouts, sweet tamarind chutney, sour mint water chickpeas, among others.

Credits: Canva

To get all the flavors at once—sweet, hot, and crunchy—just pop one whole gol gappa into your mouth! Can you finish a plateful of six gol gappas?

6. Tamatar Chaat

Tamatar, or tomato chaat, is a unique street snack found in the Varanasi area. It contains chopped raw tomatoes mixed with crunchy namkeen sev, fresh coriander cuts, green chillies, salt, and chat masala lime juice.

Credits: Canva

The juicy, cool tomato cubes complement a mixture of spices and textures in this dish. Experience a local Varanasi specialty with tamatar chaat.

7. Baati Chokha

Rajasthani heavy food, which is also popular among the people of Varanasi, such as baati chokha, It is served by baking round baati breads that are eaten with spicy mashed potatoes or mashed brinjal.

Credits: Canva

Dunk the dry baati into the tasty chokha to moisten it up. So when you eat it, the smoky baati absorbs all the spices from the chokha. This street food is very strong and will make a complete meal, like what the locals love to enjoy during their lunch time.

8. Aloo Tikki Chaa

The savory Indian street snack comprises spiced potato patties called aloo tikki that are deep-fried after stuffing them with different flavors. The toppings for aloo tikki include chutneys and garnishes.

Mint chutney, tamarind chutney, finely chopped onions, sev, chaat masala, and more come together to create an unforgettable street snack consisting of crispy yet fluffy aloo tikki cutlets.

Aloo tikki in Varanasi

Credits: Canva

9. Rabri Jalebi

In Varanasi, rabri and jalebi are like two peas in a pod because they are always available together. Thickened sweet milk boiled with cardamom, saffron, or pistachios makes rabri, which is then served with crispy jalebis dipped in syrup.

Credits: Canva

Go ahead and try out this classic street sweet that has been enjoyed within city limits for time immemorial. Eat some hot jalebis dipped in creamy, opulent rabri while enjoying varied tastes and texture overload at once!

10. Thandai

Thandai is one such cold drink made from milk blended with almonds, fennel seeds, and rose syrup, along with the spices of cardamom and saffron, that helps people beat the heat. Sometimes, it is also mixed with bhang (cannabis) to have extra coolness.

Credits: Canva

While strolling around the narrowest lanes of this city, drink thandai from kulhars, or earthen cups. This cooling, spiced beverage makes a great accompaniment to all the amazing street snacks found in Varansi.

Dive into Varanasi’s street food culture

The streets of Varanasi are full of vendors selling hot snacks, tasty curries, and refreshing drinks unique to this area. The city’s street food culture reflects its place as a historic melting pot with influences from all over India.

Credits: Canva

When you visit Varanasi, make sure you save enough space inside your stomach for local street food. Immerse yourself in the tastes, smells, and experience of sampling these 10 iconic street foods. Also, try to find out what the specialty dishes are for that region, which you cannot get anywhere else.It is thus an adventure for all your senses as well as an important discovery tool for the city’s heritage and culture. Your mouth will guide you through winding alleys and markets on an offbeat culinary journey unlike any other.

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