My tryst with the Jodhpuri kachori began some distance away from Jodhpur. Tucked away in the by lanes of Sowcarpet, one of Chennai’s oldest neighbourhoods, is Maya Chaats – a tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery that mostly serves just two dishes. A flaky onion kachori and a sticky, sinful mawa kachori guaranteed to give you a sugar rush. The owner of this establishment is very proud of his Jodhpur roots and believes that no city does the kachori better. It was this challenge that was playing on my mind as I wound my way through the cacophony and crowds of Jodhpur’s busiest streets.
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Ghanta Ghar, Jodhpur’s iconic clock tower, is one of the city’s best known landmarks. It’s also ground zero for the city’s local food scene, where international travellers and locals rub shoulders at busy eateries that function more efficiently than factory assembly lines. It’s here that I validated the claims about Jodhpur’s kachori hegemony. The Kachori might have originated in Uttar Pradesh, but Jodhpur has elevated this anytime snack that tastes equally good whether its piping hot or at room temperature. It’s also here that the Mawa Kachori was invented. But there’s more to Jodhpur’s comfort food than just the ubiquitous kachori. We pick five places you must check out in the city:
1. Janta Sweet Home
It’s a fitting name, this eatery is a great leveller in this city with patrons across classes making a beeline for their signature Kachori. A short walk from Ghanta Ghar, on Nai Sarak, Janta is busiest during the afternoons and evenings. Onion prices were hovering above the Rs 100/kg mark while I checked in to Janta, but the Pyaaz ki kachori was still on the menu at the same price. While Janta has expanded beyond this original outlet, this is the spot that locals still swear by. The exhaustive menu has room for thalis and also South Indian snacks.
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2. Arora Namkeen
It’s easy to spot Arora Namkeen from a distance despite its crowded location just outside the market around Ghanta Ghar. It’s not just the massive sign with ‘Shahi Samosa’ plastered in massive fonts but also the patrons (many from nearby villages and towns in a riot of colours) that almost always spill over to the street. Their trademark samosas are a safe bet and then there are those regulars who also swear by their Onion kachori and fiery mirchi vadas.
3. Shri Mishrilal – Lassi and Jalebi
The Mehrangarh fort towers over Jodhpur’s Sardar Market Giridikot and the area around the clock tower. Shri Mishrilal is one of the most historic eateries in the area with a legacy that dates back to 1927. Their Makhaniya Lassi is just what you need on a sunny afternoon or the perfect finish to a hearty breakfast. Flavoured with cardamom and kewda, this creamy lassi is finished with a generous dollop of makhan and the perfect antidote to the spicy mirchi vadas and kachoris. While you’re here, also check out their jalebis with rabri and the besan ki chakki (gram flour barfis that melt in your mouth).
Shri Mishrilal is one of the legacy eateries in Jodhpur that dates back to 192.
4. Pokar Sweet Home
The name is almost misleading, while Pokar has an extensive array of sweets, including an interesting Chandrakala – crispy maida fritter with a dal filling; it’s their savouries that are their calling card. The Qubuli (also spelt kabuli) is an interesting pulao with layers of rice, gravy, vegetables and dry fruits. Jodhpur’s mirchi vada is almost as popular as its onion kachori and this one’s the clear crowd favourite.
Pokar has an extensive array of interesting sweets.
5. Jodhpur Sweets
My favourite sweet shop in the city and the perfect spot to shop for sweets to take back home with you. The mawa kachori is almost a no-brainer; this is Jodhpur after all, and these sweet kachoris don’t get better in this town. Ghewar is another sweet that most Rajasthani sweet shops usually ace, the version here is also served with Rabri. Also try the not so sweet rabri ladoo while you’re at this popular sweet shop.
Jodhpur sweets is the perfect spot to shop for sweets to take back home.
All these establishments are within close proximity, allowing you to make these pit-stops during the course of one afternoon like I did.
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