Gujrati Food.. Umm .If you love gujrati food in which ever part of the country you are and then go and visit Ahmadabad for some reason and eat those “Jalebi, Fafda” or Khandvi, I bet your entire “Gujrati Food here(at your place) is good” notion will be changed and you will abstain from eating Gujju Food anywhere else. It has been Months and i haven’t eaten my favorite Khandvi. Its also so pirated here in Delhi. Well.. Food Piracy !
In this travelogue I will go through my adventurous journey into the food and people of Amdavad (as they say there). We were recently there for MakerFest and in whatever time we got I and my group consisting Of Ishan and Saral sneaked into the city to explore be it late night (1am-ish) or early morning! What i am going to illustrate was done in bits and pieces , but surprisingly can be done in one full day! So, the below log can be done chronologically but was done in 2 days due to other important tasks :)
We were based out of Nehru Nagar. So most delicious shops were located nearby. If you plan to roam around next day, try eating something light in dinner as the next day will be “Heavy” .
We woke a early( well 10:30am it was i guess) and reached the famous ‘Juna Sherbazaarwalla’ for his jalebi fafda combo. Fafda is made out of besan and is usually eaten with green chillis. But imagine if you combine the three. Its an atomic combination, Sweet, salty and spicy -3S ! We saw a local person, on the road sitting on his 80’s Lambeda Scooter and savoring Kadhi also along with 3S’s . So we ordered it too. And it added more ammo to the stuff. Kadhi was a bit sweeter and less salty. We ended up ordering Dhokla too.
I dont like spices a lot. So, i avoided the chillis. Ishan loved it and posed for it.
They were basically all dhokla’s and Samosa but a bit sweeter and nice. Not to say we tasted them as well. We were fortunate enough to be in Gujrat at the time of Uttaran which is when you can get the famous Undio (Dish) and see Gujrat in its full colors.
Next we moved to The Khaman Shop! On the same road as Juna Sharebazaar walla , but a little further. Khaman is similar to Dhokla. But I couldn’t understand whats the difference.
The Undio is basically a very spicy but tasty vegetable dish. It contains a lot of oil (I dont know why). But it was very tasty. It had Potatoes,Coriander and lot of other veggies i dont remember. Avoid this is you hate Oil and Chilly. Then we had the Khaman. It was just Awwwwesome! There was a nice tinge of garlic and sweetness i haven’t noticed anywhere. There is also a female version of Khaman called Khamani. Its a bit more crunchy and Spicy.It has tasty besan bhujia sprinkled over it and served with yellow chutney. Yummy..
PS: Just before you start suspecting me of over-eating. This was eaten by a group of 3 :P
With our input buffer almost full. We couldn’t order full plates of stuff we saw in the shop and were happily obliged by the shop owner who gave us some taste samples!
The shop has almost 20 Different types of Dhoklas. Wow!
Since, our stomachs needed some rest. We needed to sneak out to some place of fun and walk.We headed on to Kankaria Lake. As always, prefer Local BRTS which is quite an efficient way to go around the city. Public Transport is always better.
The lake is a pretty huge one, with a lot of things around it like Toy Train around the circumference, Fish Museum , Eating Stalls,Speed Boating, A Hot Air Balloon Ride,Kids in plastic balls that dont sink ( I dont know what its called :) ) and a ATV track with Polaris quads meant for kids below 12 ( :/ )
Train Ride was pretty good. Good ‘ol Days as kids were revisited. Beware the Train Driver can yell at you if you get off the running train.It doesnt go over 12kmph.So, we did got over at Fish Museum. Hahaha.. DONT TRY THIS!
The Fish Museum was pretty nice. Its a two floor museum with lots of different fishes on display.I dont eat fishes (Vegetarian) and don’t know many fish names other than Piranha ( Piranha 3D :P ) , gold fish ( Childhood stories), Sharks (Jaws) and Turtles. All of them were present there. Happy to meet you in person guys! We also did a little experiment to see if fishes react to Jazz Music. Conclusion: Well Some do, Some Don’t!
After our input buffer almost empty, we though of eating ; Whats better than Vada Pav. We ordered Vada Pav at the local stall on the lake! It was pretty bad. Some famous person has said, “ Chilli is the mask of a bad cook” . The Vada Pav was filled with Chilli. This is a pretty old street food trick when they sell water/drinks by selling spicy food. Busted!
We then had some ice-cream from the “What-we-thought-local” shop called Havmor. But it was some real bang on buck. Totally awesome! There was no Kwality Walls, Cream Bell or Mother Dairy there but Havmor was infact a chain of Ice-Cream Parlors Spread across city.The Raja–Rani flavor ice cream is pretty good, just in case you have trouble choosing.
It was now time to leave this pleasant lake and move to some godly place. ISKCON Temple was the place. There is a bus stand outside Kankaria Lake and you can get direct bus to ISKCON Temple. We passed over the Sabarmati Lake front and captured this beautiful sunset.
It took us quite a while to reach there. People were happy to help us when we wanted. Good People always smiling! We reached ISKCON Temple near the time of arti and as always the ISKCON Temple Arti is pretty hair raising! We paid our tribute to Lord Krishna and stayed there for a while. Bliss!
Then after the ARTI was over, we had the prasad and went outside, collected our shoes and ate chinese samosas. This is a pretty standard ‘delicacy’ in any Indian Marriage. Its basically a Indianized Fried Wonton and is served with Momo Sauce. Still better than that Vada Pav!
The Question was now what? Go to the BaseCamp or Go somewhere else? Obviously Go somewhere else, But where? We were suggested by a person to do visit the “Drive-In Cinema” . Its probably there in two Indian cities Mumbai and Ahemdabad. So, why not! Bus Route is way out of question suggested Here Drive. We took the Auto to “Drive In Cinema”. It basically a place where you can Drive into a large ground with your car and watch the movie out of the car itself. The Screen was huuuuuggggeee ! Dhoom-3 was being played. We joined in. Its a great experience but even if you dont have a car, there is a small auditorium built near the projection room that can accommodate you!
There were small poles with built in speaker and Amps too, because if they had a central amp, then those long wires load the central amp a lot.
We enjoyed the movie and had “Dabeli” during the interval. It was way better than that Vada Pao and Standard Pop Corn. Its a type of Vada Pao only but a bit different.I guess they dont use Besan in the tikki/vada they have inside it. Prefer a butter Dabeli if you have an option.Below is the picture captured when the butter was smoked.
It was a bit spicy, but the chutney neutralized some of it. But the time the movie was over. We were hungry! Damm Hungry. We took an auto to Nehru Circle. It was 10pm so night charges apply! We asked the auto person to drop us off the circle as well. We found another good shop!
It served the best Vada Pao and Khasta Samosa Ever!
The shop owner was a pretty nice lad. He was from Rajasthan and was very much patriotic about Gujrat and kept on repeating “Aap humare Gujrat mein aaye ho”. When asked about NaMo his words were sweeter than the Jalebi we had in the morning.
We ate Vada Pao and Samosa! The Vada Pao ( i am a fan boy of ) was a bit different than the one i had in Dadar,Mumbai near Siddhivinyak which is rather advertorial to be the best in Mumbai. It was spicy but good but this one was the best! 10/10 . When asked about the secret, he said he has a special chutney which uses Khumani (I guess). If you love Vada Pao go here! Its near Nehru Circle and opens till late!
The samosa was also good. But it was the chutney that had all the magic!
Next we moved to a Pizza Shop-Real Paparika. Unlike Dominoes or Pizza Hut in Delhi, Amdavad has a lot of there joints which are essentially home-grown Italian Food Chains. Since we were half full, so we ordered the 4 pizza Combo! Surprisingly they have an unlimited food combo for 129 INR.
Well the pizza was good. But not surprising.It was comparable in quality to Dominoes and far well prepared but was pretty basic! Next we moved to the local soda parlor to have some late night soda! The soda shop had a chach flavored soda that was worth trying.
As we drank the soda , we could see city getting ready for Uttarayan. Kite thread ( Manja) was being glazed with glass and various different kites were being made.Too bad we wont be in the city on the day! But there is always a next time.
Edit: There is a bit more to Ahemadabad - The Sabarmati Ashram, Vintage Car Museum, Science City and Delux Gujrati Thali ! Maybe next time ! :D