Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Benaras or Kashi, is not only the oldest city in the world but also holds immense significance in Hinduism. Being one of the seven most holy cities for Hindus, it is revered as a favourite of Lord Shiva himself, making it an essential sacred destination. The city's renowned ghats, ancient temples, and the mighty river Ganga attract visitors from all around the globe, seeking to immerse themselves in the holy ambience.
Apart from its religious landmarks, Varanasi is equally renowned for its vibrant street food scene, a treat for both locals and tourists. A visit to Varanasi is considered incomplete without indulging in the delicious street food offerings. The city's residents take immense pride in their delectable street food and passionately vouch for its exceptional taste.
Seven delicious street foods that are must-try when in Varanasi
1. Chola samosa
Although samosas can be easily found in various states of India, the combination of chola samosa reigns as one of the most popular street foods in Varanasi. This famous breakfast delicacy is abundantly available, from the smallest to the largest shops in the city. You must try this delectable fusion at least once to experience the tangy gravy perfectly complementing the samosa, creating an amazing taste sensation.
Malaiyo is a unique dessert claimed proudly by the locals as a Varanasi speciality. Originating from the very lanes of Varanasi, this creamy delicacy with dry fruits and saffron is exclusively available during the winter months, adding to its novelty.
In this holy city of Varanasi, lassi, a popular drink across many regions of India, receives a delightful makeover. Traditionally served in a kulhad, Varanasi's lassi comes adorned with rabri, cream, saffron, fruits, and dry fruits as toppings. This heavenly version of the famous drink has people raving about its exceptional taste, almost turning the kulhad of lassi into another delectable dessert. This rabri-infused lassi is undoubtedly a must-try.
4. Kachori sabzi
A much-loved breakfast street food among the locals in Varanasi, Kachori Sabzi, locally known as part of the Kaleva foods, stands as their all-time favourite. The mouth-watering gravy, typically made with potatoes, skillfully balances spicy, sour, and tangy flavours, making it irresistible and difficult to resist multiple servings of kachoris.
5. Tamatar chaat
Another authentic Varanasi creation, tamatar chaat, is a famous street food less known in other regions of India. The locals encourage visitors to try this unique dish at least once. Made from mashed tomatoes, Indian spices, and other flavorful ingredients, this chaat is unlike anything you have ever eaten in the name of chaat. While chaat dishes are widespread across India, tamatar chaat's local essence makes it even more enticing to try.
6. Dahi ke batashe
Varanasi is renowned for its street food and chaat culture, with people enjoying various delicacies throughout the day. Among them, dahi ke batashe, a yoghurt-filled variant of gol gappas, famous all over India under different names, stands out. In Varanasi, this street food delight comes filled with chutneys, yoghurt, and other ingredients, distinguishing it from the more common tangy water version, hence the name dahi ke batashe.
7. Katori chaat
Katori chaat, meaning chaat in a bowl, is one of the most unique street foods you will find in Varanasi. The katori in question is not an ordinary utensil but a bowl-shaped ball of deep-fried dough. Filled with potatoes, sev, chutneys, fruits, or any variation the vendor offers, eating this katori chaat guarantees an amazing culinary experience.