It is an understatement to say that Punjabis are true gourmets. They literally live to eat, and no one can savor street food in all its rich splendor as a Punjabi does. Amritsar, the gastronomic capital of India is living proof of this fact.
The home to the iconic Golden Temple, food is the second biggest attraction here. From Kulchas to Butter Chicken, to ethnic sweets, finding the best places could be a bit tricky. Hence, we have rounded up a list of 5 hidden and non-descript culinary jewels of the city.
1. FALL IN LOVE WITH AMRITSARI KULCHA AT PEHALWAN KULCHA
Piping hot, crisp, and drenched generously in desi ghee (clarified butter), starting your day in the temple town with the legendary Amritsari Chole Kulche for breakfast is a great idea.
Stuffed with potato, onions, or cottage cheese with an assortment of whole spices to top it, and baked till golden crisp in a kiln, the hot kulchas are crumbled by hand until flaky and topped with a generous helping of desi ghee. Served with Chole (chickpea curry) and spicy chutney, Kulchas at Pehelwan are a must-have to satiate your taste buds early in the morning.
Where: Nimak Mandi, Laxmansar Road Price: 1 Kulcha approximately costs INR 60
2. SOUL CLEANSING LANGAR AT GOLDEN TEMPLE
Come lunch time, and more often than not, you will find tourists and locals making a beeline for the “Langar” at Sri Harmindar Sahib, or popularly known as the Golden Temple.
The temple is known to have the largest community kitchen in the world, serving more than 75,000 people daily free of cost. Cooked by volunteers, the food is simple yet delicious and mostly comprises roti, dal, sabzi, and Kheer.
The whole setting and the experience of eating with scores of fellow Indians is surreal and soul cleansing. While coming out of the Golden Temple do not miss eating the Karha Prasad, a semolina halwa laden with pure Ghee.
Where: Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia Price: Free
3. INDULGE YOUR SWEET TOOTH WITH KHAJOOR MITHAI OF SHARMA SWEETS
A scrumptious and traditional Amritsari sweet – Khajoor, is particularly prepared during the festival of Lohri. This delectable sweet is available for only 3 weeks a year and arrives in the local markets of the city around 20th December and lasts till Lohri.
This makes it a novelty for locals and catches the eye of people particularly tourists. Made exclusively in Amritsar during peak winters, Khajoor is made of flour which is fried in ghee.
The product is then kept in a cool place and lasts for a week. In fact, during the run-down week of Lohri, you would see many shops making it live for everyone to see, get lured, and buy. After all, it is a sweet that is beyond delicious.
While there are many places that sell khajoor in Amritsar, the best has to be by Sharma Sweets, a small shop nestled in a quaint corner adjacent to Jallianwallah Bagh. Crispy from outside and mouth-wateringly succulent in the middle, it is a must-visit joint for sweet lovers.
Where: Adjacent to Jallianwallah Bagh Price: Rs 400 per Kg
4. SWEET BLISS AT AT GURDASRAM JALEBHIWALA
Gulab Jamun at Gurdasram Jalevhiwala near Harmindar Sahib is a sheer joy for sweet lovers. Lusciously soft to the core, the Gulab Jamun of this shop is a must-visit when you are near the Golden Temple. The crunchy jalebis here is also not to be missed.
Where: Katra Ahluwalia Near Golden Temple Price: Rs 20 for 2 pieces of Gulab Jamuns
5. MAKE YOUR NON-VEGETARIAN FOODIE SOUL HAPPY AT MOHAN SINGH MEAT SHOP
Finding this place might be a bit of a challenge, but if you go to the Nimak Mandi area, the locals will know what you’re looking for. You may get a bit edgy as you may have to queue up, especially on weekends to place an order.
However, once you taste the succulent Mutton Chaaps, you will realize that it is worth the wait. Shallow fried in Desi Ghee on low flame, the tender succulent meat comes right off the rib with a spicy and tangy flavour. Also, do not miss out on the Butter Chicken here.
Where: Nimak Mandi, Near Chintpurni Temple Price: Rs 120 for 1 piece
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author is an experienced PR professional. He is also an avid nature lover and trekker. He has explored places like Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas, Himachal, Sunderdunga Glacier, Pangot, Binsar, Keylong, Ladakh, Nepal, Darjeeling, Old Manali, Chaukori among many others.