Bikaner is as bubbly and as soothing as a beautiful smile of a woman behind a ghoonghat. It is the royalty of a man’s moustache and the peak brightness of his turban. The similar differences or the different similarities that Bikaner is, it is a place to thoroughly lose yourself to! It's just the vacation you need! And not just to visit the forts but for the variety of food that you would never want to forget while coming back from a trip.
Agarwal Caterers- From far, you can spot the efforts and the love of this stall owner! It looks like a dedicated, very bright and colourful, well managed food cart. Outside the historic reddish brownish walls of one of the forts, the colours stand in a sharp contrast.
We tried three things: Kanji Vada, Papdis and Golgappas. Kanji Vadas were soft fritters soaked with hing (asafoetida) and mustard water. It was very healthy to have and not only did it taste good but also had a lot of health benefits.
Papdis are made from besan or gram flour. They were small rectangular pieces which were topped with mint chutney, spices and finely chopped onions.
Golgappas are hollow crispy snacks which are filled with flavourful water. A lot of places experiment with the water but Agarwal Caterers experiment with the golgappas itself (they are not the same bro!). The cart owner has got himself registered in the Limca Book of Records for presenting 121 golgappa varieties!
We tried the raw mango, rose, chocolate and the paneer flavour. Our favourite was the rose one! It was just amazing all and all.
Shri Krishna Chattha Wala Shop- We tried a glammed up version of barf ka gola here. Shaved ice was moulded into a spinning top shape and pierced at the end of a stick. It was also topped with smooth rabri (sweetened reduced milk). One flavour was saffron with gulkand (a rose petal jam).
There was Paan (betel flavoured), Pana (tangy raw mango drink), orange with masala flavours and a lot others in the menu. Barf ka gola or Chatta as called here was a grim reminder for us to live life, child-like! Sitting in a corner, while enjoying it, was pure bliss!
There was also Kulhad Faluda that we couldn’t keep our hands off! It was potpourri of faluda (noodle like plain strands), ice cream, syrups, nuts, rabri and shaved ice. The earthen tumbler added a pleasant earthy note to this sweet treat. It had a hyped flavour of saffron and gulkand in it.
Bikaner Bhujia Bhandar- Raj Kachori was our superstar here. It was a loaded chaat! A big hollow crispy ball stuffed with a few wafers, masalas (spices), bhujia, namkeen (dry snacks), chutneys, curd, spiced up moong dal (a lentil type), a fritter and shredded beetroot.
Tip- Eat it quickly or it would become all soggy because of the absorbed curd and chutneys.
Note- The mark of a good chaat is when you get to taste all the flavours in it from sweet, tangy to savoury.
Mulsa Fulsa Paan Bhandar- Paan is a preparation which has areca nuts, slaked lime etc wrapped in a betel leaf. It tastes bitter and it should taste like that! Once you get the hang of the flavour, you will love consuming it too! It is a good choice after dinner.
Our preference was the saffron flavoured and it tasted both sweet and astringent. It was such a good tasting, fragrant paan that we got some packed!
Gopal Soda centre- We absolutely loved the method here of making high pressured soda bottles that released a shrill sound when cracked opened! The cumin flavoured overflowing soda stole our hearts with its goodness! It was a digestive drink which had water, masala and a sweet concentrate. Everything was freshly made!
You’ll love watching the lovable, playful Agarwal Ji trying to stuff Anubhav Sapra (founder of DFW) with golgappas in an attempt to make him stout! It is hilarious! Watch the video below :)