You might not realize, but there’s an underrated food paradise Cuttack-ed away near the Eastern Ghats of India! Cuttack is the second largest city of Orissa and is also popularly known as the city of 52 markets and 53 streets. Apart from being popular for their age-old silver filigree works, this city is known to be one of the street-food capital of India.
That’s right, the iconic gallis of Delhi don’t house the only Chandni Chowk out there. Here, you will find the millennia-old Jagannath temple where you will be served a wholesome serving of prasad, that consists of a generous helping of daal, rice, sweet rice, khatta chutney and payasam (rice pudding). It’s notable how they don’t use potatoes for the preparation of any of the dishes. Words might not be able to do justice to the soul-satisfaction one experiences after having this prasad.
If you enjoy the dahi ballas from the northern parts of India, make sure you give this eastern variation a try! Dahi baras are essentially lentil dumplings and you’ll find a number of different varieties of the same, in terms of preparation, at the following places:
At Raghu Dahi Bara, they’re served 4-6 pieces a plate, with a thick potato curry, chaat, buttermilk and some spices which give them a range of flavors. This makeshift stall is only open between 5pm and 6:30 pm and in those paltry 1.5 hours, it witnesses quite a crowd.
The dahi baras at Trinath are prepared in a slightly different manner. Apart from the thick and spicy potato gravy, they’re topped with ghugni, sev, onion and khatti-meethi chutney. Ain’t that a flavorful arrangement!
Now, this one’s a place that serves food with a tale. The owner of this cart started selling dahi baras on a cycle, at an early age of 13. Each plate consists of a perfectly spiced arrangement of one sweet bara and one spicy one, topped with potato curry, sev¸ ghugni and onion. Another fascinating tit-bit about this cart: the serving spoon that is used to scoop out the scrumptious baras, is at least 55 years old!
Well, the tales don’t seem to end in this town! If you are to visit this tea stall, you’ll be served a steamy cup of chai by someone, who has been a social activist, saved several lives by donating blood and is funding the education of 70 slum children!
Make a quick stop at this 32-year-old stall to experience a tangy twist to the widely-loved golgappas, locally known as gupchup, served with a filling of mashed potatoes and tamarind water.
Another highlight of Cuttack’s wide array of unique street-food, is the sharbat which are available in a variety of assortments. At Sen and Sen, the sharbat is a layered assembly of sugar syrup, yoghurt, grated coconut, rabri, along with pineapple and jamun essence. While you have an option to make a choice between their dahi-based and rabri-based sharbat, our suggestion to you is to go for the rabri one!
Brace yourself for a ‘bahaar’ of sweet and lusciousness at Dil Bahaar! They’re famous for their dahi sharbat, topped with nuts and flavored with essence of jamun and pineapple.
There would hardly be any one in the city whose day is complete without at least 2 cups of chai. And the tea at Jeetu Bhai tea stall is much loved as it is slow-boiled to perfection. But don’t worry, you can keep yourself company with a scrumptious plate of ghugni all that while!
Don’t miss out on the wholesome experience of being served chakoli, a white lentil and rice based savoury crepe, by a 76-year-old Annapurna Devi at Nandi Shahi. Served with a chutney, this utterly simple dish is a really famous breakfast item around here.
Okay so you might find yourself torn between two sides here, because on one side you’ll find some OG chakoli topped with onion fritters, and on the other side you’ll find them deep-fried, with a side of coconut and garlic chutney. Or, you can just have ‘em both!
If you’re scouting for some succulent and delicious mutton cooked in gravy around the town, well you can rest. At Nana hotel, for just Rs. 120, you’ll be served a helping of daal, rice, mixed-vegetable, saag and, mutton curry, on a dried-leaf plate.
You gotta love thy neighbor, when that neighbor is one’s brother! These two shops are owned by two brothers, respectively. At Kalia’s, the most remarkable item you can try is their devilled eggs. The boiled eggs are stuffed with minced meat, wrapped with mashed potatoes and bread crumbs and then deep-fried.
But, do keep some space for another delicious crunch affair at Kaliabhai’s, for you are in for a treat for their prawn chops.
Who in their right mind would skip biryani? A mildly spicy blend of Lucknowi and Hyderabadi biryani, this biryani is prepared in the yakhni style. Would not recommend leaving Cuttack without trying this!