After savouring the laal maas near the Darbari lake and relishing one of the soulful rustic meals at the moment of one of the veteran traditional musicians, it was time to explore the street food.
So on the second day of our trip Anubhav joined Gopal Ji and few of his friends to embark on a gastronomic tour of the city. Gopal ji is the founder of the state's largest travelling music festival called Rajasthan Kabir Yatra. Besides being an explorer of music, he is also a foodie and hence eating out in the streets and mingling with the vendors also excites him.
We started the tour from Old Jail Road, and our first stop here was Agarwal Caterers. It was a colourful cart which had a banner declaring it's recognition from the Limca Book Of Records for serving different varieties of Golgappe locally known as pichki. Owner Dharmendra ji was all excited to introduce us to his fascinating range of golgappes and other snacks. Here we tried four different kinds of golgappas, papdi and kanji vada. Interestingly unlike at most other places, the flavour options were available in the crisp golgappes and not the stuffing or flavoured water. We particularly enjoyed the papdi that was presented along with chutney and spices.
From there we went to Station road to try a shaved ice sweet treat called chatta. The name perhaps comes from the fact that the flavoured treat resembles an umbrella in appearance. At Shri Krishna Chatta wala shop we started with the saffron flavoured one but the generous owner made us taste some of their popular flavours one by one. It was such a fun experience that Anubhav was lost in slurping the flavoured syrup just like a kid. Here we also tried the very unique kulhad faluda. It was potpourri of faluda, ice cream, syrups, nuts, rabri and shaved ice. The earthen tumbler added a pleasant earthy note to this decadent sweet treat.
Our next destination was Bikaner Bhujia Bhandar whose zesty snacks are a favourite with the locals. Our pick over here was the huge raj kachori. With various well flavoured elements, this chilled snack was quite tasty but not outstanding.
From there we went over to Satta Bazar at Kote gare to grab a paan from Mulsa Fulsa Pan Bhandar. The banner and the crowd testified the reputation of this paan junction. Apart from the wonderful paans served over here the owners Mulsa and Fulsa Ji too are very popular with the customers.
After a brief stroll in the market, we went to Gopal Soda Shop to have Jeera Sip a cumin flavoured carbonated digestive drink. Here we were reunited with Gopal ji who had left us briefly for some work. The effervescent drink was fun and what was more fascinating was witnessing the soda water making using an indigenous contraption.
This was all for the first leg of our Bikaner street food tour. We planned the next day's itinerary and dispersed.
About the host - Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid culinary explorer who loves to travel and explore different cuisine primarily the street food, not just for the sake of gustatory pleasure but also for quenching his deep thirst for nurturing new cultural connections through the kaleidoscopic canvas of food. He believes that the vibrant and delectable street food tradition across the globe has the power to bring communities together and foster harmonious human existence.