Today's episode is a continuation of our street food exploration in Bikaner. In the previous one we had tried the street food at Jail Road and Station Road and this episode we are out for an evening food tour across the old part of the city with our dear friend and host Gopal Ji who is the Founder of Rajasthan Kabir Yatra.
We started the walking tour from a nearly 86 years old Sharbat shop named Chunnilal Tanwar Sharbatwale. Here we met the genial owner who gave us a brief idea about the place and its long standing glory. This place is known for its natural flavoured syrup and concentrates that are used for preparing luscious and refreshing sharbats. It was interesting to see how they have sustained this small enterprise that makes use of best quality ingredients and traditional techniques. Among the 12 to 14 varieties, we tried rose, kewra, saffron, coriander, jasmine and clove. The jasmine one served in a clay tumbler was an absolute treat.
From there we walked down to Mohata Chowk to savour the Bikaner famous Malkha Maharaj ki Rabri. The saffron flavoured golden yellow milk dessert with shreds of malai was luscious and creamy. Here we also tried the malai and malai ladoo. The former was a square shaped treat made of a thick stack of unsweetened malai.
After trying the Rabri we checked in at Bihani Supari shop situated opposite to the Rabri shop. They sell Bikaneri supari and a wide variety of churan i.e. digestive or mouth freshening treats. Speaking to the owner we got to know that the areca nut is sourced from Karnataka and some from Assam. The dry weather dries it faster and renders them ready to consume.
From there we went to a beautiful restaurant cum cafe named Indra's. Both the outdoors and the indoors were cosy and pleasing. The interiors and set up was a blend of both contemporary and traditional Rajasthani ideas. They are a multi cuisine restaurant with clear focus in the Bikaneri traditional food. Our order included dal bati churma and Bikaneri thali. The second one was a yummy platter consisting of some traditional Bikaneri curries and sabzis. The tangy spicy flavours were a testimony to the resourcefulness of this arid city.
Soon after we headed to our final destination i.e. Matoolshah Doodh Wale. People throng this makeshift stall for thoroughly boiled pure milk that is served with malai. Drinking hot milk after dinner is considered to be good for health hence it is a popular ritual.
This gratifying tour gave us a fair idea about the street food scape of Bikaner.