The Grand GUJARATI THAL in Rajkot

In today's episode we along with our host Anand, a popular food blogger from the city, are out to explore more of Rajkot's food scene starting from a grand thali to everyday snacks. Come let's take you through the experience.

We started the day with a huge Gujarati thali experience at Shri Grand Thakar restaurant. This surprisingly pocket friendly thali is available only for lunch and on an average it easily attracts 400-500 diners. When we reached there the sprawling restaurant was abuzz with lots of customers and a big team of servers who were darting from one table to another at a hurried pace. The most interesting thing that we noticed here was the manner in which they communicate amongst themselves. It was through a special sign language where each hand movement corresponds to a respective dish. The colourful spread of roti, puran puri, rice, curries, raita, snacks, pickle, salad, buttermilk and fruit cream for dessert was super gratifying and absolutely worth the price.

Later that afternoon we embarked on a brief snacks tour across the city. The first stop was Kismat Hotel where we tried a Rajkot special chai that is dense, creamier and stronger that the ones available in Delhi. Just like at most other places here too it was prepared over coal fire. We enjoyed it with some jeera khari or cumin seeds flavoured puffs.

From there we went to Madhubhai Gordhanbhai Chevdawala, a leading name in the realm of fried snacks. The huge display of crisp fried snacks here, in different forms and shapes, is a testimony of Gujarati people's deep love for the same. It is an imperative part of their daily food habits. They are also believed to be the creator of Rajkot's famous lili chutney that accompanies almost all dishes. It is a piquant condiment made of peanuts and green chillies. Here we tried some of their hot selling snacks and loved them.

Next we went to Ishvarbhai Ghugrawala for trying these traditional empanada like savoury treats. These deep fried pastry are stuffed with a lightly spiced potato mixture and are topped with two kinds of chutney. It is these chutneys that lend an irresistible kick to these ghugra. This dish is originally from Jamnagar but now it has become a sought after snack in Rajkot. Because of less spices, it has a homely feel to it.

From there we reached a very busy food cart named Bajrang Bhel House. Their 8-10 varieties of chat are a hit with the locals. We ordered some bhel, tikha mora, bread latka and bhareli bread. The swarm of happy customers encircling the cart was a testimony of their delish offerings. Loaded with puffed rice, flattened rice, onions, peanuts, chutney, sev etc. the bhel was simply phenomenal. All of them were like a party inside the mouth.

After stuffing ourselves with all the amazing chaat, we accompanied Anand to Shyam Cold Drinks where he made us try a Sosyo aerated drink with salty roasted peanuts. This unusual combo turned out to be a revelation. Sosyo is the best selling indigenous soft drinks brand in the state.

From there we went on to experience Rajkot's most happening dandiya event at The Neel Sanjayraj ground. Watching the performances of the renowned troupes and the locals was a mesmerizing experience.

After that Anand took us to Ram Aur Shyam Gola wala to try a very unique new age dessert called Cadbury ice dish. It is a frozen dessert consisting of ice shavings topped with in house chocolate sauce, condensed milk, powdered mava, cream and buts all in generous quantities. Contrary to our expectation, it turned out to be extremely delicious. The rich and chilled creamy chocolatey taste made us polish it off in a jiffy.

Finally we ended the tour with some paan at Delux Pan Parlour. It was another satisfying day in Rajkot.

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