Tucked between rugged hills and besieged walls and speckled with traditional erstwhile monuments, Jaipur boasts of fairy-tale grandeur. However, apart from its majestic forts and royal havelis, it has more stories to unfold. Along with its impressive architecture, Jaipur is a striking name for foodies too. Elaborate meals served on huge impressive thalis and typical Rajasthani food churned in royal kitchens illustrate indigenous traditions typical to the state. On my visit to Jaipur on New Year, this is what I discovered. Its food angle is worth experiencing and appreciating. My 48 hours trip was an epicurean tour with my friend that took me from old traditional restaurants to modern cafés. Come, let’s live those memories for a while.
Ahh! Jaipur and Chokhi Dhani is inseparable! Nestled around 21 km away from city centre, this ethnic village captures the vibrant spirit of Rajasthan. Food is an integral part of Chokhi Dhani and dining over majestic thalis is a lifetime experience. My platter had Bajre ki Roti with dollops of butter, Chawal, Daal, Gatte ka Sabzi, Bajra Khichda, Kadhi, Lehsan ka Achar, Dhaniya Chutney, Salad, Roasted Papad, Moon Dal Halwa and Bati Choorma. Golgappas and hot milk on earthenware glasses were also available in food stalls. My tummy was super-saturated! We had chosen the Traditional Rajasthani Dining Hall, but options like AC Royal Rajasthani Dining and Multi-cuisine Buffet Dinner can be tried too.
Laxmi Misthan Bhandar
To be frank, reaching there from MI Road was difficult. We drove past narrow alleys, old lanes and distant hills to reach the age-old sweet shop cum restaurant in Johari Bazaar. The doorman with his long moustache made way to an over-crowded sweet shop. Huh!! How can I forget it was 1st January? After waiting for long, we managed to get a seat and ordered Daal Bati Churma, Sweet Lassi and Virgin Mojito. After all, LMB is known for its authentic Daal Bati Churma cooked with heaps of desi ghee. It tasted heavenly and the lassi was an icing on the cake. Pack along Rajasthani specialities like ghewars, milk cake, and definitely, Payaz Kachori.
Rawat Misthan Bhandar
Very close to Sindhi Camp Bus Stand on Station Road, Rawat Misthan Bhandar is the only choice for food lovers like me. And being a tourist, how can I miss their lip-smacking Payaz (onion) Kachodi. Thanks to our auto-wale bhaiya for introducing us to Rawat. The crunchy golden Dal and Onion kachoris stuffed with lentils and onions taste delectable when consumed hot. Treat your tongue with Rawat ka Kachori before bidding adieu to Jaipur, just like me.
The rooftop restaurant near Vidhakpuri Police Station will initially surprise you with its scenic setting, graceful ambience and astonishing views of the surrounding. My platter had only Laal Maas (traditional spicy lamb curry) and tawa roti, because Peacock is famous for this Rajasthani non-vegetarian delicacy. Like all, I too had to wait to get a seat. Apart from the taste of the food, its decent pricing surprised me too. If you are a meat lover like me, do visit the Peacock Restaurant for its authentic Laal Maas.
If you favour Italian and Chinese, then also Jaipur is ideal for you. Here are two of my favourite picks:
The Chocolate Room
Me and my friend, both were aliens to Jaipur, but food is what we died for. While exploring the newly opened World Trade Park at Malviya Nagar, Jaipur, we had to stop at The Chocolate Room. The small aesthetically decorated Italian Café (not to mention 100% veg) at the food court spread aroma of fresh cakes, sizzling pastas, pizzas, pancakes, toasts, coffees, smoothies and more. We started with sipping the delicious smoothies- yogola mix and very berry and gradually shifted to Mediterranean Pasta. Well, if you ask about price, I would say, ‘be ready to feel a bit of pinch in your pocket’. Nevertheless, getting hold of an authentic Italian café in Jaipur is not an easy affair. Give it a try!
The in-house restaurant of Golden Tulip hotel (where I stayed) at MI Road is a haven for food-lovers. Not to forget is its widespread buffet breakfast that offers American delicacies to Indian favourites like Aalo Parantha, Poori sabzi, Idli, Uttapam, Daal Pakoda and lots more. Marigold too expertise in Laal Maas. Thanks to the chef for making our New Year dinner a gourmet affair, one with Schezwan Salt and Pepper Chicken and veg Hakka Noodles.
They all looked royal and tasted yum! In fact, the trip is to be remembered more for our culinary experience. You too can plan one soon!