Jaipur: Bourdaining Through the City’s Sumptuous Streets

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon eating my way through the Jaipur streets, under the expert guidance of Vikram, a brilliant guide and storyteller, foodie and culture-vulture. Vikram leads many food tours, but I was surprised to find out that very few bellies actually get to experience the magic (no, not that kind of magic) of these munchies. I was amazed by the adventure of texture, flavor and balance of each bite and the richness within each dish, especially the sweets. As an American, it’s easy to get used to the single-note, high-pitched sweet, whether a melty chocolate or a spongey vanilla cake, and overlook the depth and pleasure that come from pairing textures and spices together.

We started at Lassiwala, a hugely popular spot, with lines of locals five deep, reaching over one another to turn in their coin for the next lassi. The gentlemen work tirelessly, scooping, stirring and spinning liquid perfection that is then poured into a ceramic cup (the Indian, eco-friendly disposable ware.) Like a tangy creme brûlée in gulpable form, its flavor is enhanced by the texture and earthiness of drinking straight from the ceramic cup. A truly life-altering lassi!

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And onto the snacks! First stop was for tikki chola and dahi bada. A little bit sweet and a little bit (okay, a lot a bit) fried, tikki chola is a spicy, delicious snack made from fried chick pea cakes, and smothered in yogurt and tamarind chutney. It was like a flavor pinball machine: sweet, tangy, savory, crunchy, soft, crispy… sensory overload. Play again!

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… and then the dahi bada, one of Vikram’s favorites. A sweet treat, these spongy and crunchy fritters are smothered in a sweet yogurt sauce and topped with spices including chili, cumin, coriander and tamarind.

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A new personal favorite was gol gappa. It’s a paper-thin, crunchy, bite-sized parcel, filled with spiced potatoes and then covered in sauce: sweet and sour water, spicy sauce or yogurt. One after the next, they were quickly prepared and put onto our plates — the moment one was in my mouth, the next appeared on my plate.

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And then, the samosa. Oh, that samosa! All other samosas pale in comparison to this perfectly crispy package, filled with soft, spiced potatoes and lentils that melt into a journey of flavors that surprise at every bite. It was the richest, savoriest, crunchiest and happiest samosa that ever reached my belly.

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And last but not least, one of Vikram’s favorite desserts, the dessert malai roll, at a place that his father used to take him to when he was growing up in Jaipur. This treat is a soft cheese in a sweet milk sauce, dusted with spices. A perfectly sweet ending to a delicious journey.

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I was one happy, stuffed paratha at the end of our stroll.

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4 responses to “Jaipur: Bourdaining Through the City’s Sumptuous Streets

  1. Yuuuummmmmm…..and I love the phrase “Bourdaining. “. You should email the post to him….xoxo

  2. Good God, I thought I was there munching right along – great post – keep your Cipro handy!!!

  3. I am waiting for my Chinese food to come. And reading your
    gastronomic adventure at the same time. Plan to strangle delivery
    guy at once and order Indian. Mmmm!! Thanks for sharing. xox SD

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