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Benaras Gastronomies
Kumar Yogesh Singh | 09 May 2014

The city gets up with the morning Aarti, fresh up by dipping in the holy river Ganga, lined in, murmuring “har har mahadev, jai ma ambe gauri, jai hanuman ji etc” and pick up the bamboo made bowl filled with varieties of flowers, ladoos, burfis, pedas, panchmels, puffed rice, coconut shells, fresh milk, channa amrit (milk made with nuts) etc, offers and prayers in temples at different places like Kashi Vishwanth, Durga Mata, Hanuman Mandir, Kalverab Etc.

This temple city is about 3000 years old and recognized from vedic age as Kashi, then Benaras now Varanasi. It is one of the Hindu's sacred place where people want to love, live and die because after death the soul goes to heaven and meet to eternity. So, after cremation of the dead body here in Varanasi, the relatives enjoy with happiness and get together at restaurants and dhabas and distribute sweets.

The city is famous for Sarnath (where lord Buddha had given his first lesson to his people), ghats (banks of river), heritage intricately carved buildings, BHU and narrow lanes. This city is also recognized for the great scholars such as Munshi Prem chand, Saint Kabir Das, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya etc.

The city roads flooded with “Paan” spits, this is the inherited spatiality, you may hate but that doesn’t matter. So this city is famous for ‘Paan’ that is why it is needed to mention here the famous song from Movie Don ‘Khai ke paan benaras wala, khul jai band akal ka tala’.

In Kashi, paan it is used as mouth freshener as well as prestige matter, so Benarasis get up with paan chewing and sleeping with same. People gulp the paan in mouth, saliva dropping from mouth, still hands busy wiping with handkerchief but still chewing and making lips red. This is known as style of Benarasi babu (handsome rohuwa).

From morning to evening, people surrounded, sited on cots besides tea corners, sip up the tea in earthen ware pot (Kulhad), get the combination of tea and clay yummy taste. Tea makers busy in getting orders and placing tea like plain milk tea, green cardamom tea, masala tea, ginger milk tea, black tea(with rock salt, black pepper and lemon juices and sugar) etc. On same corners, MALAI (condensed cream) and sweet curd and lassi are served in earthen ware pot (MATKA).

VANARSI couldn’t stop themselves by eating laziz snacks which are made on moving cart in parallel sides of road or inside the restaurant and dhabas viz as samosa, aloo bhaji with puri, kachori and dal khasta, jalebi, tikki chat,imarti and sev. The city love to eat sweets when ever you offer they never say no! Even they are suffering with diabetics, forget it and focusing on sweets. There are some famous restaurants (Rajshree, Jhulan Prasad, Bikanerwala, Sri Bala ji, Ksheer sagar, Annapurna and sandesh) which are facilitating mouth watering sweets such as Burfi(verities), Rasmallai, Rasagulla(dry and wet), gulab jamun, kala jamun, parbal methai, malai sandwiches etc. except from sweets some restaurant( sindh bakers, bakers shop) offering NIMKIES( Salted cashewnuts, almonds, peanuts, dal muth etc), bread, cakes and cookies. The well popular sweet “LONGLATA” find on every big and small sweet corners. Where  Aloo Dum Benarsi andNimona are every house wife’s favorite preparation.

This city amalgamates with different cuisines but classes on tourist spots. Such as

At SARNATH where mainly tourists visited from china, Japan, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore etc so foods prepared near this restaurants and hotels are Noodles(Hakka, singapori, chicken or egg chowmein etc) ,Momos, Chilli Chicken, Chopsuey, Fried rice(varities),etc

At Ghat(Bank of holy river), there are the peoples from every states of India, European countries, Americans are  visited the Ganga Ghats and Mandirs(temples) and participated in glorious evening Ganga arti. So, besides the road side Dhabas and restaurants are offering very delicious north and south Indian cuisine like IDLI, MASALA DOSA, MENDU VADA and SAMBHAR with chutnies. Near the Ghats ,there are some roof terrace restaurants which are offering Indian, Continental and Oriental foods such restaurants are Madhur Milan café(south Indian speciality) and Bone café(Indian) at Dahaswmedh ghat, Sheenu restaurant(continental foods) near Meer ghat, Filo café near Munshi ghat.

The famous Kachori wali lane is near the Kashi Vishwnath Temples is famous for luscious Kachori(shortened fried stuffed round roll of  flour dough). So no one wants to forget when moving there. The famous song was made in bhojpur on this lane is “ KACHORI GALI BHUL GAILE RAJAJI…….”

Near the temple there are many shops which are selling mouth fresheners like angelica.

The Muslim populated areas (Pilikothi, Nai sarak etc) where mouth watering, flavorful, tasty kebabs ( Galawati,  sheekh), Biryani(Mutton and chicken) with many curry dishes and bread(kulcha, naan, rumali roti) are prepared.   

The elite peoples and foreigner who are meals in a fabulous ambience with evening Gazal in star categories hotels restaurant like Varuna, kebab factory, pavallion etc. These peoples making their evening fantasy by drinks at these pubs and bars are Windser near Maldahiya, Gazal Bar at Cantonment, The Sol Bar at sigra, Energy Point at Sarnath and Prinsep Bar. These pubs and bars offering concoctions of wine such as Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon Beaujolais, In Rum Bacardi, Mc dowells , in whisky 8pm, teachers, old tavern, royal stag, bag piper johnnie walker, in vodka Smirnoff, absolute,white mischief in gin beef eater, Bombay, gilbey’s in beer king fisher, Hayward 5000, royal challenge, kalyani black lebel, foster castel.

The varanasi evening is also exciting by having Prasad of Mahadev(lords of lord) is ‘BHANG’ and drink ‘THANDAI’ ( milk based drink made with pistachios, almond and kesar, topped off with a large dollop of malai and sometimes thicken with bhang).

The teenagers who are found of fast foods such as Pizzas, Burgers, Chaats, Popcorns, sandwiches etc so they fulfill their desire by moving to malls restaurants like in IP malls(pizza hut, Mc donald and Dominos), at JHVmalls (Red chili, Pizza hut and Mc. Donald) and in VIJYA MALLS(Bikanerwala) and Burger kings at Nadesar.