Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The best places to eat in Haridwar.....the places we like...

We wanted a change from the routine . A quick satisfying , exhausting outing . Walking long hours and soaking our feet in the cold waters of the Ganges seemed just right and we decided to go to Haridwar . With nothing religious on mind , we just wanted to get lost in the melee that can engulf just anything...leaving behind a wondering mind...A wondering mind that can find and formulate solutions...

As soon as we decided to go to Haridwar there was one thing on our mind absolutely clearly... FOOD . Haridwar is so refreshingly different from any other place when it comes to street food. Although you must know how to look out for the street vendors who serve good food and are hygiene conscious at the same time. Freshly prepared food must be the condition to even to have a look at it...don't ask me how to judge if the food is fresh .

Another way to look out for a good street vendor is the beeline surrounding the stall...or thela or rehri as we call it here...we found one such thela selling kachori at the turn to Gau ghat (Gau is cow in hindi and sanskrit) around 8 AM . Two other kachori walas were standing like fools waiting for the customers to turn up and this Kashyap kachori bhandar was doing brisk business . We knew we had to wait patiently , so we walked around a bit and came back to see the fast dwindling heap of kachoris .

Pawan Kashyap , the owner is a smart businessman . You can see him talking to a customer and doing his work at the same time... he judged that we were waiting and asked how many we need . I guess we are a bit shy people and just looked on seeing others being pushy around the thela ...We just wait patiently for our turn . Everywhere. Our faces must be telling this guy that we are dying to taste those yummy looking kachoris and yet can't yell our order .

I ordered just one dona of kachori as i am always cautious about street food and don't want to waste food even when i am dying to taste something looking so promising .... one spoonful in my mouth and i ordered another for the husband , otherwise we would have shared the dona ...

The kachoris were crisp and thick , stuffed with a spicy lentil masala mix, broken into 4-5 pieces and dunked into a light but spicy gravy of potatoes . He topped it with some fried red chillies and a dollop of thin green chutney . For Arvind he added a dollop of sweet tamarind chutney after inquiring...

I can still feel the aroma of this dona full of hot tang , something which transported me to another world...This stall is there just for an hour or so in the morning , look out for this mobile cart with a banner like the picture ( bad picture quality is regretted) can't miss the smiling Pawan Kashyap behind the cart...

The best part is , the plates are made of fresh leaves and the cart is quite clean , you can see a dirty duster behind the donas but this is after everything has been finished... and the duster has worked hard .They collect the used donas in a bucket tucked under the cart . I liked the approach , keeping the surroundings clean and using environment friendly plates..

I made this kachori the next weekend at home , my low oil version , and it was lacking that crisp and crumbling texture but we liked the taste as my guess towards the spice mix was quite good.

Another place we find really good in Haridwar is the Hoshiarpuri dhaba at upper road . We have been there years ago and found the food equally great this time too . While the makhni and shahi sounding things are not our thing , and they taste almost the same everywhere , what we like in this place is the vast variety of parathas . The parathas are made in the tandoor and the parathe wali gali of old Delhi looks like a gloomy slum paratha gali when compared to these...really.. I never liked the parathas in the parathe wali gali FYI...

Paratahs at Hoshiarpuri are a refreshing change and we did a second round of breakfast that day just for the sake of it...One aloo paratha and one aloo pyaz ka paratha with a bowl of plain curds we shared .... heaven on my plate...The butter visible on the paratha is just smeared after tandoor it is light enough.

The signboard says Hoshiarpuri hotel but it is actually a dhaba/restaurant . The service is good and tables clean . Good food makes up for everything else. Interestingly , this place gets a lot of guests in the dinner time and you are given waiting list number . The number is displayed on a digital screen just below this red signboard and people keep waiting till their turn comes. We waited for our turn this time too . Last time we had parathas there about 12 years ago and there was no apparent change we could notice .... how some places are timeless .

We find many small towns not changing with time and Haridwar is one great example even though there is a lot of tourist footfall in these foothills ....

Another great ting to try in the lanes of Haridwar is the thickened milk they sell in kulhars (earthen glasses) . We went to one such doodhwala/chaiwala many times during our stay . The chai used to be very sugary , almost like a syrup but we liked it there ...may be because we were walking all the time...The milk was something we both love to have . Hot , thickened ( reduced) to a pink hue , served with malai ... we had it unsweetened...

This small shop was tucked in the narrow lane called  lower road i guess . There was no name and no landmark i remember right now . There are many doodhwalas with a huge kadai in the front of the shop and you can judge by yourself which one is good...most of them are decently good as milk and milk products seem to be great in this place...there are many ashrams and many goshalas (cow shelters) in the city...

There are so many things to eat and if you like fried food there are a lot of things you would want to explore . We found a nice chaat stall at the crossing of subzi mandi , didn't try the chaat as we were already full but the chaat vendor was being mobbed like a celebrity and we guessed it should have been great .... we have had chaats in Haridwar in our previous visits and it is always good .

The things i would advise to ignore is the thandai the vendors on the upper road sell . Mishrambu is a much better choice if you haven't had thandai at Banaras. The chotiwala restaurant is just like any other place serving the usual suspects named makhni and shahi... Local flavors are not that tough to find when there is so much variety...go by your own instinct..  

A few khomcha walas ( vendors carrying a round tray on their head and a makeshift tripod to rest the tray over it when they choose to sit ) were selling mullberries and i could not resist ...i so wish they would come to Delhi so that i can make my preserves and sauces to go with our plain vanilla ice cream... Try and make a quick preserve with mulberries by cooking them with sugar . I do it quickly in the MW till it gets saucy and a nice colorful sweet n tart flavorful sauce is ready in a jiffy....

Make do with this picture of the mulberry khomcha here ...

Nicely arranged with green leaves as a base , the smoke is from the dhoop stick the vendors use for reasons unknown to me ... Take a closer look at the luscious mulberries...

I am reminded of the phalsas we used to get in Simla about 30 years ago . Do they still sit in a corner of the mall having a tokri full of phalse ? I was a kid then and it feels like a century has passed since then ... I wonder why these berries are not transported and marketed well in our country ... I know these berries ferment quickly but modern packaging and early picking could be helpful and what about making nice preserves with them....Or it is simply more convenient for everybody to use synthetic squashes and drinks with synthetic colors ....

Feeling like making a phalse ka sharbat right now...


  1. hi Sangeeta,
    Hope you are doing good,reading the post was nothing less than a travel show which features food of various places :P your write up literally transported me to Haridwar and the street food lured me to go there atleast once in my life time :)
    Beautiful post and lovely pictures.

  2. Sangeeta!
    That Kachori must have been fabulous!
    Have not had these berries in decades.

  3. Gosh, this is torture! Loved the post and the description! The kachoris look absolutely mouth watering and so did the rabdi!
    The photographs are great too, make me want to make a trip to Haridwar just to taste all these local flavours :)

    Loved the quick recipe to make mulberry sauce.
    But I enjoyed paranthas in Paranthe wali gali in Delhi 22 years ago, this parantha also looks absolutely, cruelly delicious.

  4. @IHM
    Let's go there together and spoil ourselves...

    I really dint like the parathas at parathe wali gali and couldn't understand why they are so over hyped. May be you need to go there again as may be now they have deteriorated...

  5. Would love to make a sinful,mouthwatering trip like this :)

  6. WOWOWOWWOWOWOW .. you do make sure that people likeme drool over food and then curse why we came to uk :(..

    beautiful pics and I would love ot eat all those kachoris and the paranthas yummmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  7. ha ha Bikram.... i know you can cook and make the parathas at least . Take some extra butter today to justify :)

  8. Bahut na-insafi hai :-(. Reading your travelogue and looking at the pictures I literally feel like visiting Haridwar right away... :)

  9. Sangeeta, My mouth is watering at those kachoris!! Looks like you had a wonderful trip--I was wondering where you had disappeared!

    Also, the parathas at parathawali gali are over hyped IMO, they don't taste anything like parathas!

    And I sometimes used to find falsas in Sarojini Nagar too...never had them in Shimla....

  10. Thanks GB...the phalse wala comes to my doorstep here sometimes . I am eating a mango and phalsa salad right now :)

  11. Wow very tempting food. This also brought back memories of my visit to Haridwar.

    Those mulberries look divine.

  12. sangeeta, another Highway on my plate ON web, thanks a lot, tempting me to make a visit to the north,, expecting more pics soon

  13. i loved the fact that our street food has not moved to horrid styrofoam and plastic disposables yet...praying that they remain so for ever

  14. Absolutely Sudha....but this is not the case with all our Indian cities . Poly bags , styrofoam bowls and plates and even plastic forks and spoons used unnecessarily make me cringe at many places i could easily enjoy the kachori in that leaf dona and than flat wooden scoop , imagine if it was accompanied with a plastic fork n spoon :)

  15. Happy to see that you and Arvind thoroughly enjoyed this short trip to Haridwar. According to me,this is a perfect kind of outing...not bogged down with the compulsion of places to see and things to do. Just a few days of relaxation and enjoying good food :) :) :)This kind of post is not exactly conducive with my weight loss plan...right now I am juggling with the idea of having either Kachoris or Aalo parathas for dinner tonight :)

  16. Ha ha ...infectious post it is . After seeing a few comment on the kachori post even Arvind wants kachoris for dinner today :)

  17. its been so long since i went haridwar,..;-)enjoyed reading ur post

  18. loved this post :) makes me want to be your travel companion sometime in the future ;) eating my way through the streets... love the yummy food pics.

  19. @ Rajani ..okay then...we'll go together whenever you come to India .

  20. Looks delicious, makes me want to visit Haridwar myself!

    Btw they burn the incense to keep flies and other bugs away.

  21. Hi ,

    I am from Pune but my home town is haridwar, I Visit after every 2-3 years, One more thing of haridwar is famous which you missed is Chole (sukhe (dry)). This guy use to sell chole in Moti bazzar but since couple of years I have not seen him. I still am ready to pay Rs. 1000 for a single plate it was so delicious.

  22. Hi Mohan...i wish i could get hold of that chhole too. Some simple food can be so delicious it remains in your memory for ever..i can so understand....reminded me of some of my own old favorites.

  23. so informative....
    tnk u madam...

  24. Hi Sangeeta,
    What a detailed food blog! You made my day. I am a food blogger myself
    and it was a pleasure reading about the food of Haridwar. Will visit the places you mentioned in my visit soon. Thanx...

  25. Yes it's still in Shimla and upper areas of shimla...I miss it too.