Bikaner has a treasure trove of scrumptious delicacies which is part of its local cuisine – from pickles and chooran to delicious desserts like kesar kulfi and ghevar. Here are some of the best picks
Headed to Rajasthan any time soon? If you’re stopping by Bikaner, don’t miss out on the city’s exceptional cuisine, which is famed for its flavorful and hearty traditional dishes characterised by their bold and robust flavours, with a focus on locally available ingredients.
Bikaneri Bhujia is easily one of the most famous dishes available there, but some other heritage recipes from Marwari cuisine and delicacies like Dal Baati Churma, and kesar kulfi etc are also popular and loved by tourists.
Though the city’s savouries are its most popular, due to the arid climate of the region, Bikaneri cuisine is also known for producing an abundant range of preserved and sun-dried foods like papad and pickles. The local cuisine is best known for its bold flavours, be it in traditional khasta kachauri, its local curries or even the famous mix of local chooran from the several supari stores that crowd the city. Here are some of the best foods from Bikaner that you need to savour while you’re there
No exploration of Bikaner's cuisine is complete without indulging in the world-famous and GI-tagged Bikaneri Bhujia. This crispy, spicy snack made from gram flour is a staple in almost every household in the country and has gained international acclaim. Its unique flavour, achieved through a perfect blend of spices, makes it a must-try for anyone visiting Bikaner. It also has an interesting origin story.
The story goes that in 1877, Maharaja Shri Dungar Singh of Bikaner commissioned a signature savoury item to treat guests at his palace. The royal bawarchis came up with bhujia; its thin, noodle-like strands are achieved through a specific process of extrusion and frying. The inclusion of spices including cumin, black pepper, and hing contributes to its distinct profile.
Raj Kachori, the crispy, sizeable deep-fried delicacy, is a street food sensation in Bikaner. This oversized puri is stuffed with a savoury mix of sprouts, boiled potatoes, yoghurt, chutneys, and an assortment of spices. Although it’s widely available across mithai shops in Bikaner, Vyas Colony’s Heeralal Restaurant and Kote Gate stops like Bishanlal Babulal Namkeen Bhandar and Bhikharam Chandmal are the most popular destinations for fresh raj kachori.
Dal Baati Churma
This is easily the most popular Rajasthani meal comprising a delicious, spiced, savoury dal that’s served with baati or hard wheat rolls, and churma (a sweet powdered cereal). The baatis are baked in an open flame, or in a tandoor until golden brown which gives them their signature smokiness. You can find reasonably priced dal baati meals almost anywhere in Bikaner but some shops near the Junagarh Fort are known for selling the best dal baat churma.
Gatte Ki Sabzi
The delicious, savoury Gatte Ki Sabzi is a unique Rajasthani curry made with gram flour dumplings. The dumplings, or "gatte," are first boiled and then sliced before being added to the spicy yoghurt-based gravy. The dish is a burst of spices and is often enjoyed with roti or rice. Although it’s a household specialty across Rajasthan the best place to sample it in Bikaner is undoubtedly Laxmi Niwas Palace near Lal Garh Campus
Kalmi Vada is a popular street food in Bikaner. These deep-fried, crispy lentil dumplings are seasoned with a special blend of spices, making them a delicious and satisfying snack. The kalmi vadas are often paired with tangy chutneys, adding an extra layer of flavour. Your best bet for most savoiry items in Bikaner would be the shops in the old neighbourhood; however, some heritage properties also showcase authentic recipes
Ghevar is a traditional Rajasthani sweet that holds a special place in Bikaner's culinary landscape. This disc-shaped sweet is made from all-purpose flour and soaked in sugar syrup. Bikaner is known for its special varieties of ghevar, including plain, malai, and mawa ghevar. Most ghevar variants are made to be shelf-stable and can be carried back but if you want freshly-made ghevar, try Station Road’s Chhappan Bhog or Bhujia Bazar’s Gulabchand Finiwala
Papad Ki Sabzi
Papad Ki Sabzi is a unique Rajasthani dish that turns humble papads into a delicious curry. The papads are broken into pieces and cooked in spiced yoghurt gravy and it’s usually paired with simple chapatis or tawa-smoked rotis
Bikaneri Mirch Ke Tapore
Though this is often categorised as a chaat component, mirch ke tapore are actually a savoury snack. These are essentially spicy stuffed chili fritters and are a popular street food, featuring a filling of gram flour, spices, and herbs. Any eatery near Bapu Colony or Station Road that serves mirchi ke vade should sell mirch ke tapore too.
One of the hidden culinary gems in Bikaner is the Kali Mai Hotel in Matka Gali; the Keema Puri is probably the most famous item there which is available at less than Rs 50! Besides that you can also find some scrumptious non-vegetarian dishes such as Keema Kaleji and a Bikaneri mutton which is made from a 110-year-old recipe
Though Laal Maas is usually associated with the neighbouring city of Jodhpur, Bikaner has some reasonably priced, authentic Laal Maas renditions available across city eateries. Laal maas, literally translating to "red meat," is a spicy mutton curry which is made with the fiery red chilli paste made from ‘Mathania red chilli.’ The curry in Laal Maas is slow-cooked to allow the flavours to meld and to let the meat tenderise.