Varanasi may be a holy city but it’s also paradise for food enthusiasts. Most shops that line the streets open early in the morning and begin serving snacks and breakfast like kachori-sabzi and chura matar. Kachori-sabzi and jalebi is also a part of the religious celebration called Subah-e-Banaras. If you’re visiting Varanasi, leave your calorie consciousness behind. Here are some dishes that you must try if you’re in the city:

Kachori-sabzi and jalebi is a sought-after street food combination in Varanasi. Crispy kachoris with piping hot sabzi and jalebis is deemed to be Varanasi’s favourite breakfast. Stalls selling these treats can be found in the narrow lanes of the city (that are fondly called Banaras ki galiyan) instead of at larger restaurants. Ram Bhandar is one of the oldest kachori-sabji stalls and is situated close to the Manikarnika Ghat; the place has been serving the popular breakfast combination for more than 150 years.

Chura matar

Made with poha (flattened rice), peas, milk and a generous amount of desi ghee, chura matar is a popular winter breakfast in Varanasi. It can be found at shops in Old Banaras that also sell other street food like tamatar ki chaat, aloo tikki and gulab jamun. To make chura matar, poha is rinsed and then soaked in milk and cream for a few minutes. Desi ghee is heated in a kadai, to which spices are added. The peas go in after that and once they are cooked, the soaked poha is added and cooked until it’s fluffy. The final dish is garnished with dried fruits and fresh coriander.

Gajar ka halwa

Winters are made sweeter as cooks begin to prepare gajar ka halwa in their kitchens and sweet shops begin to sell the treat. Gajar ka halwa is made by boiling milk and reducing it, then adding grated carrots and cooking the mixture. Later, sugar and cardamom powder are added. The mixture is cooked until the carrots appear glazed. Some people also add khoya. Most sweet shops in Varanasi sell gajar ka halwa, which is especially popular during the winter. Gooey halwa topped with cashews makes the ideal sweet for when it’s freezing. 

Aloo tikki chaat

There’s no dearth of chaatwalas in Varanasi and the aloo tikki chaat found in the city is among the best in the country. Crispy tikki doused in yogurt and tangy chutneys makes a tasty meal that most people can’t resist. In Varanasi, places like Kashi Chaat Bhandar are known for selling the snack. Other places that sell aloo tikki chaat in the city include Dena Chaat Bhandar, Bhaukal Chaat House and Ganesh Chaat Bhandar. Besides these, even smaller shops sell aloo tikki chaat. 

Malpua

It is believed that malpua, a dessert eaten especially during Holi, was inspired by pitha. It was also adopted by the Mughals and some people even believe that the British enjoyed malpua as it resembled maple syrup pancakes. Sweet shops like Ksheer Sagar and Shree Madhu Bahar are known to sell the sweet treat in Varanasi.