Calling #NRIs visiting Amritsar: 15 dishes you must try

There’s something magical about the air of Amritsar. The city where the sun rises around the noon and sets past midnight spoils you with its great hospitality. 

​Amritsar is not only famous for woollens, apparel, and Golden Temple but food as well. From swanky pubs in the poshest corners to dingy, small shops in old alleys of the city, there’s something for everyone.

Amritsar food trail
A foodie's paradise – Amritsar has something for everyone. Photo: Connected to India

If you are a foodie who loves to explore the city through small eateries, then this one is for you. This article will take you inside the old lanes of Amritsar, where cars can’t barge in and walking down to the destination is the only way out. With houses on both the sides, every lane has its own smell – (of spices, flour, incense sticks etc.) and trust us they never disappoint you.

Here are 15 foods that are available at humble setups in Amritsar, but totally hygienic and high on taste:

Sohal fish and Murg Malai tikka at Makhan: Makhan is the best place to eat fish in Amritsar. A small restaurant that offers city’s specialty – Sohal fish (try tandoori version), it’s succulent, mildly flavoured and cooked to perfection. Murg Malai tikka is tender and light, soft enough to melt in your mouth. The desi version of KFC chicken – chicken pakora is another dish that Makhan offers. The restaurant is located on Majitha Road, Amritsar.

Fruit cake at Gupta Bakery: You must have eaten fruits cakes, but this one will change your definition of fruit cakes. With a shelf life of just 24 hours, these ultra-soft cakes melt in your mouth. An entire box of cake will vanish in seconds. That’s a bet! Gupta Bakery is located at Majitha Road in Amritsar.

Golden Temple in Amritsar
You will mostly find vegetarian eateries in the proximity of Golden Temple. Photo: Connected to India

Cream puff at Bakewell Bakery: The warm puffs filled with cold cream (light as a breeze) will disappear in the mouth, leaving you asking for more. You won’t even realise that you have eaten an entire puff. The bakery is quite accessible at Lawrence Road in Amritsar.

Kulfa at A-One: You must have had Kulfi or Kulfi Faluda, but Kulfa is the father of both (सब का बाप) with Kulfi, Faluda and Rabri.  Kulfa is served in pure white bone china plates, taking you to the colonial times. One spoon of Kulfa is enough to brain freeze you. The fun will just double up with a statement from the owner – when you try to pay him while taking the plate. “Penhe khaan to baad” (pay once you have had your food). A-One is located at Queens Road in Amritsar.

Chole Pudi and Gur, Gajar Halva at Kanha Sweets: The amazing part about eating in Amritsar is that every shop has its own specialty and they offer only selected items. The food is limited and served until a specific time. To eat Chole Pudi at Kanha, you must reach the place early in the morning as otherwise, you would have to wait in the queue or worse the food will finish before you getting a place. The Pudi here is bigger than Bhaturas, fried in desi ghee, but light on the stomach. 

The Chole Pudi come with Longi (a sweet and sour potato curry) that tastes heavenly. It has a strong flavour of sauf (aniseed) and imli (tamarind). Kanji Gajar (carrots dipped in fermented water) will add the extra zing to the plate of Chole Pudi. Don’t just hog on Pudis as Gur, Gajar Halva is irresistible. This Gajar Halva is cooked using gur (jaggery) not sugar and a specialty of Kanha Sweets, which is a ninety years old establishment. The shop is located at Dayanand Nagar in Amritsar.

Breakfast options in Amritsar
From Chole Pudi to Kulche Chole, Amritsar offers a lot of breakfast options. Photo: Connected to India

Papdi Chaat and Bun Tikki at Brijwasi: Established in 1958, Brijwasi Chaat offers Papdi Chaat, Gol Gappe and Bun Tikki (potato patty placed inside the bun). Gol Gappe are ok but Papdi Chaat is just fun. It only comprises boiled potatoes, crispy papdi, curd, sweet and sour chutney, a special masala is sprinkled over the chaat. Bun Tikki has buns shallow fried in desi ghee with tikki (also fried in desi ghee) along with two types of chutneys. You can even buy the masala packs from the shop if you just can’t get over it.

Chicken at Billa: This small dingy shop near Hakima Gate in Sheher, Amritsar makes sure that you get the best tandoori chicken in town. As soft as fish tikka, you can’t get enough of this dish. One plate chicken is never enough.

Amritsari Kulcha, Chole at Monu Kulcha: Another breakfast point at Loharka Road, Gumtala, Amritsar. This is the best place to eat Amritsari Kulcha with Chole. You might have to really sweat it out to get your kulcha straight from the tandoor as the counter is already crowded. Once you place an order, your order number and time is then written on the board placed on the counter. The key to enjoy this crisp kulcha is to be patient and crumble it before eating. Don’t forget to take multiple helpings of watery sour onion salad. Mix it with chole and see your mouth salivating. 

Thali and Matka Kulfi at Kesar ka Dhaba: The place due to its proximity to Golden Temple only offers vegetarian food. It is the only place where non-vegetarians forget the meat and relish vegetarian stuff. The second USP of this place is that the ‘chulha’ (cooking stove) is always on and the third thing it’s extremely heavy on ghee (recipe: 1 spoon daal or palak and two spoon ghee). Some might find the food over the top, but that’s the specialty of the place. Mataka kulfi is a must try, which is served in small earthen pots and beautifully packed. Finding a place to sit even during midnight can be a real task here.

Sev Puri at Bombay Chat: Eating Sev puri in Amritsar has its own charm that too at Bombay Chat. A small shop located near the flyover of Crystal Chowk, this place only offers Sev puri. A bit costly as per the local standards, but totally worth. You won’t mind shelling out some extra money to treat your taste buds. Tell the guy that you are an outsider and see the difference. He will make an extra special plate for you. 

Chat Papdi  and sweets in Amritsar
Be it chat papdi or sweets, there's everything to satiate your cravings. Photo: Connected to India

Mutton Chaap, tikka and Magaz (brain) at Adarsh meat shop: There are certain places in Amritsar that offer the best mutton chaap and tikka in the city – Mohan Singh, Sundar and Adarsh. You have to be lucky to find Mohan Singh (Google Maps along with local help) will help you locate this place. Sundar and Adarsh are located quite accessible. Adarsh Meat shop is located at Ranjit Avenue. It offers Mutton Chaap (meat is taken from ribs, is mixed with spices and cooked on slow heat). Mutton tikkas are equally sumptuous and Magaz (brain) will set new taste standards for you.

One can buy the famous vadiyan and papad from Ujagar Singh near Golden Temple. For pickle and sharbat check out the nearby Madaan shop.

Disclaimer: Like mentioned before, all these eateries offer selected and limited food till and specific time. Reaching before time will help you find a place. Avoid visiting these places during weekends.