Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Food in Gujarat

When I went to Gujarat, I wanted to partake of the typical Gujarati food. And also check how the restaurants' food compared to the ones experienced at Hyderabad. As I am a vegetarian, here are the different vegetarian options I tried there.
My plans aside, what I happened to start with was this charming place called Cheval Cafe and Lounge with few indoor games laid out on different tables, casual low seating, a huge screen...generally a place where youngsters could let their hair down. And the food? Was simply awesome!

             Russian Salad at Cheval Cafe & Lounge, Ahmedabad 

Pasta stuffed Pizza at Cheval Cafe & Lounge, Ahmedabad 

A mocktail at Cheval Cafe & Lounge, Ahmedabad

Khichu and Dhokla, Gujarati steamed delights at Alpha Mall, Ahmedabad
When I visited the Law Garden area for the street food and shopping, I visited the only stall selling Gujarati and Kutchi food and tasted this.

Bajri no Rotlo and Thota at Law Garden, Ahmedabad

Kathod at Law Garden, Ahmedabad

I made it a point to go to Swati Snacks, a Mumbai based eatery, and highly recommended by friends. A look at the menu below would confirm this place to be slightly on the expensive side. Ordered for their famous Panki Chatni. The taste was similar to our rava dosa, steamed in layers of banana leaf and had a hot and sour flavor to it. Very heavy for one person as it had about five layers.

The Mumbai famous Swati Snacks at Ahmedabad

Panki Chatni at Swati Snacks, Ahmedabad

Panki Chatni at Swati Snacks, Ahmedabad

This humble breakfast of poori, aloo deserves a special mention as the aloo jeera was awesome in taste with a  pinch of sugar added to the curry to spike its flavors. Awesome breakfast served in my room at Hotel Oasis.

Poori, Aloo Jeera at Oasis Hotel, Bhuj

On way to Mandvi beach, I requested my cab driver to show me a typical Kuthci food outlet as we were in the Kutch region. He made a few queries with his friends around Mandvi and drove down to this Aadesh Dhaba & Restaurant. The two of us ate for a grand total of 213/- for Rotis, two curries, and butter milk. The curries came with very unique and sharp taste.

Aadesh Dhaba, Mandvi, Kutch

Aadesh Dhaba, Mandvi, Kutch
Ringana Msala, Rajwadi Dhokri , Tawa roti, Lasan ki Chutney at Aadesh Dhaba, Mandvi, Kutch

Khichidi loaded with ghee, Lasan ki chutney and Achaar at Oasis Hotel, Bhuj

Oasis had attached to it, a South Indian restaurant famous in Gujarat, the Sankalp. It emulates the chutneys that we find in our own Chutneys' restaurant but I found no match in taste. I avoided South Indian food throughout my tour but gave in to this as a last and quick snack before I boarded my train back.

Sankalp, a South Indian restaurant at Oasis Hotel, Bhuj
This is definitely among the hidden jewels across India. In my quest for handicrafts and other priceless work from deep rural pockets of Gujarat, I happened to visit Bhirandiyara with a total population of less than 2500 and here is what I found.
The only place in Gujarat where Mawa is sold in its purest form. No maida, no dry nothing...only milk boiled and boiled till its reduced to this form with sugar. And the price? Unbelievable at 200 per kg!

The famous Mawa at Bhirandiyara


Pakwaan vs Gordhan vs Agashiye. 200 vs 250 vs 670. 
The bigger the restaurant the smaller the thali size. For those going to Ahmedabad, the good old Gordhan is the answer if you do not have the time to try all of them.

Gordhan Thaal, Ahmedabad

Accompaniments at Gordhan Thaal, Ahmedabad

Gordhan Thaal, Ahmedabad

Agashiye Thali at The House of MG, Ahmedabad

Pakwan Thali, Ahmedabad

Pakwan Thali, Ahmedabad
After days of Gujarati food, finally Punjabi fare at an unbelievable price of 210/- for this whole platter of 5 kinds of kababs, four each! Can never imagine this quantity for the price in mana Hyderabad!

Sumptuous Paneer Platter from the kitchen of Hotel Atithi, Ahmedabad
And finally, the bring-home snacks from the most famous snack house in Ahmedabad

Induben Khakrawala, CG Road, Ahmedabad
To sum up

  • I found the Gujaratis as much of foodies as our Hyderabadis are. My conclusion is drawn from the huge number of restaurants found there
  • The vegetarian options outnumber the non-vegetarian ones. 
  • What I also liked is the quantities per serve. Huge! And therefore truly VFM as the prices were almost half those of Hyderabad. 
  • The not so good thing about Gujarat is the price of tea. A place which is known for its milk production, has its tea priced so high, it is amazing. They have not heard of  Rs.5/- tea at all. The mimimum price for tea even in a road side stall is 10/. And if one were to ask for a special tea which, in our case, was nothing but tea with slightly less sugar, the price can go up to even 20/- . So my usual tea drinking option when I travel came down drastically. 
  • What I found common with Hyderabad is the paan...a mind boggling array of paan leaves and flavors starting from 10/...and all of them wonderfully flavored. 
I hope this post of mine, is helpful to guide tourists to Gujarat to some extent.