Plan your next food walk in Lucknow's Chowk and explore these hidden gems!
For an outsiders perspective, Chowk is basically Tunday Kebabs. However, we took a trip down to the famous historic lanes of Chowk to bring you a bunch of things that will not only be new for tourists, but also for Lucknowites! Now that the winters are here, you can certainly plan your own foodwalk and let your taste buds go on an adventure of their own.
Start off light with some kaleji, dil and bheja
When in Chowk, it can be very easy to lose sight of the smaller shops because of all the hustle and bustle. However surprising as it may sound, the smaller & more quaint shops are the ones that deserve your attention.
One such stall is a small little thela at the side of the road. Though it's easy to miss, you can find it easily if you just keep walking down the lane and look to your right when you see heaps of rusk kept to a side.
Once you gather the heart to eat an actual dil, go ahead and try this bite sized snack. With a rather smokey, grilled texture and a meaty flavour, the dil will steal your taste buds away. For those of you looking for a more strong flavour, go for the kaleji, which has a zesty taste once paired with the minty chutney.
If you want something more to munch on, you can take a right from the stall and find a singular shop selling freshly made seekh kebabs. They are just perfect for munching without getting your stomach full and while you take in the sights of Chowk, a seekh kebab in hand is the way to do it.
Wash it down with some Paya from Shakeel's
Now that you've got your taste buds tingling, keep heading straight until you see the third lane on the right. From here, continue forward and take the next lane on the left, which is where you'll see a few small food shops. The downtrodden paya store should be noticeable due to the wafting aromas.
In the winters, there are very few things that can get Lucknowites back on their feet. One of them happens to be paya, which is a soupy, brothy dish made out of lamb shanks hoofs. The muted yet distinct taste that paya has is enough to make you an instant fan of the place itself.
Something for the vegetarians at the Chauraha near the Mandir
People have this common misconception that Chowk has nothing for the vegetarian foodie. Once you pay a visit to these stalls, you'll be proved wrong. He serves probably the best aloo poori in town along with a freshly cut salad, which gives it that oh-so-special taste that you crave.
Along the same road, you can even find veg kebabs served with paratha- as a roll or otherwise. Tunday may be the holy grail of kebabs but Mohammed makes the same taste and texture accessible to vegetarians as well.
Once you've satiated yourself here, head back along the same road and take a left, which is where you'll be greeted by a sight that you can't miss- Sabir Kashmiri Chai.
Take a break from munching at Sabir's Kashmiri Chai
Upon first glance, you will see a weird sort of a contraption that seems quite out of place in Chowk. That would actually be a kettle, which is built specifically for the purpose of making the heavenly Kashmiri Chai.
The process of making this special tea is actually quite interesting. In the massive contraption, milk and other ingredients are infused with actual, real rose petals, which is what gives the warm chai the bright bubblegum pink shade.
Having the chai is an especially rewarding experience in itself as it is served in several different forms and during the winters, this is all you need to pick yourself up. In fact, you can also go for chai with malai, which adds to the texture. With a very mild taste, the malai enhances the texture and heft of the chai, which is what won our hearts.
Main course blues at either Alfaaz's Pasande or Shahmudin Khichda
Now that you've walked around, and built up an appetite, it's time for the main course. What better way to let go of your worries and treat yourself than at Alfaaz's Pasande outlet. The place is situated just straight ahead from the Kashmiri Chai point, so you shouldn't miss it.
The Pasande themselves are a delight for the taste buds. Slightly grilled on the outside, making them crispy and melt in the mouth from the inside, these are perfect with a couple of Rumali Rotis by your side.
If you're feeling rather adventurous, then you can try Shahmudin Bhai's Khichda. Though the dish is not for everyone, there are some takers for it and Shahmudin has probably the best one in town. His shop is easy to miss, so be on the lookout for it right opposite Tunday Kebabi.
Satiate your sweet tooth
If you're one with a sweet tooth, then Chowk in the winters is like your very own sweet shop. The entire market never ceases to amaze us with everything that it's got, and honestly, we're being spoilt for choice.
When you're here, you can indulge in delicacies such as the much loved Shahi Tukda, the hardly found Kale Gaajar ka Halwa, some exotic Zafrani Kheer or Jouzi Halwa and of course, Lucknow's famous Malai Makhan. Most of these winter delicacies aren't found anywhere but in Lucknow, so if you're a tourist, be on the lookout for these.
You can find each of these at any of the lanes mentioned above, but for Kale Gaajar Ka Halwa, you'll have to walk a bit more. Keep heading left from the lane where Tunday Kebabi is visible and you'll be greeted by a sight that looks a lot like brownies on a tawa.
Zafrani Kheer and Jouzi Halwa can both be found on the opposite direction of the lane, so try that too while you're in the vicinity.
Lucknowites are known for their love of food and one only has to visit Chowk to see how true that statement actually is. The marketplace is always bustling, always crowded and is an abode where you can rest assured that you're going to get the best of colloquial cuisines that Lucknow has to offer.
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