The food of any place defines its culture. Varanasi is a city that wakes up early along with the sunrise, making breakfast the most important meal of the day. People typically opt for ‘kachori sabzi’ and ‘jalebi’, or ‘idli vada’ for breakfast. Even some may enjoy their meal at quiet and cozy cafes around the city. Throughout the city you will find many snack shops for the evening, starting from ‘golgappas’ to ‘tamatar chaat’. Sweets made from milk are very famous and you should try the ‘lassi’ or ‘malaiyyo’. Travellers can dedicate their whole trip to the cuisine; and here are a few items you can try while visiting Varanasi:

  • Lassi– it is a drink made of curd from fresh milk and it is best for the summertime when you are looking for a refreshing drink. You will find the city filled with ‘lassi’ shops, but the best one to try is from Pehelwaan Lassi in Lanka or in Ramnagar. You may also find the best ones in some tiny shops which are invisible to the eye, in the old parts of the city.
  • Malaiyyo– is a sweet dish made from milk; looks like yellow clouds and tastes amazing. You can also try this from Pehelwaan Lassi and also some shops from the old city.
  • Thandai– is a drink made from many ingredients like almonds, fennel seeds, rose petals, cardamom, saffron and milk and is a must-try. You can enjoy this drink when you are in Gadawliya. The road crossing is lined with these shops. You can try out bhang ‘Thandai’ too if you are looking for a trip of a different kind.
  • Rabri– is a sweet dish made entirely out of condensed milk. It’s best to be tried from Amma Papa Lassi in Shivala.
  • Peda– is a sweet made from milk which is mostly used for religious purposes. But if you have a sweet tooth you must go for it at Sankat Mochan; especially go for the laal ‘peda’.
  • Kachori Sabzi and Jalebi– you should try this for breakfast. The city is laced with shops selling hot ‘kachori sabzi’ in the morning and the best ones are in Kachori Gali. Try out the one in Ram Bhandar.
  • Bati Chokha– is a dish made from wheat flour and sided with mashed boiled potato, served with ghee, onions and chillies. It is a food native to these areas and is a must-try. Baati Chokha Restaurant is famous for its varieties and you can also try it out in a particular ‘Thela’ behind Nagar Nigam Park in Sigra.
  • Chaat– is a savory dish and comes in many varieties like ‘alu chaat’, ‘tamatar chaat’, ‘papdi chaat’, ‘tikiya chaat’, et cetera. You can choose from many options at Deena Chaat Bhandar serving the best near Gadawliya.
  • Dahi Vada-is a snack made from lentils and curd. Try this dish at various places in the city.
  • Chura Matar– is a dish made of flattened rice and green peas. This dish can be had at both breakfasts and as evening snacks.
  • Banarsi Paan– is a preparation of betel leaves along with many ingredients and is to be had after completing a meal. Banarsi sweet paan is famous and is a must-try.
  • Tea– taste the tea made from fresh milk in ‘kulhad’ (clay cups) all over Varanasi. The best tea shops are in Assi- Kashi Café and Dada’s tea. You can also try lemon tea at Pappu’s in Assi Ghat.
  • Bhog– there are places where you can have food. Bhog is food that was offered to the Gods as prayer and is served as the completion of a ritual. Annapurna Temple is one such place where you can get bhog in the noon time.
  • Cafes– Varanasi is filled with cafes as it is always swarming with tourists. The famous ones are Bengali Tola and Assi. Opt for Open Hand Café and Mark’s Café if you looking for a good breakfast along with some handcrafted items to buy; Karki’s Café for homemade pasta; Caarvaan Restaurant, Itihaas Alley Kitchen for Indian food; Ashish Café and Haifa Restaurant for Indian thalis (try the chocolate-banana pancake at Ashish’s Pizzeria Vaatika Café for thin crust tandoor pizza and apple-pie; German Bakery & Shiva Café and Brown Bread Bakery for bakery items; Kerala Café and Ayyar’s Café for South-Indian cuisine; Shanti Restaurant, Aum Café and Bona Café for Korean and Japanese cuisine; Roma’s Café, Jyoti Café, Amn-e-Khaas for all kinds of dishes. These places not only serve good food but also come with good views and friendly environments.
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