Going on food trails has always been exciting for me, especially while traveling. Soaking in the culture is an essential of my travel experience. Food is an obvious and important part of any culture and tasting local cuisines is hence a must-do in each trip. Keeping aside the hygiene factor for once, let me boldly state that you would find the true essence of local cuisines at roadside dhabas or street vendors. They are the ones who have kept the specialty and authenticity alive. Here is my experience of food trail of Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.
AROUND SHRI KRISHNA JANMBHOOMI
My first food trail experience was in the market at Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi Temple, the very place where Lord Krishna was born to Devki and Vasudev in Kansa’s captivity. I started my chaat spree from a tiny stall named Paras Chaat Bhandar. The honest vendor served great assortment of chaat and of course was reasonably place. Each bite burst with spices in my mouth. Tangy and chilly, I must say that the chaat palate in Uttar Pradesh is the best in India. Infact I had developed a liking for chaat in childhood after I tasted golgappas in U.P.
A scrumptious chaat meal is always followed by desserts and what’s better than hunting for sweets in Mathura. A food trail in Mathura must end with sweets. Being the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the town is known for excellent milk-based sweets Afterall they were the favorites of the Lord. I went searching for peda. Made of khoya (milk residue), sugar and flavoured spices, peda of Mathura is popular across the nation. India’s best pedas are found here.
I went searching for sweets in the market close to Shri Krishna Janambhoomi Temple and there was no dearth of sweet shops. Apparently every second shop in Mathura is named Brijwasi Sweet Shop.
NEAR DWARKADHISH TEMPLE
I ditched all the shops in the vicinity. My hunt for good pedas ended in a peda shop near Dwarkadhish Temple. The brown ones are pure khoya which have shelf-life of 2 weeks and the white ones (covered) have a punch of cloves and they last for 2 months. These pedas just melt in your mouth and I could not restrict myself to just one.
Also, as I said chaat from Uttar Pradesh is the best in India, one cannot afford to miss the crispy kachori here. Stuffed with daal or onion and spices, these crispy bites are served with potato gravy or sweet sauce. The best part, they are served in bowls made of palm tree leaves. Being close to the temple vicinity, most of the shops prepare food without onion but there is high on spices. The fresh preparation on a chilled winter morning was an appealing sight. However I resisted the temptation.
AROUND GOVARDHAN TEMPLE
The following day of my visit to Govardhan Temple, nothing could separate me from sweets again. This time, the sweet shop was a footwear deposit stoppage since the main temple had no footwear counter. I bought peda prasad from here as well.
A sweet shop close to Govardhan Temple was my stop to taste rabri rasmali and khoya rasmalai. I am still drooling.
DELICACIES IN VRINDAVAN
Vrindavan, a town close to Mathura is another place with Lord Krishna’s legacy attached with it. Lord Krishna was brought up in this town away from his biological parents. Home to several temples, Vrindavan too is famous for milk products and one cannot give a miss to lassi. Served in eco friendly kullad (clay glass) the thick creamy lassi is a filling quencher. This was from a tiny shop in the crowded lanes of Vrindavan.
My evening snack comprised aloo tikki chaat in the lanes of Banke Bihari Temple. Chaat never disappoints you in Uttar Pradesh. Trust me!
UP’s main cuisine is hot and spicy which is cooled off by sweets. The spicy level can upset your stomach if you are not used to spices like me. Thanks to my stars I managed to stay put and braved the hotness of the cuisine.
P.S- This trip of mine was in Jan 2018.
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