Sarafa -the midnight Foodie’s dream at Indore
I usually travel for my work across India and it gives me chance to explore the local cuisines of the region . During one such visit to central India, my gastronomical love affair persuaded me to visit the historic city of Indore. Fondly known as the Land of Poha -Jalebi , vegetarian snacks, chaat and sweets, Indore is also the host for the India’s only Midnight Food extravaganza, the Sarafa Bazaar.
Situated near the historic Rajwada Palace, the 250 year old testimony of Holkar Dynasty , Sarafa Bazaar is city’s most prominent jewelry market. But every day after 8 PM, it turns into a vegetarian Foodies heaven, with rows of street vendors seting up their food stalls, throughout the narrow lane, serving varieties of vegetarian snacks, savories, chaats and sweets from 8 pm in the evening till 2 am in the night.
“Well like any other first time visitor , even I was inquisitive about how it all started.Though no one was very sure but some locals told me that it all started perhaps 100 years ago , when the jewelry merchants allowed the street vendors to operate and sell food during night as they felt that with such hustle and bustle on the street, their shops will be safer.
It was 8 in the evening when we reached Sarafa and the place was already bustling with foodies from all walks of life. We were delighted to see Police patrol at the venue , making it a safer place.
Here’s my list of Must haves while you visit this iconic mid night food arena though there is much more to explore and relish. Do remember to carry cash for your food transactions.
Jaleba – the extra large juicy Jalebi , I would humorously call it the “Baap of Jalebi” that would require at least couple of persons to finish it.Garadu Chaat – Deep fried crispy Yam slices,seasoned with Indian Jiralu Masala and lemon juice. It is a seasonal winter favorite of the local folks.
Indori Shahi Shikanji – the name similarity with the Virgin Mojito of India a.k.a Nimbu Shikanji , will baffle most of the non-indorians as it bears no similarity with the lemony drink. This perfect local cooler is made with Rabdi ,milk ,saffron, and cardamom served cold with lot of dry fruits.
Best Bet: Nagori
Dahi Bada – Perhaps the best one can have in the life time , each bite of soft vadas is a mouthful of delight, not easy to explain in words.
Best Bet: Joshi Bada House
Coconut Crush – made with the coconut malai (meat) and coconut water in a mixer , is perfect drink for all seasons.The best part is that the coconuts are sourced from local markets of my city, Bangalore.
Best Bet: Naveen Bhaiyya
For the connoisseurs of Pan, this place has lot of offer.One could try array of pans, with some unheard flavors like Litchi, Orange, Mango , Strawberry and Green apple along with the usual Maghai ones.
Apart from my favourites, you can also find some good desi Chinese , Chana Zor Garam, Soya chaap , Fruit Salad, mixed berries chat, Shahi Parantha, Sandwiches , Khaman dhokla among others.
Sarafa Bazaar is paradise for vegetarians and soul of the Food scene in Indore. And with its some unique culinary offerings , the visit here becomes mandatory for any gourmand in the city. During my visit, I could feel the warmth and hospitality of the food stall owners who would explain the dishes with smile and even offered to taste and click photos for me. No wonder , the vibrant Sarafa Bazar is the iconic landmark of this beautiful city of Indore and mecca for Street food lovers.