Amritsar – Spirituality, Sights, history and of course FOOD – by Siddharth Chatrath

As a kid reading those history books I often used to wonder how life would have been at the time when we were governed by the British Raj. As a Dilliwala myself have seen Delhi grow with time. Almost giving away that old world feel except for the some parts which are still very much intact. But somewhere within me I knew there’s still a city which could give me that feel of being very much back there in the history. That’s when one day I came across this city of Amritsar.

Golden Temple

‘Amritsar’ literally a pool of nectar derived its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the fabulous Golden Temple. For first time visitors it can easily seem like an over-sized version of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk. The description that would really hold true in the later part of this blog. 

Now when they say Golden Temple is a must, believe it. Because to start the quest for something, in our case FOOD, you should always be thankful to the all mighty. Now when you step out of this place, the distance from history becomes all the more obvious as you’re thrown into the crazy hustle-bustle of Amritsar. Every city has its buzz and old Amritsar sounds like an old fridge. You would find hundred’s of Bajaj eight-seaters lined up just outside. Just mention FOOD and they would take you places. 

For the start first things first – Start with a glass of Lassi. 

1) Ahuja Lassi  shop located near Hindu mahasabha College serves the best lassi in the country. Started in 1955 and since then all of the visitors are treated to this lassi. Also highly recommended by the real food enthusiasts Rocky and Mayur ( HOMP )without whom I would have never known about this place. Sound like an award speech but am ok with that.

2) Kesar Da Dhaba, Chowk Passion I have to say this and I mean it. If you been to Amritsar and has never visited this place just because someone told you Bharavan or Brothers served much better don’t call yourself Foodies. I highly recommend this place. Kesar Da Dhaba is run by fourth generation and many of the recipes have been passed down in the family since 1916. Never would you find a open fronted kitchen (YES you read that correctly). If you don’t believe me just pay a visit once. Kesar waali Daal, Lachha Paranthas, Stuffed Paranthas, Paneer Bhurji, Palak Paneer on menu welcomes you to this legendary dhaba. Not to forget Phirnis and Gulab Jamun. You can never ever afford to miss this. Just FYI, be prepared to walk or take a rickshaw from outside Golden Temple complex for Rs.10-15.

Menu at Kesar Dhabha

Parantha Thali at Kesar Da Dhabha
Phirnis waiting to be served

3) Bharavan , Brother’s or Bade Bhai ka Brothers Am not bothered which one came first. I don’t recommend this place. I know many of you would disagree but that is fine. Famous for its Amritsari Kulcha, Channa Masala and Daal. Mostly thronged by tourists due to prominent location, which is visible as you return from Golden Temple.   

4) All India Famous Amritsari Kulcha, Maqbool Road As the name suggests by far and away the tastiest Kulcha ever tasted. Kulcha which has filling of potatoes mixed with sliced onions, red and green chillies. Served with dark, imli flavoured chana and piquant salad. No better place to have Amritsari Kulcha than this. 

5) Beera Chicken House, Majitha Road I know many of you would have your reservations after visiting Golden Temple not to have chicken that day. But make it a point you finish with Vegetarian joints on one day and the other day you chance upon the Tandoori Chicken served by Beera. 

6 ) Surjit Food Plaza, Lawrence Road Mr.Surjit Singh is by far the most courteous owner I have ever met . World famous eating joint, recommended by Lonely Planet Publications, BBC , World Cafe Asia, Jet Airways , Kingfisher, and many others. Surjit Food Plaza is famous for almost all its dishes, but Tandoori chicken and Amritsari Fish are beyond comparison. And every conversation with the owner, truly is an experience. Just tell him you have come from all the way from Delhi and he would be like “Ki khaoge mere bacheyo, pehle dasso Non Veg ya Veg? Tuhannu pehlan khilande ne Machi malai machi te for Veg Haryali Paneer tikka”. He has loads of albums with him showing famous celebrities who have visited this place.  He would have his camera ready for the click every time.

No explanation needed.

Fish @ Surjit’s

Yours truly with Surjit Uncle

7) Golden Temple  When we are talking FOOD how could we not mention the Guru Ka Langar served here. Guru Arjan Dev decreed that none of his people in the city should ever have to go to bed hungry and thus began the tradition of Langar (free food). The money is provided by devotees and most cooks are volunteers. It is strongly recommended you stop here for a langar. The most satisfying meal you can have.

Take Aways

8) Ujagar Singh for Varian and Papad And for your takeaways from Amritsar don’t forget to buy some Variya and Papad as well. Some of your dear ones would be happy with these goodies.  You can get a wide variety of same.

9) Puni Lal Aam Papad Lawrence Road :- Now the girls would love this. Aam Papad topped with Lemon Juice, Red Chilli powder and Black Salt. This makes a deadly combination. Highly Recommended!!!

Again, no introduction needed 😀
The spiced up Aam Padad.

Now would be sharing with you some of the other famous joints as well shared by our fellow FEDs from Amritsar. Here I would like to specially thank Jaideep Riar paaji.

10) Kundan Dhaba Near Railway Station.

11) Veg Pakoras outside  Hall Gate or Gandhi Gate where railway over bridge starts.

12) Kanha Sweets Lawrence Road famous for Puri Launji Thalis and Halwa of all types.

13) Prakash Meat, Maqbool Road

14) Brijwasi Chaat, C Block Ranjit Avenue
If you plan on visiting Amritsar, a 2-3 days trip is essential to sample all the delights it has to offer, both as a tourist and as a foodie. 

PS : Will keep modifying and adding to list as new recommendation and information keeps coming in.                                                                                                                                                                         
Text & Pictures by Siddharth Chatrath
Edited by Shashank Aggarwal
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Author: Shashank

CFE – Cheap Food Enthusiast Entrepreneur by birth, hippie by heart he is here just because he loves to eat. This adventurous biker is constantly looking for new avenues to satisfy his insatiable hunger for food & life. Though he loves sugar dense food, there is nothing sugar coated about him- brutally honest with his words, he often ruffles feathers with his stark naked opinions about food, fancy restaurants & orthodox ideas.

16 thoughts on “Amritsar – Spirituality, Sights, history and of course FOOD – by Siddharth Chatrath”

  1. wow Sid! excellent job – ho bhi aaye aur humen jalaa bhi liya! good writeup & you have become a pro with the pictures too 🙂

  2. Reading this article makes me feel like i am in Amritsar…wait a minute!!! 😉 Way to go Sid..looking forward to more from u

  3. You forgot to mention makhan fish wala near bheera's shop and bheera also serves delicious keema naan.
    You also forgot to mention anything about the best fine dineing restaurant in amritsar- crystal which serves great varity of indian (mughlai) food

  4. @ hhimanshu Thanks but i know their are still lot of places have not covered..This account has been shared only from a perspective of tourist..But we will try to make this more informative as we get more suggestions..Thanks :))
    @ JD Riar – You are in AMRITSAR sir 😀 Thanks a lot to you as well for recommending these places to us..Will try to come up with more..Thanks :))
    @ Gaytri Thanks a lot..I knew GALS would start drooling as soon as this comes up..But it was one of the best aam papads i ever had..Thanks :))
    @ Manish Sir to come this from you is all the more worthwhile for me..For pics am still trying to get my hands on it..But Thanks alot :))
    @ Tanvi – I really wanted this PULL to come out from my write up..Now i think i have successfully done that..Thanks :))
    @ Vineet – Sir the next time am there will surely give it a try..Thanks for your suggestion..:))

  5. After Reading this, I have realised that I have never seen Amritsar in Full, Despite being there more than 30 Times. Now when I visit there, will take this Blog as a reference and Enjoy to the Fullest. Thanks a Ton Siddharth. A Big Applause

  6. Impressive work siduu.Feels proud that I was a part of our Amritsar trip.
    While I was just stuffing up my belly at Amritsar, you were the one who could actually appreciate the cuisine.
    Awesome buddy!!Cheers!!

  7. @ Gurpreet Singh – Thanks :))

    @ Saksham – Mann what a trip it was.Full of delicacies and delights,Surjit Uncle and Bacheyo , Paranthe and Kesar , Shatabdi and Minocha family 😛 At last..Me,You and Punnu..who elso do we need 😀

  8. I am an Amritsari , I would say the Amritsari Kulcha at Maqbool Road has now lost it's charm and its a tourist destination and no amritsari would go there for the kuchas as we feel they arent as good as the competition !
    Better Aalo kulchas is made by :
    1. Bittu Kulche Wala and Ashoki Kulche Wala , both in A-block Market, Ranjit Avenue , both make kulchas and have their own take on it .
    2. Monu Kuchle Wala , Loharka Road .
    Very Old , originally from old city , makes very crispy kulchas .
    3. Pehalwan Kulche Wala .
    The 'original kulcha' …very old , probably from the late 1800s , makes kulchas that have dryfruits in them and served traditionally , no one can beat it's taste , hands down !
    at chownk Lachmansaar, Near Golden Temple Amritsar .

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