Sunday, March 24, 2013


At the forefront of Punjab’s culinary tourism movement, the State provides food lovers with highest quality products to experience the very best of local cuisine.

Punjabis take their food rather seriously. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diversity, and it is also wholesome and rustic. They love fresh milk and milk products. When you come to this part of India, leave behind all that new-fad of calorie counting, health-conscious, and low-fat thinking. The scent of real ghee invades the nostrils all over. Every dish you partake of is part of a saga, and every recipe, a piece of gastronomic history. An unmatched selection of delectable kebabs, delicately flavoured Dal Makhni, aromatic Sarson Ka Saag with Makki ki Roti, robust curries and irresistible Paranthas makes this the perfect choice for a gastronomic indulgence.

No tour to Punjab is complete without tickling your taste buds with the inexpensive and famous street food. Every city has its own speciality, for example while driving from Delhi to Ludhiana; one has to stop by at ‘Puranchand’s’ for his decadent meat curry. The ‘Cream chicken’ by Chawla in Ludhiana has become so popular that no home party is complete without it. As you step out of the Golden temple in Amritsar, you would be greeted by the pleasant odours emanating from street food push carts. There is food everywhere running the gamut from Samosas, Chhole Kulche and even gravity-defying lassies. The ‘Dahi-Bhalla’ in Jalandhar and even Patiala is a heavenly morsel and with just the right balance of the sweet and sour chutneys will make you reach for more. Aficionados swear by the ‘Golgappas’ all over Punjab and truly they are decadent to the core and standing by the road to savour this juicy mound is an exclusive experience. The ‘Bhalla Papri chaat’- well there’s nothing like that perfect bite, the one where all the flavours on the plate come together in one heavenly mouthful! The ‘samosas’ are equally commendable, the mutter Ka samosas for instance are delicious and very different from anywhere else. The best part is that most of the street food is surprisingly inexpensive for the consistently good quality ingredients and are raucous most of the time as they are well patronized.

‘Basant kulfi’ near Gurudwara Dukh Nivaran has become an icon for its signature kulfi and is a must for tourists and locals who patronize this place. After more than a century and with a long list of loyal clients, ‘Lyallpur sweets’ needs very little endorsement. While Hero Bakery has sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, several ranges of coffee and can rustle up just about any kind of cake, it’s really their Cream Horns this establishment really shines. The marriage of the irresistible flavour of vanilla with the freshly whipped cream is the secret to these Cream Horns. If you’re ever in Ludhiana and you have a sweet tooth, you have to pay a visit here and you will not go away disappointed. ‘Lovely sweets’ in Jalandhar serving superlative motichoor laddoos without any nouveau pretension is so popular that it is definitely worth a visit. The melt in the mouth ‘Dhoda Sweets’ in kartarpur and Ludhiana are world famous, Legend has it that in 1912, Harbans Vig, a nutrition-seeking wrestler from Khushab of Sargodha district, hit upon this dish while experimenting in his kitchen. ‘Bansal Sweet House’ which has outlets in Amritsar, Chandigarh and Delhi has loyal customers flocking to his shop like hungry children to their school cafeteria as the sweetmeats are inexpensive but delicious! One would definitely want to sink one’s teeth into those luscious giant sized Jalebis all over Punjab. The Karigar fries these Jalebis in his huge wok and it’s a wonderful sight to see his old hands moving with the speed of an expert.

written for ITTP's punjab tourism booklet