A few hours away from Agra and Orchha, the next stop on the Delhi - Bhopal Shatabdi train; Gwalior is lamentably missing from the usual tourist radar. However, this is a blessing in disguise for the gastronomic explorer – to enjoy Gwalior’s excellent street food, without the tourist traps. This is a follow up to our first guide on where to eat in Gwalior.
Petha Gilori at Panchhiraj, Phalka Bazaar
Sounding like an off-shoot of the Petha kings of Agra – Panchchi Petha, this shop is a saccharine dreamland with glistening sweetmeats of all colours, shapes and sizes. Our pick is the petha gilori – paan masala, gulkand, and dry fruits wrapped in a paan flavoured petha sheet, and ensconced with a clove.
Hemu ji Cheela Chat Bhandar & MM Namkeens Ratlamwale near Kailash Talkies
A poster of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor amidst the evening throng shall usually greet you at Hemu. His cheelas or besan (gram-flour) pancakes are along the lines of a Mumbai khao gulley dosa - crisp, thin and loaded with ingredients from chutney to Amul cheese.
Walk over to MM Namkeens Ratlamwale to get your fix of the addictively spicy Ratlami sev. Hailing from the town of Ratlam, better known for being an important junction in the Indian railway network, the sev is thick, gritty and will leave your palate tingling for more.
Kachoris, Rabri and Paneer Samosa at Jodhpur Misthan Bhandar, Katora Taal
Perfect for a snack after a long, insouciant meander through the lush gardens and wide avenues of Amma ki Chhatri, Jodhpur Misthan Bhandar is one of the city’s most popular sweet shops. Its Jodhpuri Kachoris are shatteringly crisp and made even more moreish with lip-puckering imli chutney.
The rabri is indulgently creamy and laced with slivers of almonds. It is best paired with paneer jalebi - spongy and thicker than a regular jalebi, with elegant curves crusted by bits of crystallised sugar.
Morena Gajak at Daulat Ram Gupta Morena Gajak Bhandar, Nayi Sadak
A box of Morena gajak – a candy made from gur and til (sesame) – is the de-rigueur food souvenir for every visitor to Gwalior and rightfully so, for gajak made in this part of the country is considered to be one of the best. The neighbouring district of Morena lends its name to the region’s signature gajak, and you should pick up your booty from the undisputed gajak king of Gwalior, Daulat Ram Gupta Morena Gajak Bhandar.
Head to the largest of their many branches in Nayi Sadak, and ask for a sampler to try out all the variants on offer. We like the soft gajak, studded with pistachios and the signature flaky gajak.
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A self proclaimed food geek and coffee nerd, Amit Patnaik enjoys his time in the kitchen as much as he loves dining out. He runs the food blog Pursuit of Yummyness and contributes to The Hindu in Chennai.
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