best thing to eat in amritsar

What to Eat in Amritsar [ A Guide to Punjabi Food in Amritsar ]

The final word that we leave you with about Amritsar has to be about Punjabi food that we had.  That’s because I still dream about the paratha, dal fry and lassi from Kesar da Dhaba.  Living in the UK you become used to Indian food.  Or rather the Indian food that’s served both in Indian restaurants and available pre-packaged from supermarkets.  Then you come to India and you experience INDIAN FOOD.  There’s no other way to put it.  Indian Food in India shouts at you.  It hollers and screams.

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Where to Stay in Amritsar

There are a host of places to stay in Amritsar – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Amritsar, mid-range places to stay in Amritsar, and budget accommodation in Amritsar.

Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Amritsar: The Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels is located close to central Amritsar and is a world-class hotel that features 101 rooms each equipped with satellite TV, a minibar, coffee/tea maker, mini-fridge, iron, sound-proofing, and a private bathroom with hairdryer and other toiletries. This five-star Amritsar hotel has a pool and WiFi accessible by guests along with services such as currency exchange, valet dry-cleaning, spa and salon, laundry, and a doctor-on-call. The Welcomhotel is perfect for a luxury stay in Amristar. See more about Amritsar’s Welcomhotel rooms and rates here.

SureStay Heritage Walk by Best Western Amritsar, Amritsar: The SureStay Heritage Walk is situated at an excellent location right at the heart of the city of Amritsar. This four-star Amritsar accommodation has rooms that include a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a private bathroom with a hairdryer, linens, iron/iron board, safety deposit box, mini-bar, and a coffee/tea maker. The SureStay Heritage Walk in Amristar also provides guests free WiFi, luxury car rental, and in-room dining services. Café Sure at the hotel is perfect for a fine-dining experience with a multi-country-cuisine menu. Check room rates and availability here.

Hotel Aura Grand by Levelup, Amritsar:Located just 600m from central Amritsar, Hotel Aura Grand is conveniently surrounded by Amritsar’s top attractions. The hotel features rooms that have a mini-fridge, flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, and a private bathroom with a shower. Amristar’s Hotel Aura Grand also has a restaurant along with free WiFi throughout the hotel. They also offer laundry services and a doctor on call. The Hotel Aura Grand is a clean and comfortable accommodation perfect for your visit to Amritsar. Want to read more reviews and check room rates and availability? Check here.

The Food to Eat in Amritsar

Sometimes, like in Kerala with a lot of subtlety.  Sometimes, like with a Hyderbad biryani, with a lot of spice.  In India, there isn’t just Indian food.  There’s food from each different region, each different state, each different city, and many times different areas of each city.  It makes my mouth water just to think about it.

We’ll start with the first thing we ate in Amritsar.  Jalebi.  Yep.  We breakfasted on Jalebi.

Jalebi

We’d been introduced to this seriously sweet dish by friends in Bangalore.  We’d tried it at the well known Old and Famous Jalebi in Chandni Chowk in Delhi.  But here, in the middle of Amritsar was supposedly India’s best jalebi at Gurdas Ram.  And we were going to have it for breakfast.  Hot.  Directly out of the wok.

Punjabi food in Amritsar Jalebi from Gurdas Ram (9)

Gurdas Ram only sells Jalebi.  This is a Jalebi wala (a Jalebi seller).

Jalebi is made by deep frying, usually in a wok, a wheat flour batter in pretzel or circle shapes.  These are then soaked in sugar syrup.     They can be served hot or cold and we’ve had both.  Cold in the Iskcon Temple in Bangalore, and hot, hot, hot just out of the wok here in Amritsar.

Punjabi food in Amritsar Jalebi from Gurdas Ram (5)
Punjabi food in Amritsar Jalebi from Gurdas Ram (7)

You’ll never forget the first one that you have.  You bite into it.  It’s a little chewy, but make sure you have something under it, because out will ooze the sugar syrup in a huge rush.  That’s a huge rush of a sugar hit.    I don’t think I’ve EVER experienced so much of a sugar rush as Jalebi.  And I definitely couldn’t eat them every day.  Maybe once a year.  Or maybe, every six months.

Punjabi food in Amritsar Jalebi from Gurdas Ram (8)
Punjabi food in Amritsar Jalebi from Gurdas Ram (6)

Indian Bread

I’m completely fascinated by Indian bread.  Roti.  Chapati.  Naan.  Paratha.  So many different ways to cook dough.  And often what passes for chapati in one city will be naan in another.  Here in Amritsar, what’s called paratha, parantha or parotta passes for nothing short of heaven.

Eat Paratha in Amritsar

We ate paratha with chana and dal fry at Kesar da Dhaba.  Actually, I don’t think we ate it.  I opened my mouth, and I worshiped the deity that melted on my tongue.  Slightly crispy.  Liberally covered in ghee.  Hot.  Breaking apart as I try to use it to mop up the chana.  Nowhere near enough of it to satisfy the craving.  Absolute heaven.  And matched with a plain lassi it’s a wonder I ever left this place.

Paratha is a flat bread.  We’ve seen more of it in the north of India than in the south because wheat is grown up here.  Rice is the staple in the south.  Paratha is actually a combination of the works “parat” and “atta” – and means “layers of dough”.  The dough is stretched and kneaded and then stretched and stretched.  And folded and wrapped.  And it’s a serious work of art.

This video from Priyanka’s Kitchen shows how you can achieve the “layers of dough” effect.

The absolute BEST tasting paratha is Laccha (or Lachha) Paratha.

I aspire to being able to make my own paratha.  After which point I may never leave my kitchen ever again.

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Punjabi-food-in-Amritsar-Kesar-da-Dhaba-11
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Lassi

Lassi is an Indian yoghurt drink.  Dairy is known to be the antidote to hot spicy food.  So the next time you’re eating something too hot and spicy, cool your mouth down with some yoghurt.  You can get mango lassi, all other sorts of fruit.  But we stay true to lassi and go for the plain lassi.  Or the sweet lassi.  Or, my favourite, the salt lassi.

Here in Amritsar we found an amazing lassi.  It came straight out of the fridge in clay pots.  Covered in foil tops.

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Punjabi-food-in-Amritsar-Kesar-da-Dhaba-16
Punjabi-food-in-Amritsar-Kesar-da-Dhaba-17

Here in Amritsar we had plain lassi.  Lassi is normally drinkable.  As in you pick up the glass or pot and drink it  At Kesar da Dhaba your lassi comes with a spoon.  It’s to break the full cream like crust on the top.  It is simply amazing.   So amazing, I’m contemplating that we need to go back to Amritsar for this one thing.  Well maybe the paratha as well.  And the jalebi.  And the fish.

Ah yes, the fish.

Amritsar fish.

Everywhere in Asia we’ve eaten street food.  Apart from India, because to be honest, the sanitary conditions scared us.  That changed in Amritsar.  We were on a mission.  Sent by foodie friends in Bangalore.  Make sure you eat the fish in Amritsar they said.  And so we did.  There’s a street in Amritsar, where there are a series of vendors who sell only Amritsar fish.

Punjabi-Food-Amritsar-fish-3

Amritsar, or Amritsari fish is a white fish fillet, the batter contains the spices garlic, ginger and cumin.  Our vendor sprinkles the pieces with chaat masala before he serves us.  And it’s amazing street food.  Just fabulous.

Punjabi-Food-Amritsar-fish-2
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Punjabi-Food-Amritsar-fish-5

Clearly we ate a LOT more than just what I’ve shown above when we were in Amritsar.  But it was all good.  There was a lot of dal fry, a lot of chana masala and so much paratha you wouldn’t believe, but these are the major highlights.

These are the foods that I will go back to Amritsar for and what I aspire to be able to cook myself.

But, for now, thats it for Amritsar.  We’ve had a delightful time – exploring the Golden Temple, visiting Wagah for the border ceremony and taking a heritage Amristar walk too. We are taking another train, we’re heading back to Delhi for Three Days. 

Traveling for Food? Read these guides.

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