For me, Lucknow is the street food capital of India. The only other city that gives it a tough competition is Indore. However, the city is better known for all the non-vegetarian street food with its world-famous Kebabs. Now, a vegetarian like me has nothing to with all that. So, step away from ever-crowded streets of Aminabad and walk around to discover some awesome Lucknow Street Food.
This time I decided to take a food walk curated by Tornos – a travel company that specializes in Lucknow itineraries. Earlier too I had explored the city with them, and I admired their focus on research about the city. So, this time, Cyrus from Tornos and I set out on a vegetarian food trail in the city.
Vegetarian Lucknow Street Food Trail
We started our vegetarian food trail in the streets of Aminabad in Lucknow.
Thali at Netram Ajay Kumar
On the ground floor, Netram Ajay Kumar is a usual sweetshop. On the first floor is it a basic eatery, but the magic is in its food.
The Bedmi or stuffed puri that comes with Bundi Raita, a dry vegetable, and chana along with a tangy pickle is something one must eat at least once in a lifetime. I can go back and eat it any time. The thali costs you less than 100 Rs and it is unlimited, which means you can have as many Puris as you like. Of course, sharing is not allowed.
Lassi at Madhurima
Madhurima, right next to Netram Ajay Kumar shop is an equally good alternative to Thali. I had a similar Thali there during one of my earlier trips. Believe me, I can never decide which one is better between the two. Go for the one that is less crowded.
This time I stepped into Madhurima to have their famous Lassi that comes again in a Kulhad or clay pot. I shared a glass with Cyrus as it is heavy and filling and we still had a few more stops on this vegetarian food trail.
Read More – Jaipur Street Food Guide
Let me share a fun fact about Madhurima, it is known as Kabal Wali Dukaan as at some point in time it used to be located close to a grave or Qabar. The shop dates back to 1825, and that is some food legacy in the city.
Our next stop should have been Prakash Kulfi but I let it go for another time.
Sri Kalika Chat House – Saunth Papdi
Serving chat since 1880, Sri Kalika Chaat House is easy to miss though two prominent boards announce it one on top of others. Ask for their famous Saunth Papdi Chaat.
Saunth is a chutney made with tamarind and jaggery – tampered with spices. On the crisp Papdi along with other ingredients, it gives you the crunchy bite that is sweet and spicy and tangy. A riot of flavors on the tongue.
Paan was the only thing that I could take after eating too much. A Paan, in fact, becomes a necessity to digest all the good food. There are many popular Panwalas in the old parts of the city.
With my stomach full, I was ready to hit the bed and sleep while my body digests all that my tongue has pushed inside.
Other days in Lucknow, I explored many more street food places. Here is a small list of must-have Lucknow street food for you.
Lucknow Street Food – You Must Try At These Places
Ravi Gol Gappe Wala
Ravi is a star Gol Gappe Wala in the city. He has been featured in almost all magazines and newspapers. He still sells only in the evenings on his cycle. What is his specialty? Well, he serves you as many as 16 varieties of Gol Gappa water. After you have had one round of all the waters, you can choose a combination of the ones you like too. For me, it is like a pilgrimage to visit Ravi and eat his Gol Gappas, exchange a few words with him. He is too busy for more than that, but he always wears a pleasant smile.
Ravi’s Gol Gappe in the city would be my biggest recommendation for street food in Lucknow.
Ram Asrey Sweets
This is an old sweet shop in the city. In fact, now you can find their branches around the city. You must try their Malai Gilouri. Shaped like Paan Gilouri, it is a melt in the mouth kind of sweet made from the cream of the milk and stuffed with dry fruits. They also have a whole lot of other sweets but those you can get elsewhere too.
It is a city special sweet that you can even carry back home.
Read More – Best Lucknow Souvenirs to Buy
Shukla Chaat House in Hazratganj
This small hole in the wall kind of shop is hardly visible from the roadside in the evenings. It is so crowded with the customers lining up to eat their favorite chaat.
Prakash Kulfi Wala
There are two popular Kulfi shops in the city. One is Dayal Kulfi and the other is Prakash Kulfi. I did not have Kulfi as every time I passed these shops my stomach was too full of all the other street food. However, I did have a look at the large clay pots full of Kulfi cones.
This is your typical roadside Chai shop but the one that comes with its own glow sign. Its signature Chai comes in the Kulhad that is shaped like a glass, remember the ones with vertical ribs in the glass. You actually pay extra to have Chai in this Kulhad, but it worth it for the earthy flavor it lends to the spices in the Chai.
Nimish or Makhan Malai at Chowk
You can not cross the main Chowk in the city without noticing these large glass and brass containers. They are temptingly covering a yellow delicacy called Nimish that is generously covered with silver foil or varq. What is inside is a unique dish that you probably get in parts of Uttar Pradesh Only. I have seen it only here and in Varanasi.
Read More – Street Food in Varanasi
A cup full of Nimish, that is also called Makhan sometimes is a foam-like dish that probably defines what is melting in the mouth means. The tongue is in the whirlpool of soft butter-like texture. You must try this in the city, even if you just taste it.
Pt Raja Ki Thandai
Thandai is a milk-based drink flavored using various dry fruits and spices. For me, his one glass of Thandai is as good as a meal. It is sweet, it is spicy and is heavenly. However, what many people come here for is a version of Thandai that comes laced with Bhang. I have not tried that, I am happy with the plain version of it.
Raja Ki Thandai is located in the Chowk in the city.
Habshi Halwa and Jauzi Halwa are two different types of Halwas that you can have in the city along with the halwa made from Kali Gajar or dark carrot. I do not eat too many sweets unless it is Jalebi or Imarti but I am sure those of you who have a sweet tooth would enjoy this exotic Halwas.
Do you have any other recommendations for street food in Lucknow for vegetarians like me? Tell me in the comments below.