Variety Of Mouth Watering Must Try Food At Varanasi


Food in Banaras is pretty much like the city itself – rustic and flavorful. I was browsing through the photographs of my trip. After every few photographs, there were food pictures and that gave me an idea for this post on Must Try Food at Varanasi.

Pani Puri that India loves
Pani Puri that India loves

Here is a glimpse of the types of food you must try at Varanasi. You do not really have to go hunting for it. Most of it, you will find in and around the popular ghats of Banaras.

Mouth-Watering Must-Try Food at Varanasi

Kachori's, Tikki's, and Chai in Khulhad - Must-try food at Varanasi
Kachori’s, Tikki’s, and Chai in Khulhad – Must-try food at Varanasi

Indian Street Food

Quintessential Indian street food that includes Samosa, Kachori, Tikki, Jalebi, and various other types of chat items is something you will find everywhere. Eat straight out of the huge Kadai’s where all these items are being fried. Try tomato chat at the Dina Chat center, that is something I have not had in any other city. If you wander around in the narrow lanes behind the ghats, you will find these Halwais and Chat Walas on almost every street. Top it up with Chai in Kulhad or a clay cup that gives its own flavor to the tea. Kulhad Chai is as ubiquitous in Varanasi as its temples.

Lassi, Laddoo, and the famous Banarasi Paan - Must-try food at Varanasi
Lassi, Laddoo, and the famous Banarasi Paan


One thing you cannot miss in Varanasi is the lassi joint everywhere. Go to them in the morning and ask for Malaiya. It is a froth of milk made by allowing the milk to play with the dewdrops overnight. It looks very heavy but is extremely light. What fills a cup can be a spoon full of milk only. Remember you get it only in the morning. If you miss it try the lassi that is also served in Kulhads – with extra toppings of Malai, pistachios, Kesar, and many other flavors.

Ladoos and Pedas can be found outside every temple – sold as prasad to be offered to deities but you can always buy some to taste.

Banarasi Paan

Banarasi Paan is something that we all have heard about, in Banaras you see it more than you hear it. You can see it all over the walls and in almost every male mouth as they speak to you balancing the Paan inside their mouth. If you ever thought Bollywood songs have made the Banarasi Paan famous, you need to see the Paan culture here to believe it and figure out that songwriters were understating the Paan effect.

Daana or roasted grams – Must Try Food at Varanasi

Roasted groundnuts and Daanaa chat
Roasted groundnuts and Daanaa chat

My biggest recommendation for food in Varanasi is Daana – a mixture of freshly roasted grains – to be eaten while they are still warm – just like that or with some hot spicy chutney. You get them on pushcarts in the evenings. This is probably the healthiest snack you can ever have that tastes good too. Roasted peanuts in Banaras are sold with a small paper packet or Pudiyas of rock salt. “Chana jor Garam” is a beaten black gram spiced up with onions and chilies usually done by moving hawkers. Munch these as you walk the ghats.

Mithai preparation at Varanasi
Mithai preparation

Visit a Mithai shop in the lanes and see how they make mithai. I visited Raswanti Mithai Bhandar in Thatheri Gali. It was fun to see the Mithai being made still in the old style without using any mechanical devices. Mithai is a good option to take back home from here.

International food - Fried Rice to Pizza's made in the local style at Varanasi
International food – Fried Rice to Pizza’s made in the local style

Continental Food

Varanasi gets travelers from across the globe. So there is no dearth of international food. In the same lanes that serve all the above, you can find a German bakery or many other continental food joints. I had one of my best Veggie Pizzas at Asi Ghat. It had so many vegetables on top of it that the base could not even hold it. At Sarnath, we had Chinese food that was not bad. I assume there are many more options available if you set out to explore.

There are thalis that you can eat at many Dharamshalas that serve you in the traditional way. You sit on the floor and the food is served to a row of travelers. Food is very tasty in these places but they serve strictly between certain times.

I loved the food in this historic city. For vegetarians like me, it gives so many options to choose from.

Recommend you read the following travel blog posts on places to visit in Varanasi.

Evening Aarti at the ghats of Ganga

The rhythm of chaos on the ghats of Ganga

Finding Kabir – the Poet & Saint in Kashi

Ramnagar Fort on the other shore of Ganga

Banaras Multifold Mystery! – First Impression


  1. What a mouth watering post. I was in Benaras last month and tried everything except for the Paan. The chats, the rabdi the lassi everything in Benaras is out of this world…

  2. I have never been to Varanasi and reading your posts makes me wanna go there. Looking at these pics made me feel hungry. Tomato chat sounds unique. Indian street food is the yummiest.

  3. Dear Ma’am,

    I am from Varanasi itself. No doubt your post is awesome but you missed so many things like Mishrambu, Malaiyio, Ghughnui, Matar Chuda and not only Chai Or Lassi We drink coffee in Purva (Kullhad) at Lanka and VT. no matter that Varanasi Comes in North zone, but the beauty of varanasi is that it love all the people and same you can not only taste the north indian food but you can also taste south indian like Dosha Idli Vada Uttpam and one of the famous shop is in Vishwanath Gali near Ramramapati bank. You can also enjoy the Bangoli food and many More in short you can not taste everything in one singal day.

    • Dear Namrata, you are so right It is impossible to put food of Varanasi in few words. Thank you for telling me what I missed on my last trip – will try to experience all that in next trip to Varanasi. You are right Varanasi does not belong any one sect or region – I am sure it is the center of the universe that contains bits of every culture and community.

  4. That’s good. However, I would like to make two points. (1) I live in Delhi. How do I access food from Banaras when staying in Delhi? Is there any outlet in Delhi? (2) I’m not sure why these foods are called “street food.” The word “street” introduces a sense of disparagement which is irrelevant. Not only irrelevant, to call it “street” is technically incorrect because then the question arises as to what is the reference distance of the frying pan from a moving vehicle up to which you would call it “street food”? What is the threshold distance? There are reputable restaurants which have their kitchen just 2 feet away from the moving vehicle (separated from road by the wall of the building). Then will you call that too street food? All of those that are called street food are not street food, I would like to call them “outdoor food” (as opposed to “homemade food”). For example, the sweets and pakode of a halwai shop with its rasoi 50 feet away from the moving vehicle. Therefore, I suggest the term “outdoor food” be used as an umbrella term.


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