You walk through the lanes of the old city and you cannot miss the street food. If you are like me, you can live on street food alone. It has a magic that stays on your tongue and heart. There is no better place to bond with your old friends over the street food you grew up on. So, this time in Pune, I not just walked the streets of the old city to discover the Peshwa Heritage with a college time friend. We not just savored the street food in Pune but also the traditional Maharashtrian Thali.
The specialty of Indian street food is that it comes in quintessentially local flavors. The dish may be the same, but flavors are local. Even a ubiquitous Chai takes a distinct flavor in each city.
Savor the Street Food in Pune
You will see a lot of shops selling street food or rather fast food, like Sabudana Khichadi, Sabudana Vada, Wada Pav, Misal Pav, Kanda Pohe, Upit. Yes, all traditionally Maharashtrian things.
Stop often to taste each of them.
Do not forget to finish these with tangy Kairi Panna.
The small tea shops often referred to as Amrutulaya shops give you the desi chai. Now, what is distinctive in the city is the shining golden colored tea kettle instead of the usual Aluminium one used in the rest of India.
I saw this shining golden tea kettle in at least 20 different shops and in the hands of the young boys running around to serve Chai.
What a shining legacy, I must say!
Masala Fruits – Favorite Street Food in Pune
On the streets of the Wadas of Pune, you would see fresh fruits laced with the red-hot masala. This includes raw Mango or Kairi, slices of gooseberry or Amla and Red Tamarind or Meethi Imli. All these tangy fruits are a treat to nibble on – to keep teasing your tongue with the generous mix of fruit juice and masala on top of it.
Walking through the city streets and looking at its street food can give you an impression that an average Puneri is very health conscious. You get options to choose from colorful roasted grains. Perfect things to pop in your mouth without worrying about any side effects.
If you are not just health conscious but a fitness freak, there are sprouted lentils – just pick them up for your next salad or for your munching on your way back home.
Steamed gram flour rolled in the eatable leaves is a delicacy that you find easily on the streets of Pune. I saw people buying it and eating it raw while others said they will take home and cook it further with the masala.
I have eaten it at homes, but I have never seen it being sold on the road.
Bhakarwadi @ Chitale Bandhu
If you want to pick up the world famous Bhakarwadi of Chitale Bandhu. You have to visit their original shop opposite Vishrambaug Wada. When I used to live in Pune, way back in 1995, there used to be long queues in front of this shop. Now, of course, you can pick it up anywhere in the city and at many places outside the city as well.
I miss the fresh version that used to get sold the same day but now you have to make do with the
You can get a typical Maharashtrian Thali in most places but here are two places that we recommend:
Maharashtrian Thali at Shreyas
This restaurant on Apte Road serves an unlimited Thali that comes with Puri and various seasonal vegetables.
Top it up with hot Modak stuffed with coconut and jaggery that comes with a generous helping of desi ghee. It will definitely make you think why are all tasty things fattening.
If you are not in a mood for a Thali – try the Pooran Poli that is served here with milk. I am not a big fan of milk, but this combination is worth trying.
Durvankar Dining Hall at Sadashiv Peth
We reached here while walking around the old city. By the time we came out of the Kelkar museum, hunger pangs were unbearable. We looked for the closest dining hall and landed here. The name sounded exotic and we were ushered to the first floor that was full of people eating from large Thalis. As soon as we sat, post a quick confirmation, we had the same Thalis in front of us.
Thalis were simple but exhaustive. However, what caught my eye or should I say tongue was this array of chutney powders that were kept on every table along with slices of lemon.
Tell me if you know of other tempting foods in the city. Remember, I am a vegetarian.
Recommend you read the following places to explore from the city.