There's an unmistakable charm, a romance in the air around Udaipur's most iconic lake - Pichola. Almost all trails in the city lead here and the city's luxury hotels around the lake are the preferred abodes for visitors to the city. Udaipur is one of my favourite cities in India and each time I go on a boat ride around Lake Pichola, that love just gets a little deeper, especially towards sunset where the Aravallis add to the perfect backdrop. Udaipur's palace hotels are among the most luxurious in Rajasthan. There's the Taj Fateh Prakash Palace with its imposing banqueting hall and sweeping views of the lake. And then there's the Taj Lake Palace, arguably one of India's most romantic hotels located in the heart of Lake Pichola. Constructed in the 1740s, this was the erstwhile summer palace of the Udaipur Royals. You need a strong reason to step out of this stunning palace. The local food in Udaipur was the perfect excuse I needed to step out of my weekend lap of luxury, get on a boat and explore Udaipur's local food. I didn't let the high temperatures and the humidity of Udaipur's monsoon season dampen my food trail:
Here Are 8 Popular Local Eateries You Must Check Out In Udaipur:
1. Piping hot kachoris at Paliwal Restaurant
It was the conversation around kachoris at the Lake Palace that led me to Paliwal Restaurant. I've always been partial to the kachoris in Jodhpur but local staff at the hotel swear by this establishment. I put that local bias to the test and I had to concur. I traded an extensive breakfast buffet at the hotel for these piping hot kachoris and I was pleasantly surprised. Paliwal comes alive in the morning with a beeline of locals and tourists who don't just line up for their kachoris but also their sinful jalebis.
Where: Jagdish Temple Road, Old City.
2. The perfect 'union' at JMB Sweets
If you have a sweet tooth like me, Udaipur has a lot on offer. There are multiple sweet shops that ace the Ghewar and then there are shops like Arora Mishthan Bhandar that serve a scrumptious version of a Moong Dal Halwa. But if you time for just one sweet stop, I'd suggest JMB (Jagdish Mishtan Bhandar) Sweets. For most locals this is the home of the 'Sangam barfi', a delicious three layered sweet crowned with a layer of pistachios. I challenge you to stop with one. The other bestseller here is 'Diljani', sweet boondis with an orange flavour.
3. Falooda at Shaktinagar
Locals know him as the Blue 'telawala'. He is also known as Karamchandji faloode vala. You're unlikely to find a more satisfying dessert anywhere in Udaipur. You have to be willing to stand on the street though and eat straight out of a push cart. There are multiple stalls that are popular in this area. The other popular falooda haunt is Sindhi Falooda Joint in Ashok Nagar that serves a terrific Kesar Pista falooda.
Where: Near Fusion Store at Shaktinagar
4. Fully loaded lassis at Shastri sweets
There are lassis and there are 'loaded' lassis. The meal by itself lassi at Sastri sweets certainly belongs to the latter category. Rich and layered; this lassi is the perfect antidote to all the spicy kachoris and chaats you're likely to try. The other popular 'fire extinguisher' is the rabri at Vasudev Doodh Bandar at Bara Bazaar road.
Where: Shastri Circle
5. Samosas for breakfast at Chundawat restaurant
Ask for the best samosas in Udaipur and you're likely to be pointed towards Chundawat. Best known for its samosas, that usually run out by noon, Chundawat's unique spice mix sets their samosas apart.
Where: Thokar Chauraha
6. The whole hog at Chhappan Bog
If you're determined to try Udaipur's popular dal baati with churma, Chhappan Bhog at Fatehpura is a great option. You will need to go there on an empty stomach and also leave your calorie counter at home (or at your hotel) and indulge in the dal baati thali
Where: Big Bazaar Road, Fatehpura
7. Cafe meal with a view at Jheel's
The menu at Jheel's Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery may be similar to countless cafes you've visited - frappes, sandwiches and comforting pizzas. It's the views that set this apart. This is one of many cafes that are located on the edge of Lake Pichola (Jheel's is near Gangaur Ghat) with fabulous views.
Where: Gangaur Ghat Marg
8. Tea with a twist at Pandit ji ki lemon tea
It's not just his refreshing lemon tea, most visitors enjoy Pandit ji's showmanship as he keeps churning out cup after cup of lemon tea single-handedly. It's not your regular lemon tea though and he will keep you guessing about his secret twist that adds an interesting twist to his lemon tea.
Where: New Fathepura
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.