Have you heard the saying “Surat nu Jaman ane Kashi nu maran”? No? Well, let me first explain what it means. It stems from a belief that he who dines in Surat and dies in Kashi, would attain salvation. Since it is just a belief, there is no guarantee of salvation. But yes, one place is definitely famous for its food and the other for its pious cremation ceremonies. And if you are wondering why they associate Surat with delicious cuisine then worry not! You’re in luck today for I am gonna tell you the answer.
By the end of this article, your taste buds would be salivating so much that you’ll catch the next train to Surat.
1. Surti Locho
This is probably one of the most famous and unique food items in Surat. And we pride ourselves in being the creators behind this mouth-watering dish. Served best with a lot of oil poured over it and some fried chillies – with a dash of salt sprinkled over these chillies – it is a cholesterol heavy, but definitely one to be indulged in, breakfast item.
Places where it is served best: Gopal no Locho, Surti Khaman House.
2. Surti Undhyu
If you don’t understand what it is, just think of it as a Gujarati version of the mixed vegetable – only, a lot tastier.
Winter is the best time for trying this out. And trust me, just a bowl full is not going to be enough. Every winter vegetable, from brinjal to beans, is used in making this yumilicious dish, and some people even add fruits. I can already see you sniffing.
Where to have: Try pataofying a friend, have him invite you for a meal at home. A homemade undhyu is priceless! And if it has been made by your friend’s granny, grab it and run!!
So, we’ve looked at breakfast and lunch, let’s see what Surat has to offer in desserts. Imagine ghee and mava, a lot of it, just melting in your mouth. Heaven, right? Yup, that’s what I am talking about here. Recall the taste of the best sweet or chocolate you’ve ever had. Now triple the experience and you have Ghari.
Where to buy or try: Jamnadas Ghariwala.
If you’re looking for something liquid in dessert, rather than a solid sweet then Coco is your answer. Chocolate lover? Yes or no doesn’t matter. If it’s a yes, this is a must have; if it’s a no, this would change your opinion about chocolates. Oh, and by the way, a glassful will be more filling than your entire meal put together. So, save some space. It’s just chocolate and chocolate and more chocolate, in your mouth. Add vanilla ice cream and some cashew pieces on top and you might have to skip eating for the next two days, but it will be totally worth the sacrifice.
Where to drink: A-one Coco.
Many people visit Surat during December-January, just for this. And why not? It comes in so many varieties! Eat it raw, with different types of sev (a wafer like salty snack). Or have the ponk wada, or even better, ponk pattice.
Where to have: Ponk market.
6. Chowpatty food stalls
Okay, agreed that every city has a chowpatty, where there are a number of food stalls. But remember, this is Surat we’re talking about, so the food cannot even be rated on the yummy meter. There are many varieties and choices. If possible, go with a localite. It helps to have a foodie for company, just to know where and what to eat.
Must try: Mahesh Pav bhaji, Rawat kulfi, RD pani puri and chaat
7. Khavdhra galli (Non-veg delicacies)
In spite of the fact that most Gujaratis are pure vegetarians, Surat has a multicultural society with a distinct Gujarati Muslim identity too. So, obviously, non-vegetarian foods too are something to indulge in here. Visit during the Ramazan month. You should go to the old city area and gorge on the non-veg foods available all throughout the night during these days.
Where: Old city, Haripura Main road, Near railway station. (Or just ask anyone.)
8. Varieties of farsan
Gujaratis are anyway famous for their dhoklas and khamans. This is common and I am not saying not to try it, but there are other must-haves like khandvi, fafda, khamni, pattice for you too. Go with someone who knows which farsan house is famous for which kind of farsan (yes, that differs too).
Where: Surti Khaman House, Kailash sweets, Maakhan bhog.
Other small stuff:
- Mava cake
- Nan Khatai (Dotivala bakery)
- Ghevar, Jalebi (Kailash sweets)
- Shirkhand, Matho (Raja no matho)
- Faloodo, Thandai (A-one)
- Samosa (Ganda kaka)
- Chaat (Gangor)
- Ubadiyu (Stalls on Gujarat highway)
- Sarasiya Khaja (Jai Ambe Farsan, Jani Farsan)
- Bhajiya (Dumas)
- Ice dish (Raj ice dish)
I might have missed out on a few things, but I am sure if you come down to Surat, one of us Surtis will definitely guide you to the best food joint in the vicinity. And then you might end up adding even more yummy items to this list.
If you’re still not tempted, then you’re on one helluva diet regime and need to indulge at least a little bit. Next time you plan a trip, be sure to drop in at Surat for a day or two and try out these things. And rest assured, your taste buds will be well taken care of.
*as published on Topyaps