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Sarafa Food Bazaar, Indore, India
Sarafa Food Bazaar, Indore, India : an Introduction
Street food is a highly attractive thing to the foodies worldwide. Besides being cheap, these food articles are freshly prepared, offer a plenty of choices and multiple varieties are available in a limited place. But the most attractive thing in such food items is their local flavor and authenticity. If these are combined with a long history giving the place a heritage status, then the whole thing becomes just irresistible. Sarafa Food Bazaar of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India is such a street food market for you.
Sarafa Food Bazaar : Location
This is located in the old part of the city of Indore near the historic Rajwada, an old palace belonging to the royal family. The area has rows of jewellery shops which close down in the evening, and in front of the closed jewellery shops crop up the temporary food stalls lining two sides of the narrow street.
Sarafa Food Bazaar : timing
This is a daily night bazaar without any weekly off-day, so customers can get there on all days of the week. The food bazaar opens at 8 pm and closes by about 1 am. During these hours, the area hustles and bustles with thousands of food lovers, both local and outside visitors alike.
Sarafa Bazaar : History
Sarafa Food Bazaar has a long history, not less than that of 100 years. It is said that it was started by the jewelers themselves with an intention to provide free protection to their own shops at night. When they closed their shops with valuable merchandise inside, the food sellers with their customers provided them with a natural protection from theft. The tradition goes on and on, and we got the food bazaar which has now become a heritage spot for Indore.
Food items in Sarafa Bazaar
Food items in Sarafa Bazaar
The list of the food items available in the Sarafa Bazaar is just mind blowing. The whole area is full of food stalls dishing out a large variety of food items. The range is awesome, varying from salty to sweet, tangy to bland. But the most important part is the authentic local flavor. Whether it is the piping hot ‘Jalebi’ or a cool ‘Koolfi’, the sweet ‘Gulap Jamun’ or the salty ‘Bhutte ki kis’, the heavy ‘Sabudana ki khichdi’ or the light ‘Paani Puri’, the tangy ‘Dhahi Bada’ and ‘Aloo Tikia’ or the refreshing ‘Coconut Crush’, everything carries the authentic local flavor, often of a long past. Now-a-days some popular new items like Momo & ice creams are added to attract the newer generation.
The food sellers of Sarafa Bazaar
Apart from the varieties of food they supply, the food sellers themselves are in no way lagging behind in colours. Many of them are carrying out the business through generations, and the styles they show in their behavior and personality are reflective of their heritage. Many of them have unique style of presenting their merchandise to attract customers. One of such colourful characters is seen at the ‘Joshi Dahi Badaa’ shop, where the main person preparing the dish is nothing short of a conjurer. The manner in which he throws the small bowl with the solid ‘Badaa’ and semi-liquid ‘Dahi’ (curd) high up his head and catches the same before it falls to the ground without spilling a drop of the mixture is unbelievable.
The customers are also of every hue. Older men in traditional dresses mingle with youths in jazzy Western outfits. Ladies in jeans compete with those with Hijaab and Burqua in gobbling up tangy ‘Paani Puri’-s. Local residents with their reserved and knowing manners mingle with the hesitant and unsure outsiders. Pure food lovers walk from shop to shop along with with the camera-holding onlookers. People from all corners of India can be seen here. The scene is really colourful.
Some of the popular food items sold at Sarafa Bazaar
One cannot say what is better than a host of others, but some of the most popular food items sold here are listed below.
SABUDANA KI KHICHDI
‘Sabudana’ (Tapioca Sago) is prepared from the roots of Tapioca plant or Cassava (Manihot Esculenta). Sabudana Khichdi is prepared from Tapioca pearls, peanuts, grated coconut, potatoes & green chilies. The most famous of the sellers is Om Prakash Vyas of ‘Saawariyan Seth’.
It is a soothing drink prepared by mixing the water & the soft pulp of a green coconut.
BHUTTE KI KEES
It is prepared from boiled and mashed corn mixed with coconut & spices, then topped up with coriander leaves & lemon juice. The final consistency is smooth buttery and it melts in the mouth.
Garadu is a type of purple yam. It is peeled, cut into small rectangular pieces, deep fried in front of the customer and served hot topped up with spices, chilies and lemon juice.
It is a very popular sweet dish consisting of a type of thin flat pancake made of flour, khoya (solidified milk) & semolina, deep fried & then dipped in sugary syrup.
These are a sort of potato balls stuffed with grated coconut, fried & served hot with tangy tamarind chutney.
It is a large sized cousin of the standard Indian sweet dish Jalebi which is popular all over India.
Large varieties of ice creams are available here. A popular variety is ice cream prepared with mango pulp. Superior varieties of mango ice creams are usually prepared with the costly Hapos (Alphanso) mango.
Koolfie is a sort of ice cream available throughout India. But the range of the varieties available here is mind blowing. Apart from exotic varieties like the Shahi Koolfie, Sitafal Kulfie (Kulfie made from Custard Apple), Chocolate Koolfie etc. even a ‘Sugarless’ Koolfie is also available for the Diabetics.
It is an Indian Sweet dish made of strained yogurt. It is highly popular in Western India, particularly in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Known as Phuchkaa in Eastern India and Golgappa in the north, this is an extremely popular food item especially among young girls all over India. Here in Sarafa Bazaar, at least 10 varieties of Pani Puri are available to cater to the different tastes of the customers.
Shikanji is a refreshing drink made from lemon and water. But the Shikanji that is available in Indore (called Indori Shikanji) is different. Here it is prepared from milk & dry fruits and has a slight tanginess from Muttha (Buttermilk).
Unique to Indore, this is a mixture of POHA (made from flattened rice or Chura/Chira) & JILEBI (a very popular sweet item).
Paan or Betel leaf combined with Supari (areca nut) and some other ingredients including lime and tobacco is a highly popular food item in India, chewed for its stimulant effect. There are many varieties of Paan in different parts of India. The Petha Paan which is available in Sarafa Bazaar is, however, quite different from the common types. Here inside the Betel leaf ingredients like areca nut, cashew nut, almond and spices are mixed and on the outside a thin layer of a sweet item called Petha is added. The whole thing is quite mouth-filling.
The Sarafa Food Bazaar is a unique thing to see. Both the foodie-types and the non-foodies will be delighted to see this excellent market.