For the last one year life has been a tussle between travelling to Pune and Mumbai, I can’t even remember now, how many times I have explored the train journey, the bus journey and at times car too when I travelled with my family. Being in Mumbai I missed the Pune foodie inside me, because the cuisine is so much different and colorful in Mumbai. Nothing can beat the street food in Mumbai in this country because all the variety you find here is available in some part of India, be it in a different variety or form but the root recipe will always be the same. More than cooking, eating has always given me that kind of incredible satisfaction which any individual gets after having a scrumptious home meal. Since I have been a proud Punekar for the last 22 years now, getting the glimpses of Mumbai since 2013, the love and fascination for delicacies in Pune can never change. Every city has its unique blend of dishes that tantalizes taste buds of anybody if you are an ardent foodie from the core of your heart. I bring forth some specialties from the Oxford of the East. These are delicacies you must try on your visit to the city, some don’t even have English translations which in itself defines the uniqueness of these dishes.
Recently Pune has undergone a dramatic change from just being known as the Oxford of the East with a charm of its own, classic roads, old wadas or bungalows to being a bustling metropolis with IT towns like Hinjewadi and Magarpatta mushrooming the city, German smoke- spewing cars on the roads and so many malls that you hardly ever get bored. One thing it totally lacks is the well efficient public transport system unlike Mumbai which is why it becomes a bit of monotony to travel in this city when you do not possess your own vehicle. Moving on to the foodie junction there is a wide variety to choose from the Joshi batate wade (spiced potato croquettes), chitalyanchi bakarwadi ( fried and dry spring rolls), the Vaishali Dosa, Idli, Uttapam and SPDP relished even by Dev Anand in his college days at Pune, to name a few that have to be tried without exception!
Listing down some of the top items that you could try on your journey to this city:
Bakarwadi at Chitale
Chitale is a Pune institution with several branches (and stockists) around the city. The bakarwadi (a fried savoury snack) is their signature product. Also yummy are their chivdas, the malai barfi and their fresh snacks like matar karanji. They also stock melt-on-the tongue, sweet, crisp chirote (made elsewhere).
Shrewsbury Biscuits And Plain/Mawa Cakes At Kayani Bakery (East Street, Pune Camp)
This family-owned bakery used to be notorious for their stubbornly limited production of biscuits and cakes (which would be sold out by noon). They have bowed to public pressure, though, and now churn out consistently delicious cakes and melt-in-the-mouth Shrewsbury biscuits all day long.
Potato Wafers/Potato Sali (sticks) At Budhani Wafers (M.G. Road, Pune Camp)
Chirote From Bedekar Misal (Sadashiv Peth)
A chirota (pl: Chirote) is a million-layered puff of fried dough (creamy white, despite the frying) dusted with snow-like castor sugar. Heaven in a bite. Of course since it is Bedekar Misal, they are the pioneers of this one thing in Pune. Misal is a jumble of spiced lentils, crunchy fried chivda, potatoes and onions.
The Gavraan Thali At Mathura (J. M. Road)
A set meal of ‘gavraan’ (village/country cuisine) dishes.
Jhunka Bhakar At Shabri (F.C. Road)
Traditional Marathi-heartland fare comprising bhakari (thick roti-like bread made of jowar/bajra) and jhunka (tasty, toasted chickpea flour paste).
Parathas At Chaitanya Parathas (F. C. Road)
Authentic and delicious Punjabi parathas at extremely affordable prices. Served with a generous dollop of butter and refreshing mint chutney. Also on offer – other Punjabi dishes like daal makhani, bharta, rajma etc and soothing lassis.
Pessarattu Dosa And Modgapudi Idli at Wadeshwar( F.C Road)
Wadeshwar serves nice appe, mini idlis and Set Dosas which you won’t get easily at other South Indian restaurants in Pune. The main attraction is also Mineral Water Pani Puri which many of the foreigners in the city treat upon.
Chatni Sandwiches At Marz-o-rin (M.G. Road, Pune Camp) have been a tradition since a long time.
Chicken Momos at Viman Nagar and F . C . Road are the first choice of any non-veg lover in this city, it is filling, spicy, soft and irresistible all at the same time. The spicy and hot Schezwan chutney makes it the preferred choice for many.
Punekars are known to be proud and passionate about their cultural instincts. At the same time they are proud of their food culture too. A foodie knows where to sniff and find out about the delicious and mouth – watering dishes he/she wants to gorge upon. Many of my friends who come to Pune from abroad or have settled down here for work always have this question running at the back of their minds. So the next time, you are in this city or already are, the places and food items are already fed inside your brain and you know what to try.
Since the last two years there have been innumerable trial and errors of discovering something fresh out of these root recipes since cooking is something which gives me the nostalgia of being associated with my culture and making other people happy by making them eat. It turns out to be a bit on the other side at times since I love eating more! I hope this little sneak – peek into the Pune delicacy world would be helpful to people who love to explore FOOD!!!
This blog was totally inspired after watching Fox Life erstwhile Fox Traveler. It always energizes the foodie inside me.
Some information about venues taken from the internet.
If you have any more items to add to this short list, please help yourself 😀
©Rucha Sudhir Khot