A travel trip to any location is incomplete without local / street food experiences. There’s something about eating on streets or at simple, local joints, that the most elaborate multi-course meal at a fine dine restaurant can’t match. While traveling, it’s more than worth the effort to seek out these local experiences – read up, ask locals, explore crowded street food joints, sample local food. For Bangalore, we’ve made it simpler by listing what we believe are the unmissable local treats that you must sample.
1. Masala and Aloo Buns at a local Bakery.
We’re not sure if the local bakeries originated in Bangalore or another part of Karnataka but you’ll find them at every corner. Stacked with buns, patties, cakes and cookies – all freshly baked around 12 noon – these bakeries are a gastronomically delightful Bangalore phenomena. Their baked buns which come in three varieties – plain, masala and aloo (potato) – top the list for must-have experiences because you’re unlikely to find them in any other big city in India. The cookies are also interesting, especially a masala cookie which is a savoury take on the regular melt-in-your-mouth sweet variety. Another specialty of these stores is the baked nipattu – a crisp, flat, slim masala cookie which was traditionally deep fried. You could try Albert Bakery in Frazer Town for a special spread.
2. Fresh fruit juice at a local juice shop, often called Sri Ganesh Juice.
Take your pick from a menu of over 20 options, most made with fresh fruits. Bangalore has a lot of fruits, many of which are available all year round. Choose from watermelon, grape, mousambi (citrus fruit), orange, papaya, musk melon or mixed fruit. You could also have a milkshake made with apples, avocadoes and in season, mangoes. There are also lighter options such as lime-n-mint or lime-n-ginger juices. Most will come with price tags in the range of Rs. 20 – 40.
3. Masala Dosa at a Darshini / Sagar outlet
Shanti Sagar, Srinidhi Sagar, Upahar Sagar … there are many Darshini / Sagar outlets and you’ll probably find one every 200 mtrs in Bangalore. Most serve fresh South-Indian tiffin through the day, South-Indian meals during meal times and chaats and snacks in the evenings. You could try any of their items, including idlis, rava idlis, uttapams, rava dosas etc. but the basic offering is the ubiquitous masala dosa. Don’t miss this one – crisp, brown, with a delicious filling of potatoes and served with a typical kannadiga sambhar and coconut chutney. Check out Srinidhi Sagar or Om Sai Skanda Dosa Camp for seriously good South Indian tiffin.
4. Filter Coffee at a Darshini / Sagar outlet
These Sagar food chains are also the right place to sample the famous filter coffee, after which going back to instant coffee and for some people even cappuccinos, becomes difficult. These are created (it’s quite a creation) with a fresh coffee decoction (I think this might be a very south-Indian term for coffee concentrate) to which steaming, frothy milk is added from a height, and served in a small steel tumbler with a wider steel cup below it. The coffee is poured from the tumbler into the wider cups to cool it before consuming. Made right, these are the perfect pick-me-ups that sleep deprived brains (like mine) crave through the day. Addiction alert! Srinidhi Sagar, Hatti Kaapi and the iconic Brahmins Coffee Bar are among the many Darshini’s that serve Filter Coffee.
This is not one street food item to try but an entire street to experience. VV Puram is a MUST-DO if you have the remotest of inclinations towards street food. All types of vegetarian street food comes together at VV Puram. From akki rotis (rice rotis served with a finger-licking aubergine curry), to paddus (miniature masala idlis), paranthas, jalebis, chaat, lemon rice, puran polis / ubattus (sweet paranthas stuffed with lentils / coconut and jaggery), this is one street you would rather not miss.