It might not be wrong to label Indore as the street food capital of Madhya Pradesh. And within Indore, perhaps the most vibrantly memorable street food experience would be the fabled Sarafa Bazar – the old jewelers’ market near Rajwada palace, a crumbling remnant of the Holkas dynasty.
No one is quite sure of the origin of this bazaar. However, legend goes that it began 100 years ago and was encouraged by the jewelery owners, so that hustle bustle late into the night would secure their own stores at. With this in mind, they voluntarily started offering space to food vendors and thus, the famous food street: Sarafa Bazar was born. Today this late night market receives nearly 3,000 visitors, locals and tourists alike.
Perhaps the fact that the market transforms itself from a serious jewelery haven to a not-so-serious foodies paradise at 8 PM has something to do with its charm. But it isn’t difficult to understand why food enthusiasts of all ages and sizes throng Sarafa, eating their way through irresistible sweets, chatpati chats and unique Indori dishes such as bhutte ki kees. But I get ahead of myself. Hopefully the guide below will help you plan your vsit to Sarafa well, so that you can take in its myriad sights, sounds and tastes in one single evening.
- Sarafa is located about 2.5 km from Indore GPO and can be easily reached from Rajwada Palace by cab, car, two-wheeler or rickshaw. However, parking is difficult given that the bazaar is localted in narrow lanes.
- Do wear comfortable walking shoes.
- As with any food street visit, try and go in a group of 6-10 in order to try all the dishes on offer without wasting any food.
- Plan to reach by 8-8:30 PM since food can run out given the popularity of some of the stalls.
- Though bottled drinking water is available easily, do carry your own water bottle to avoid purchasing plastic water bottles.
- Sarafa can get crowded given that Indore is a city of foodies. Don’t let the hordes intimidate you. Look around and take in the sights, sounds and aromas as you experience gastronomical delight.
- Some of the dishes mentioned in this guide are seasonal and may not be available depending on which time of the year you are visiting.
- Take the time to chat up with food stall owners to get an insight into the history of their stalls, know their secret ingredients and celebrated recipes.