City Food - Five Spots, Gurugram’s Sadar Bazar

City Food – Five Spots, Gurugram’s Sadar Bazar

5-star culinary tour.

[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Food tours in Old Delhi—nice, but now such a cliche! Do a food tour in old Gurugram, for a change, especially in Sadar Bazar. And be sure to stop by these five gems.

Jalebi star
The venerable cooks of the neem-facing Sardar Jalebi shop have been deep-frying sweet twisted jalebis for more than seventy years (see photo). The jalebi is thin, extremely crisp and tastes excellent even when cold (as opposed to thick, juicy Jalebi, best eaten freshly hot). Founder, the late Arjun Singh, arrived in the city as a Partition refugee from present-day Pakistan.

Dahi bhalla star
On getting an order, Mahesh dips a deep-fried bhalla into the container of dahi, pulls it up and puts it into a bowl. He adds meethi chutney and khatti chutney, and tops that with crispy papri shards. The man makes all the constituents himself early morning (4am!) at his one-room house in Jharsa. He works on his bicycle, which also serves as his stall, with a large pan and bags clinging to every nook and hook. Truth be told, he pedals through the city’s many sectors, but most of his hours are spent in Sadar Bazar streets.

Doda star
What petha is to Agra, doda/dodha/dodda is to Gurugram. The idyllic place to try this dark-brown sprouted-wheat mithai is at Sadar’s Sham Sweets. It was set up by Partition refugee Sham Lal Bajaj, whose family had a sweet shop in Dera Ghazi Khan. Doda was always a popular mithai, but this establishment helped spread its appeal in the city. Sham’s desi ghee version is topped with badam and kaju.

Kebab star
The sole kebab stall outside Sadar’s Jama Masjid serves seekh and boti. The true pleasure of their taste is derived from the stall’s regulars, mostly the area’s shopkeepers, carpenters and labourers. Everyday, chatty men gather at the stall, make a circle, passing around a hukkah that belongs to the kebab establishment, founded by Khurshid Bhai four decades ago.

Chhole kulche star
Guptaji ke Mashoor Butter Walle Chhole Kulche, near Apna Bazar building, has five types of kulcha—plain, masala, long (its long!), aloo and paneer. Preparing a serving, stall owner Rajesh’s rehearsed hands quickly slaps down chhole into a bowl, adds garnishes (sliced gajar, mango pickles and green chillies), squeezes lemon—all at the same time. As his hurry-hurry fingers reaches for the garam masala, he inevitably asks, “Very spicy, middle spicy, or no spice?”