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Indore Food Guide: What are the Best Budget Eateries for a First Time Traveler ?

Indore food guide will help all those travelers immensely who are visiting this part of India for the first time. Indore, also known as the business or commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, is a synonym for Food there.

The moment you enter the city of Indore, it welcomes you with the aroma of food (popularly called Indori Mehamannawazi).

Specifically, the street food in Indore is extremely popular among all the food lovers in the country. This street food capital gets this name because of its flavors, the variety of chaats and a wide range of street foods that it offers.

Whatever be the reason of your visit to Indore, the food is bound to make you awestruck. Sarafa Bazaar during the night and Chappan Dukaan (56 shops) are two destinations that should be on top of your food itinerary. I highly recommend them in my Indore food guide blog.

In the current article, I will walk you through the streets of Indore and leave you enthralled. I hope my Indore food guide blog helps you choose your picks and savour new cuisines. 

indore food guide

Indore, undoubtedly is the food capital of Madhya Pradesh. Photography by Nihit Neema

Indore Food Guide: An Overview

Must try items for first timers Poha Jalebi, Dahi Bada, Bhutte ka Kees, Khopra Patties, Dal Bafla, Shikanji
Must visit foodie places Sarafa Bazaar, ChappanDukaan, Rajwada
Best vegetarian item in Indore Poha Jalebi, Dal Bafla, Sabudana Khichadi, Shikanji, Kachori
Best non-vegetarian item in Indore Nafees Biryani, Chicken varieties
Recommended street food items Dahi Bada,Bhutte ka Kees, Khopra Patties
Food items native to Indore Garadu

Before you head to Indore to tickle your taste buds, preliminary knowledge about the place is important.

Internet will give you the superficial details but people native to the place will guide you much more. This is exactly what happened in my case. 

From my personal experience, I would say it is completely safe to roam around on the streets during the nights and would recommend every foodie to go for this once in a lifetime experience.

Indore as a Travel Destination: Highlights

Before I go into the details of Indore food guide, let me introduce you to Indore as a travel destination.

Location Central India
State Madhya Pradesh
Best Time to Visit October to March, July to September
Best Mode of External Transport Volvo Bus, Train
Best Mode of Internal Transport Auto Rickshaw
Budget Accommodation Hotels
Cost Status of a 2 Day Trip Moderate (Rs. 800 – 2000/- per night for a 2-3 star hotel)

The street food in Indore has its roots based in the recipes from its neighboring states – Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

These three combined together have created magical virtual chats that will rest on your palate forever. You will not hesitate to say that Indori street food items are assault courses for the taste buds and a boot camp for the mouth.

indore food guide

Sarafa Bazaar is a bustling street that serves an approximate 3000 visitors each night. Photography by Mangesh Salvi

Indore’s Famous Sarafa Bazaar

The Sarafa Bazaar is a bustling jewelry market by the day and a food fiesta at night. For a market that is more than 100 years old, one can say Indore is the heaven for midnight foodies in the form of this Ratri Bazaar (night market).

The street serves an approximate 3000 visitors each night, constituting both local and tourists. It starts after 8 PM in the evening and serves till 2 AM late night.

If you are in Indore even for a single night, the Sarafa should be on top of your Indore food guide list.

It is a narrow lane cramped with people wanting a bite of their favorite dishes at popular street food stalls. The atmosphere filled with enthralling aromas and enthusiasm is heartening to see.

So now that you are aware about Sarafa Bazaar, let’s get started with the showstoppers (You would have to fight for your share if you are late) –

Indore Food Guide for Street Food Lovers

Recommended Item   Availability
 Dahi Bada Joshi Dahi Bada House, Sarafa Bazaar
 Bhutte ka Kees Joshi Dahi Bada House, Sawariya Chaat House, Sarafa Bazaar
 Khopra Patties Vijay Chaat House, Sarafa Bazaar and ChappanDukaan
Garadu Roadside Outlets, Sarafa Bazaar

Dahi Bada

Dahi Bada or Vada are deep fried lentil balls added to sweet-sour tasting curd. Started in 1977 by Ram Chandra Joshi, the Joshi Dahi Bada Househas been reigning the hearts of the foodies in Indore for nearly 4 decades now.

The badas are prepared in style by Mr. Joshi who flings your bada in the air, catches it in a bowl full of curd and then sprinkles it with various masalas in a single pinch.

This shop opens at 11 AM in the morning and serves toothsome DahiBadas till 1 AM after midnight (The reality is that you need to be there before 11 pm otherwise you are going to miss out).

 Average cost per person – 40 INR
indore food guide

Dahi Badas are deep fried lentil balls added to sweet-sour tasting curd. Photography by Prajakta Satpute

Bhutte ka Kees

This is a unique specialty of Indore prepared from boiled mashed corn fried in ghee (clarified butter) and then mixed with gram flour, asafoetida, coriander, cumin seeds, lime juice and their unique blend of spices.

The best place to get this – Joshi Dahi Bada House again.

 Average cost per person – 40 INR
indore food guide

Bhutte ka Khees is boiled and mashed corn fried in ghee . Photography by Chef Varun

Khopra Patties

The Khopra Patties has its own X-factor which distinguishes it from the usual Potato Patties. These are Aloo Tikkis stuffed with grated coconut and then deep fried. This patty is served with tangy chutney which enhances the taste.

 Average cost per person – 15 INR
indore food guide

Khopra Pattis are aloo tikkis stuffed with grated coconut and then deep fried. Photography by Prajakta Satpute

Garadu

This is a winter special delicacy sold at almost all the local street food stalls.

Garadu is a variety of Yam which is chopped into pieces, fried twice and then tossed in spices and lime juice. The crisp garadu chunks in the chilling winters can give the potato wedges a run for money.

 Average cost per person – 20 INR
indore food guide

Garadu chunks have a special appeal during the months of winter. Photography by Piyush Dixit

Indore presents an ultimate variety of Vegetarian food. The love for food is evident by the fact that even though the markets here do not start their business until 11 am, street food vendors begin their sales during early morning hours.

Indore Food Guide for Vegetarians

Recommended Item   Availability
 Dal Bafla Hotel Rajhans, Sarafa Bazaar
 PohaJalebi Young Tarang, ChappanDukaan
 Sabudana Khichadi Saawariya, Sarafa Bazaar
Shikanji Nagori Mishtaan Bhandar, Sarafa Bazaar

Dal Bafla

Dal Bafla is a simple yet mouthwatering dish. The Baflas,medium size balls made with wheat and semolina are baked in oven (little hard on the outside but soft inside) and served with hot Dal (tangy at times).

They are different from the traditional Bati from Rajasthan in the sense that the bafla is first boiled in the turmeric water and then baked. It is crushed and dipped in ghee before being served.

Delicious Ladoos made of semolina; coriander-mint chutney and mango pickle are what accompany the bafla.

 Average cost per person – 200 INR
indore food guide

Baflas are  balls made with wheat & semolina. They are baked in oven and served with hot Dal. Photography by Vaibhav V Sharma

Poha Jalebi

This is a unique combination you will find literally anywhere in the city in the morning hours.

Widely adopted as a breakfast option, Poha, made of flattened rice and Jalebi – a sweet made of Gram flour crisply fried and dipped in sugar syrup will definitely make your day.

You can top up the Poha with special Indori Clove Sev to shoot up the Taste Meter.

 Average cost per person – 15 INR (Poha),  30 INR (Jalebi)
indore food guide

One of the commonest breakfasts in Indore is that of Poha Jalebi. Photography by Prajakta

Sabudana Khichadi

Sabudana Khichadi is a common dish made of soaked tapioca. It is especially eaten during festivals and fasting and is prepared in almost every household in India.

However, if you taste it in Indore, you’ll realize that you can swear by its lip-smacking taste. Here, it is served with fariyali namkeen, lemon juice and garnished with coriander.

 Average cost per person – 40 INR

 

indore food guide

Sabudana Khichadi is a common dish made of soaked tapioca. Photography by Pankit Shah

Shikanji

Traditionally, you would call Lime water as Shikanji. But that’s different in the food loving city of Indore.

Here, you’ll be served a Shikanji made of Milk, saffron, dry fruits and a bit of tanginess from the Mattha (buttermilk). It tastes more like a glass of Lassi.

A visit to Sarafa Bazaar is incomplete without having Nagori ki Shikanji.

 Average cost per person – 55 INR
indore food guide

Shikanji – The refreshing drink for all seasons. Photography by Smita Rawat

If you think you’ve stuffed in street food enough for a month, hold on. This is just the beginning and you’ll soon realize that the list is pretty much infinite. Here are a few items that will light up your eyes and make you think twice before saying a ‘No!’

Indore Food Guide for Travelers Whose Heart Says,” I Want More”

Recommended Item   Availability
Kachori Laal Balti Kachori, Rambag

GeldaKachori, Dawa Bazaar & RNT Marg

Ravi Alpahar, Anand Bazaar

Prasidh Ki Kachori, Sheesh Mahal near Cloth Market

PaniPuri Streets of Indore
MoongBhajiya Uncleji KeMoong Bhajiye, Anoop Nagar
Egg Benjo Johny Hot Dog, Chappan Dukaan
BinaTala Samosa Streets of Indore

Kachori

Kachori, a top notch for the chat lovers, is basically a puri stuffed with spiced lentils, potato, or beans. You might have tried the traditional Kachori made of Dal or Aloo.

But here in Indore, you will get a variety like PyaazkiKachori, Mutter ki Kachori, Bhutte ki Kachori, Fariyali Kachori and so on.

 Average cost per person – 20 INR
indore food guide

Kachori is a top notch street food item for the chaat lovers. Photography by Prajakta Satpute

Pani Puri

You’ll find hardly any street food lover who does not like PaniPuri. It’s also known as GolGappe in some parts of India. Indore again has its own twist to this dish.

Here, you’ll be served as many as 7 different flavors of PaniPuri in addition to the usual mint and chilli spiked water. Hing (asafoetida), lime, ginger, garlic, and so on.

 Average cost per person – 20 INR

Moong Bhajiya

Moong Bhajiya is Lentil balls deep fried and served with fried chilies and green chutney. You cannot go to Indore and come back without having tasted the scrumptious moongbhajiyas.

They can be had as an evening snack and perhaps even for breakfast. They are always served fresh and piping hot, which only goes to add to their wonderful taste.

 Average cost per person – 40 INR

 Egg Benjo (Hot Dog)

These are not exactly a Hot Dogs, but burgers, banjos and sandwitches. The Egg Benjo made from an omelette, crisp and red with chillies, nestled in a warmed bun that is melt-in-the-mouth soft is a claim to fame for the shop’s chief.

 Average cost per person – 30 INR (without cheese), 45 INR (with cheese)

Bina Tala Samosa

Contrary to the traditional Samosas that are a deep fried triangular shaped snack, these are specially baked Samosas served with freshly chopped onion, tomato ketchup and sev.

 Average cost per person – 20 INR

 After all the succulent and palatable vegetarian food, one will definitely be curious to know what Indore has on offer for the Non-vegetarians.

However, you will be a little disappointed to find out there are hardly any non-veg street food options. A few good Restaurants offer nectarous non-veg food.

Indore Food Guide for Non-Vegetarians

Recommended Item   Availability
 Biryan-E-Nafees Nafees Restaurant, Old Palasia
 MadniDarbar Choti Gwaltoli, Sarwate Bus Stand

 Biryan-E-Nafees

Ask for the best biryani in Indore and the answer will be “Nafees Restaurant”. It’s cooked with either mutton or chicken, (its rich taste will transport you to the era of the nawabs) laced with the most aromatic spices, layered with long, flavorful & soft rice, topped with caramelized onions and coriander leaves.

The aroma will keep you hooked, till you dig in.Bhunagosht and Mutton Angara are also a must try items at Nafees.

 Average cost per person – 400-450 INR
Indore Food Guide

Biryani – A Muglai dish whose rich taste will transport you to the era of the nawabs. Photography by Aman Shaikh

Hotel Madni Darbar

After indulging in all the diverse street food items, if you want something spicy and delightful, turn towards the MadniDarbar. Chicken Takatak, Chicken Begam Bahar, Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken Fry are just a few names that you cannot simply ignore on the Menu card.

 Average cost per person –250-300 INR

 It’s now time for a crack at the sweetmeats after a sumptuous main course offered by the food paradise. You cannot keep yourself at bay especially when you see the appealing dessert stalls at the Sarafa Bazaar. Here are a few sweets that should be on your must try list.

indore food guide

Tandoori Chicken is one of the most tested non-vegetarian item in Indore. Photography by Dianne Chow

Indore Food Guide for People with a Sweet Tooth

Recommended Item   Availability
 MawaBaati Any stall at ChappanDukaan
 Malpua – Rabdi Streets of Sarafa Bazaar
Jaleba Jai BholeJalebiBhandar, Sarafa Bazaar
KulfiFaluda Maduram Sweets, ChappanDukaan

NemaKulfiFaludacentre, Old Palasia

 Mawa Baati

MawaBaati is a larger than life Gulab Jamun with a filling of crispy and rich nuts.

It is one of the most delicious sweets of Indore and can be found at any of the stalls along Chappan Dukaan.

 Average cost per person – 50 INR

 

indore food guide

Maawa Bati is one of the most delicious desserts of Indore. Photography by Dr. Suroopa Das Redij

Malpua – Rabdi

Malpua is a winter specialty of Indore. It is essentially a pancake prepared from milk and mawa that is deep fried and then soaked in sugar syrup.

Garnished with rich dry fruits and served with hot Rabdi, Malpuasare one of the lip smacking deserts you will find in Indore.

 Average cost per person – 50 INR

Jaleba

If you have some space left in your tummy after having a feast at the food capital, head towards the sweet stalls of Sarafa Bazaar for a bite of the Indori version of Jalebi, called Jaleba.

It is a giant jalebi weighing about 300 grams which one person definitely cannot finish.

 Average cost per person – 40 INR
Indore Food Guide

If your tummy doesn’t have the capacity for a Jaleba, go straight for the mini jalebi. Photography by Stuti Garg

Kulfi Falooda

With the rising mercury levels, Kulfi Falooda, the Indian version of ice-cream definitely comes to the rescue.

If you happen to visit Indore during summers, head towards Madhuram Sweets or Nema Kulfi Falooda center for an enchanting serving loaded with dry fruit toppings.

 Average cost per person – 80 INR
indore food guide

Kulfi Falooda is the Indianised version of the ice cream. Photography by Shaikh Sadaf Jahan

Paan

After all the appetizing and flavorsome food, your tummy definitely needs a treat of an IndoriPaan to end the culinary journey on a high note.

Anna kaPaan is well known for a special kind of Paan which features cashew, almond, and gulkand, filled inside a thin layer of green petha and held together with a clove.

You will also find Smoke and Fire Paan in Indore which are rare attractions for the first timers.

 Average cost per person – 50 INR

Indori Namkeen

 Any trip or write up on Indore will be incomplete without a special mention of the wide variety of Namkeen that are on offer. You can taste the namkeen samples before you buy them.

The star among these is none other than IndoriSev or Laung (clove) Sev. A variety of Sev like single clove, double clove, palak, aloo and even pineapple flavored are available.

In addition to these there are varieties of Matris, Chikkis, Bhujia that you can take back as souvenir for family and friends.

Indore Food Guide for Namkeen Lovers

Recommended Shops 
Om Namkeen, New Palasia, near ChappanDukaan
 Ratan Sev Bhandar, Sarafa Bazaar
Apna Sweets, Lodhipura ,near Malganj Square
Aakash Namkeen, ChappanDukaan
 Ganesh Ratlami Sev and Namkeen, Chappan Dukaan
Madhuram Sweets, Chappan Dukaan

Indore has a lot to offer, if you are a foodie you’ll definitely enjoy it and if you not, you will definitely become one when you visit Indore.

Believe me, I’ve been there once but while penning down my experience here, my heart is urging me to head back and indulge in this food extravaganza again.

The night market at Sarafa Bazaar is one thing you cannot miss. It will make you fall in love with Indore especially because it is a food lover’s paradise.

Happy fooding around and wayfaring.

About the Author

Prajakta Satpute

Prajakta Satpute

Prajakta Satpute, a software professional, is an avid traveler. She prefers scaling a mountain and admiring the boundless horizons than writing lengthy lines of code sitting in front of the computer. She is an ardent sports lover and enjoys playing (whichever possible) and watching cricket, table tennis, badminton, tennis, kabaddi, F1 racing, and so on.

She believes traveling had given her a new perspective towards life. Desires to roam around the world to uncover the unseen serenity and would someday like to have a wall in her room decorated with pictures at all the places she visited.

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