Foodie Vacation continues in Agra!

agra chaat

The previous post detailed the food escapades in Delhi.

So we caught a train to Agra which took a wee bit more time than by car from Delhi. I was looking forward to going to Agra that we had skipped on our last tour to North India a couple of years back. Not only is Agra the place of my birth but being originally from UP, I was keen to see how the state is now. As we reached Agra station, it was pretty hot, hotter than Delhi. We were going to be staying at Taj with the view of Taj – what can be better than that? So of course, while the Taj Mahal was our topmost priority and it did not disappoint, we went out for some UP ka khana with gusto. We first headed to Chaat Gali in Sadar which is a string of chaat shops. First stop was Agra Chat House. Apparently, this is one of Agra’s oldest and most popular chat places, and the taste does live up to the name. It wasn’t too dirty, and there was even water to wash our hands with. So we attacked dahi vade, aloo chaat, aloo tikki and papdi chat. It was really yummy. This place is in Sadar at Agra. Compared to Punjabi chaat, UP’s chat is slightly different in taste. I loved it more perhaps because my mom made it that way and in turn I too make it that way :D. Even the kids related to the taste more.

Agra Chat House
At the Agra Chat House at Sadar
Agra Chat House
Those tikkis and aloo chaat were yummy. So were the dahi bhalle.

After having all that yummy stuff, we headed to Panchi Petha. Petha for some reason is among my favorite Indian sweets. Of course, the original dry variety is the favorite of mine. But the shop had so many variants. We chose rasbhari. The only problem with wet petha is that it does not last as long as dry petha and we still had a week to go. But store it in the fridge and it will last you a fortnight. So we bought a few boxes and also picked a large pack of Agra’s famous dalmoth – that spicy tangy mixture of lentils and dry fruits that is a great snack to have anytime. You will be amused to find a Panchi petha in every bylane of Agra. Be sure to ask the locals and reach the original shop and its other branches.

Done here, we went across the street to Brijwasi sweets where we had some lassi and completely yummy melt-in-the-mouth rasmalai. The afternoon adventure was done. Yes, this was our lunch :D.

Rambabu paratha in Agra
Rambabu Paratha bhandar in Agra
Agra food
Paratha thali at Rambabu Paratha bhandar

For dinner, we decided to head out to a popular paratha joint called Rambabu Paratha Bhandar in Agra that we had heard a lot about. The place is again a smallish joint where they cook outside, but you get to sit on some chairs and tables in an adjacent building. What hit me about the place was the exorbitant price of the parathas. I confirmed twice if they were charging Rs. 100+ for one paratha. Yes, they were and without taxes. The parathas were heavy and decent in taste. Though not deep fried, they definitely seemed deep fried with the loads of oil they use to roast the parathas in. Each plate had a sour curd curry which was too sour for my taste, a dry vegetable, some pickle (which was pretty good) and a yummy potato gravy which is a staple in UP (again almost like the aloo-tamatar I make at home). I found this potato gravy everywhere.  We tried their aloo, gobhi and mooli parathas. All were equally good. I did feel that the place was a bit overrated. Was my quest for the perfect paratha going to stay unfulfilled on this trip, I wondered?

After that heavy dinner, we headed back. For breakfast next day, we asked a local autorickshaw driver to suggest something authentic. He took us to a famous Devi Ram Sweets where the entire Agra, well almost, turns up for their favorite Bedai and Jalebis. Luckily they have a very clean section upstairs with good seating. We took our places and samples their bedai that was served with the same potato gravy (much spicier but yummy). Bedai is like a kachori with a dal filling less generous than a kachori. This is the staple breakfast in Agra and people have it all day long. Yes, this place is really popular judging from the crowds that throng the place. And it is reasonably priced too. I wish we had some space in our tummies to try out their jalebis. But the heavy food of the past few days was taking its toll. Satiated we left and for lunch had a simple thaali to balance out the food debauchery of the past few days. Foodwise, Agra offered some interesting choices. In taste, I could identify a lot of tastes from my own cooking here. Of course, we have long ago left cooking the deep-fried stuff behind.

We were catching a train to the foodie paradise of Amritsar in the evening. I had been to the city of Golden Temple in 1999 and have very fond memories of the place. You can’t beat the fabulous food you get in Punjab. Those foodie travels will continue in the next post.

43 thoughts on “Foodie Vacation continues in Agra!

  1. I’m glad I read this post after a heavy brunch of aloo parathas!! 😀
    I have bookmarked your posts.. I haven’t been to Agra either and these food places will be of immense help when I do visit these beautiful cities! 🙂

  2. Mmmmmm I am from UP. And I miss the food. I can relate to the chat (Yes it is different from Delhi) and that aloo sabzi, I know which gravy you are talking about. And daal moth and Petha…mmmmm. My mouth is watering so much. I have not traveled to UP in decades, this makes me want to go back right now!

    • You and I are so alike, Sfurti. Once we moved to Mumbai in the 80s, we must have gone back just once to UP. Now that the family has moved out, I really don’t have any place to go back to except fond memories in my head. But the food there connected with me instantly :-D. Of course, I feel very bad about the lack of development. One refreshing change was hearing Hindi everywhere.

  3. I am liking your Hunger Games tour! I don’t care much for Pethas…they are perhaps too different from conventional Indian sweets for my taste.
    100 rupees for a paratha! Did they come with gold flakes?

    • Thank you for liking the series, Rickie. Yes pethas are like that, you either love them or hate them. I tell you, in that ramshackle place, the people had the audacity of charging almost Rs. 120 to Rs. 140 for one paratha. It was outrageous. And when we asked him for a bill, he smoothly said, it will take 20% taxes more. Talk about daylight robbery!

  4. janu says:

    Most of the tourists who visit Agar make a day trip I think from Delhi, not staying overnight there. To walk around in that heat would kill me as I went there during May. If given a chance would love to visit Agra during winter and relish all the goodies.

    • Yes, that is the reason why we went in the first week of April. Believe it or not, the weather was better than what it was in Bangalore. Winter surely is a better option. The reason why we did not wish to make a day trip was that it would be too tiring for us. This way we got an opportunity to not only explore the food joints but also visit the Taj twice at a leisurely pace :).

  5. In my younger days i have stayed for about 4 years in Agra, the best place for good food, good butter, milk , sweets and the best chats/ bhale, chuski, jelabhis, samosas.
    I remember we use dot go to the famous street called Seth Gali in those days and gobble bhale like anything. He used to make it with pure ghee, and it would taste so yummy. He would sprinkle julienned ginger and all the special masalas.
    That was years and years ago. We went to Agra afterwards, but things had changed so much, we couldn’t visit Seth gali for my favorite Bhale, but we had lots of that in every street, which were quite good.
    Your blog brought back pleasant memories of my days in Agra.
    Did you shop for their famous chappals?
    The thought of all the foods available there literally is making my mouth water.

    • Ah that is so interesting to know, Rama. I am sure the place must have transformed a lot. Since I had no earlier memories to compare with I couldn’t really say. I didn’t shop for the chappals. I should have. I guess we spent all our time eating and being at the Taj Mahal. The monument took my breath away.

    • Yes, now it will be too hot. We planned in such a way that the weather was quite reasonable when we left. Oh you must have the chat in Agra, it is quite tasty. You may appreciate the UP tastes more. And Agra is so close for you. I couldn’t get enough of the Taj. Just loved it a lot.

  6. Seems like you had an interesting time. Reminds me it has been ages since I have been on a vacation. Though of course I travel quite a bit on work. But most times I end up working all the time or catch a quick visit to some places on my last evening. Nothing like a full blown vacation trip.

    • I can understand what you are saying. Traveling on work is never vacation really. You must take a chunk of days off and then go and explore places. It is a lot of fun, but with a little baby you can’t do that. Even with us, we left the kids at the hotel while we explored the monuments peacefully. The food joints they were more than happy to accompany us to :).

  7. I don’t like petha too much but chaats are an all time favorite with me. May be it has something to do with me being Punjabi 🙂 But really, the parathas costed Rs 100 ?

    • More than Rs. 100 for one paratha! Since we had traveled a fair distance, we ate there. In any other place, I would have walked out since it was clear that he was cheating all the customers. I wish I had taken a pic of their menu board.

  8. Great post! Glad you had a great time, Rachana. Somehow I have always felt lost in Agra when it comes to food, for reasons I myself don’t know but now I know the list of places that I should go. I have been to Agra more than thrice already and have still not figured out the oldest Panchi petha shop out of the entire lot. Even the locals give a confused answer when quizzed about it. Guess, we need to dig deeper for the right one!

    • Hi Arti, So glad to see you here. Actually Panchi Petha has a website and we googled it for the authentic address. Of course, our auto chap was very helpful. He took us to Devi Ram Sweets on his own. Yes, Agra can be really confusing. But these days, I prefer to research on the net and also ask friends who have been to the place for inputs.

  9. I don’t recall what all we had in Agra when we visited as that seems ages ago…But I will do anything for some chat right at this moment…Oh Rachna I will land at your house directly from airport if you keep tempting me with such posts :D…You know this entire long weekend my husband and I have been craving chat and tikkas but got none..

    • hehe Naba! You are more than welcome to drop in. As a matter of fact, why don’t you come over home when you are back in Bangalore. I would be glad to feed you and S some homemade chat or anything else you like.

    • Yes, it was fun. I loved the Taj. Not only did we make two trips to sit and gaze at it. We also kept seeing it from our room :-). I loved your gift to your hubby :-D.

  10. Have been to Agra a couple of times, but except for the Panchhi Petha, havent tried anything else. But you sure had a gala time exploring and savoring the various foodie delights of Agra!! Rs 100+ for a parantha is EXORBITANT!!

  11. man…I get four frozen paratha for $2 (Rs 100) 😛 That was a incredibly yummy post…while I am finger licking my gongura pappu for lunch 🙂 Waiting for your punjabi adventures

    • See even in US you get cheaper parathas. That place had me fuming. It was daylight robbery I tell you. Yes, Amritsar will be next. I love gongura pappu, yummy!

  12. Ah.. This brings back so many memories. I too am from U.P. and grew up in Mathura IOCL township which was about 40 kms from Agra. I do love the UP wali chat specially aloo tikkis which are not the same anywhere else and my mum makes amazing bedais. A visit to Panchhi petha was a must whenever we visited Agra in those days. 🙂 You have made me want to visit the place again.

    And if I remember right, Parvez Musharraf visited Rambabu paranthe wale during his Agra visit, which could be the reason of the steep price. Loved all your posts in the series. 🙂

    • Wow, didn’t know about Parvez Musharraf bit. Looks like that is what made him lose his head :). Thank you for reading and relishing this series.

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