Taste the Tradition: 7 Famous Foods of Varanasi

March 23, 2024

Varanasi, also called Banaras or Kashi, is an ancient city in India. It’s not only known for its long history and spiritual importance but also for its delicious food. This city is located on the holy Ganges River’s banks, offering a unique culinary experience.

When you visit Varanasi, you’ll discover a mix of taste, smell, and food traditions cherished for generations. As you stroll through its lively streets and colourful markets, various flavours tell the story of its rich history and diverse culture. From street-side snacks to traditional thalis (platters) and sweet delights, Varanasi offers diverse culinary experiences that tantalize the taste buds and leave a lasting impression. 

In the heart of Varanasi, where traditions and spirituality come together, the food reflects a long and cherished history. Varanasi’s food isn’t just about eating; it’s a celebration of its culture, history, and the friendly nature of its people. Let’s go through all these dishes in detail.

1. Kachori-Sabzi: The Breakfast Delight

Kachori-Sabzi: The Breakfast Delight

Your day in Varanasi often begins with the delightful aroma of Kachori-Sabzi wafting through the streets. Kachori is a deep-fried pastry with a spicy mixture of lentils and spices. It’s served with a side of sabzi, which is a spicy potato curry. When dipped into the tangy and spicy sabzi, the crispy kachori creates a flavour explosion that’s nothing short of heavenly. You can find this delicious breakfast treat at street stalls and local eateries.

2. Chaat: A Burst of Flavours

Chaat: A Burst of Flavours

Varanasi’s chaat is legendary; you simply can’t visit the city without trying it. Chaat is an amicable mix of flavours, textures, and spices. Containing fresh fried dough wafers, tender boiled potatoes, healthy chickpeas, creamy yoghurt, delightful tamarind chutney, and a variety of aromatic flavours, it finishes in a dish that vows to excite your sense of taste with its wonderful blend of pleasantness, tanginess, and spiciness. Kashi’s famous Chat Bhandar is one of the go-to places for the best chaat experience in town.

3. Litti-Chokha: Desi delicacy on a Plate

Litti-Chokha: Desi delicacy on a Plate

Litti-Chokha is a traditional dish hailing from the heart of Varanasi. Litti is round wheat flour balls stuffed with roasted gram flour and spices, while chokha is a mashed vegetable preparation usually made from roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and spices. The smoky flavours of the chokha and the earthy taste of litti make this dish a must-try. It’s often served with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter) for added richness.

4. Malaiyyo: The Fluffy Dessert Cloud

Malaiyyo: The Fluffy Dessert Cloud

Malaiyyo is a unique dessert and is known as the best food in Varanasi. This dessert is only available in the winter months and is a speciality of Varanasi. It’s made from milk froth, saffron, and cardamom, resulting in a fluffy and fragrant delicacy. Locals say that the best malaiyyo can be found in the narrow lanes around the Vishwanath Temple. Eating a bowl of malaiyyo while enjoying the serene Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat is an unforgettable experience.

5. Banarasi Paan: A Mouthful of Tradition

Thandai: A Cool Sip of History

Banarasi paan is not just a mouth freshener; it’s an integral part of the city’s culture and tradition. Made by wrapping betel leaves around a mixture of areca nut, slaked lime, catechu, and various aromatic spices, Banarasi paan is both a taste sensation and a digestive aid. It’s a symbol of hospitality in Varanasi, and you’ll find numerous paan shops across the city where skilled paanwalas craft this artful treat.

6. Thandai: A Cool Sip of History

Thandai enjoys popularity as Varanasi famous food, particularly during the Holi festival. This chilled beverage includes almonds, fennel seeds, rose petals, saffron, and milk. The method involves grinding these elements and then straining them to craft a refreshing and tasty drink. Thandai is a great way to beat the heat and has a rich historical significance in the city’s culture.

7. Tamatar Chaat: A Surprising Twist

Tamatar Chaat: A Surprising Twist

Tamatar chaat, or tomato chaat, is another mouthwatering delight and famous food in Banaras. This dish offers a delightful simplicity and deliciousness, showcasing the natural goodness of ripe tomatoes, an artful fusion of spices, and a zesty touch of tamarind chutney. For an irresistible flavour profile, finely chop the tomatoes with a medley of spices like cumin, red chilli powder, and chaat masala. Fusing tangy tomatoes and spicy seasonings offers a delightful treat for your taste buds.


Varanasi’s food landscape is a journey through tradition, taste, and culture. From savory breakfast kachori-sabzi to the heavenly sweetness of malaiyyo and the refreshing thandai, this city has a culinary heritage that will leave you craving more. So, when you are looking for a top restaurant near you, take the time to savour these seven famous food items in Varanasi. They are not just dishes; they are the essence of Varanasi’s vibrant culture, served on a plate for you to enjoy. Taste the tradition; savour the flavours of Varanasi!

Whether you’re taking a leisurely walk by the Ghats, exploring the lively markets, or relishing a meal at traditional famous eateries in Varanasi, the flavours of the city will enchant your senses and create lasting memories. They remind us that getting ready and savouring food is a commitment in a city devoted to spirituality.

Thus, the next time you end up in the heart of Varanasi, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy these popular dishes. Each bite encourages to experience traditions, connects with the city’s rich history, and relishes the exceptional mix of tastes that make Varanasi a culinary treasure. In Varanasi, each feast is a happy event, and each dish is a story ready to be enjoyed.

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