By Prachiti Dhopatkar
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind, when you think of food in Bangalore (or “Bengaluru” as it was always called in Kannada and now the newly proposed name for this city) ? Is it the Idli or the Dosa? Well, you are partially right. Apart from the excellent Idly and varieties of Dosas served, the city has to offer many more traditional dishes like Bisi bele bhaat, Rava Idli, Khara Bhaat, which are some of the local favourites here.
Bangalore’s brand image as the IT, Technology capital of India and one of the best places for education means that most visitors who come from other parts of India and abroad generally want to flock to the big malls and fancy restaurants. But these are no different from what you have in other major Indian cities. If you want to really savour the true taste of Bangalore, then head to some of the traditional joints in some of the oldest areas of the city. Yes we are talking about the Darshinis and what looks like “Hole In the Wall” restaurants where you don’t have a seat but the food taste will simply excite your culinary senses in every possible way!
Its in Bangalore’s oldest areas; Basavanagudi, Shankarapuram, Jayanagar and Malleswaram that you will find true “Kannadiga” culture and food. Basavanagudi and Malleswaram represent two of the oldest residences of Bangalore of yore. Tree lined wide roads, peaceful cultured people and mostly “Vegetarian”.
Some of the renowned eateries are 1. Vidyarthi Bhavan at Basavanagudi visited by Karnataka CM famous for its Masala Dosa and Rava Vada,
2. Brahmin’s Coffee Bar at Shankarapuram serves one of the best Idlis and Vadas in town. It has been as voted by Times Dosa and Coffee Contest as number 1
3. Davangere Butter Dosa at Basavanagudi,
4. The famous Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR) at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens with its awesome Bisi Bele Bhaat and the Kannadiga meal
5. And last but not the least VB Bakery at VV Puram famous for its ‘Congress Bun’ which is a bun layered with butter and masala peanuts. The combination of butter and peanuts makes it delicious. For those who love pastries and cakes there’s the Sweet Chariot and Just Bake. And for Ice Cream lovers you have the local chain “Corner House”. Try their “Death by Chocolate” which is sinfully rich with Chocolate Syrup, Nuts, Ice Cream and Rich Chocolate Cake!!
If you’re interested in the mainstream fair, then you can head for some of Bangalore’s most well known restaurants. The cuisine in these restaurants is influenced by all the Southern regional styles, including Andhra, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu, Mangalorean, Kerala and the local region of Karnataka. What all the South India regional dishes share is a greater emphasis on rice, plentiful sambar, rasam, spicy curries and chutneys. Apart from these Bangalore also has some excellent North Indian fine dining restaurants and restaurants which serve food from other regions of India as well.
Bangalore didn’t have much of street food culture earlier unlike cities like Calcutta and Mumbai, however as the IT industry brought people from the Northern states into the city, that is changing now and even the local people are embracing this street food culture, though the quality and taste of the street food is quite average, so I wouldn’t quite recommend it.
So the next time you’re in Bangalore, don’t be lured simply by its malls and its fast food joints. Go out and explore these real joints of the city which existed far before IT industry even matured and see what culinary delights are in store for you!