Jabalpur is a small, slow pace, relaxed, calm town at the heart of India- Madhya Pradesh.
Since I was born and brought up there and spent about 22 years there; you can take my words and I will be providing unbiased and authentic information about food of Jabalpur.
Popular classic street food at Jabalpur are Samosa, Aloo Banda, Mangoda and Bhajiya etc. From Chat perspective the popular items are Fulki/Panipuri, Gatpat (mixture), Aloo Chap, Samosa, Vada etc. Poha-Jalebi is also popular but during morning hours only.
During summers you will see carts selling Barf Ka Gola, Kulfi, Jaljira, Lassi, Mangoshke and Dahivada etc.
Here are some interesting food items available on the streets of Jabalpur.
…Barf Ka Gola…
Sold on cart at busy places in old market area “Lord Ganj” as well as other too for Rs10; Ice block crushed using hand operated machine and filled in to a glass. Topped up with dry coconut powder and further with flavour of your choice like orange, cola, rose, pineapple, kala khatta, lemon etc.
If you want to go one step further; a bread slice will also be crushed in to ice. Regarding taste; only a kid or a person with heart of a kid can. Hygiene; only parents can.
…Night life (no alcohol and no non veg….)
When bustling and busy main market area of Sarafa (silver-gold market) and Fuhara (fountain)starts to shutdown at about 9:00 PM; push karts take over the side of the road selling hot/cold mild, sweets made up from milk and derivatives, lassi, chat, samosa , aloo banda, falahari chat, mangoda and much more. This goes on till late mid night.
Baba Falahari Chat (Sarafa):
Snacks made out of stuff from fruits and vegetables in milk fat. Most famous cart is “Baba ki Chat”. Heavy cast iron griddle kept over a wood fired furnace on a cart. Everything is cooked using pure ghee. Serving only 3 items.
Slow roasted boiled potato pieces, topped up with water chestnut sev (fried noodles), fried peanuts, crushed wafers, tamarind chutney, roasted cumin seed powered, rock salt, red chili powder and coriander.
Mashed boiled potato flat patty filled with ginger and green chili paste, slow roasted on the griddle will crisp dark brown. Split in two, topped up with water chestnut sev (fried noodles), fried peanuts, crushed wafers, tamarind chutney, roasted cumin seed powered, rock salt, red chili powder and coriander.
Mashed boiled potatoes and tomatoes slow roasted on griddle till the preparation starts leveling fat. Topped up with water chestnut sev (fried noodles), fried peanuts, crushed wafers, tamarind chutney, roasted cumin seed powered, rock salt, red chili powder and coriander.
Malai Roll and Rabdi (Sarafa):
Popular among business community Rabdi is made by lengthy process of slow cooking of milk and sugar for hours together. The resultant is thick condensed milk which develops a bit granular structure yet having some viscosity to crawl. Very delicious!
Malai roll is made from the cream which floats naturally over the surface of milk once it is boiled and allowed to cooled down. Multiple layers of above mixed with sugar and allowed to set. Delicious.
Jain Kulfi (Garha Road):
Ingredients used are reduced milk (over prolonged slow heating), adding sugar, fry fruits. Concoction filled in to small sealed containers and dropped in to earthen pot which is already filled with ice and salt mixture. The pot is shaken continuously till the ice-cream sets. The result is soft, creamy ice cream which is hard enough to hold on stick but soft enough to bite. Rs 10 for a stick. Great stuff.
There are many others as well and it is easy to find one near you (wherever you are).
… Night life (Non Veg but no alcohol…)
You will find many carts and road side outlets selling non veg (chicken, fish, mutton etc). Majority of them are new and catering to the needs of changed taste of town but some of them are very old and located deep inside particular areas of the town serving tender, tasteful, cheap non veg snacks.
Kebabs (Choti Omti)…
Choti Omti area, this small shop uses coal fired flat pit and skewers for slow cooking overnight marinated beef (buffalo meat) chunks in tomato and secret spice base. Tender, spicy, cooked to perfection served with thin slices of onions and a lemon slice.
There are a few shops over there in the locality.
…Day time delight…
At market area, there are some carts/small shops which are always crowded. Typical items available are Samosa, Aloo Banda, Mangoda, Chat etc.
Gupta Chat (Civic Center):
Started from a small cart now grown up as a shop Chat is core competence for them. Common stuff is Fulki (also called pani-puri), Chap, Samosa, Gat-Pat or Mixture and uncommon Bhaji Vada.
It is double deep fried ball made from batter of gram seed flower and typically spinach. The ball is soaked in water for long so that it becomes tender. For this dish, same is crushed in a bowl, topped up with hot boiling yellow peas and broth, sev (gram seed flower fried noodles), onion, tamarind chutney, sour curd, red chili powder, rock salt, roasted cumin seed powder and coriander.
Ramnath (Sarafa Bazar)…
One of the oldest snacks center serving Samosa and Bhajiya in bowl made of leaves along with exclusive, thin sour butter milk and sour tamarind chutney. Two piping hot Samosa @ Rs 10.
Ram Poha Jalebi (Teen Patti Chowk… well… without teen patti now)…
Warm poha served on news paper along with green chili. Only Rs 10.
Shyam Samosa: Near Lord Gunj police station towards Sarafa (at Shyam band gali corner) this cart sells piping hot and lip smacking Samosa, Mangoda (moong dal bhajiya) etc. Chutney is worth mentioning. Beware… stuff finishes early.
Deva ke Mangode: Location is bada fuhara. Ask anyone and you will be directed towards… Piping hot mangodas and the guy can sieve them out from hot oil using bare hands.
Prakash chat: Cart operates near traffic signal just before Shashtri bridge. Popular since long.Well he was already a big man now and has shops as well yet cart is still there.
Sadar Choupati: Army cantonment area choupati with many carts and stalls serving local chat. One called Fatehpuri I still remember.
Civic Center Choupati: At city center shop serving pan-india snacks as well as desi Chinese, desi Italian and local chat.
Restaurants, Hotels and Shops
If you are visiting Jabalpur what you must not miss following “The Jabalpur Classics”
Indian Coffee House (Karamchand Chowk / Sadar / Super Market area): Mother of all coffeehouses around (they have branches across country last one I remember started at Bangalore)
For true South Indian Snacks, filter coffee and Meals but they also serve Panjabi food)
Badkul: One outlet at Kamania Gate and another at Shiv Nagar near Damoh Naka
Well known for Khowa/Mawa Jalebis, Water chestnut Vadas, Meals etc
Baderiya Mishtanna: For Mava Jalebis, Besan/Magaj Laddus, Sweets made from milk and Namkin all prepared in pure ghee
Digambar Lodge (Mukadamganj): Located on a busy narrow street; run by Jain family the hotel has legassy as well as history. My father was regular here during his bachelor days. Pure veg food. Class ghee used in preparations; everything served here is fresh and hot.
Rajbhog (Sadar): Bangla sweets (Chena made), Sandesh/Sondesh (they also have Nolel Gur/Gud Date Palm jaggery type during season)
Navnita Restaurant (near 4th bridge /Choutha Pul it is called locally): Vegetarian restaurant Popular among business community
Kamling Chinese (near 4th bridge /Choutha Pul it is called locally):
Owned and operated by original Chinese old man (he does not man the cash counter these days like earlier). Very nice Indian Chinese preparations. And yes; they provide home made chopsticks on demand.
Clock Tower Chinese (Near Clock Tower Omti… Ghantaghar it is called): Old Chinese restaurant serving Indian Chinese food
Baba Ki Chat (Falahari only) Bada Fuhara (night time) mentioned above
Hanuman Ki Lassis (in summers)
There are/were many other old restaurants but I am not sure about current status. Rambharose Hindu Hotel (Andherdeo), Amrut Bhandar (Victoria), Indore Sev Bhandar (Lord Gunj), Bajirao Poha (Sarafa), Sher-e-Panjab (Malviy Chowk), Riyaz Hotel (Omti), Laxmi Caffee (Delight Cinema), Sonali Sweets (Ranjhi), Jalaram (Ganjipura),
And if you are a Pan buff… dont miss Shankar Pan near Jyoti Cinema