People of different parts of Jaipur prefer to have different dishes for their breakfast. While most of old city have kachori, samora or pakoras to start their day, places like Vaishali Nagar save their appetite for chola kulcha in the morning. But there are certain places in Jaipur where people prefer to have something lighter and Poha fits in the definition of that something in these areas.
Poha, is beatened or flattened rice, which is dehusked and is often found as dry, off-grey flakes. This way, it lasts long, and can be used to prepare a wide variety of snacks and savories by virtue of it staying light and hence also a delightful food ingredient to experiment with for any meal of the day. Poha, swells up in contact with moisture ( read water, milk or for any liquid cooking medium), and that opens up a lot of possibilities in texture and varieties of the dish being prepared.
Poha being my favourite breakfast too, I decided to survey and find out which joint in and around Civil Lines offers the most fresh and the tastiest versions of this popular central Indian dish. In search of the best Poha wala in my city, these are my favorite picks.
Although, they all had pretty similar names, the taste of their poha could be easily distinguished.
Balaji Chaat Bhandaar (Arjun Nagar Phatak Rd.)
Depended more on preparation than on the taste, Balaji Chaat was really unimpressive. The taste of the pudina chutney that he poured on top of the poha dominates each bite which makes it spicy and unworthy. Poha alone didn’t boost of any taste either. Disappointed I moved ahead in search of a better offering.
Jeetu Poha Bhandaar (Sahkar Marg)
A slight improvement over Balaji Chaat Bhandaar but still lacked the punch. The biggest advantage that Jeetu Sen, the owner has for last 5-7 years, is the eatery’s location. Located right at the junction of the Sahkar Marg and the road that connects it to Vidhan Sabha for many years, it has had a chance to serve most of the office goers of this road. Only recently a couple of more poha walas mushroomed around this area which will test Jeetu the loyalty of his customers. Jeetu, however, shunned the competition by saying “Customer ko acha taste do toh apne aap chala aata hai.” (Give customer good taste and he will come back to you).
Balaji Poha Bhandaar (Hawa Sarak Rd.)
I moved ahead to another busy road, Hawa Sarak Rd. Near the Bais Godam circle I saw a group of people crowded around a poha eatery. I stopped and ordered a half poha and to my surprise it was costlier than the full poha plate of the other two eateries. I questioned the logic to which Nandlal, the eatery owner, replied it’s because we want people to eat more and not complain later about the quantity.
I watched him prepare my order and as soon as I had the first bite I knew my quest to find the best poha wala in Jaipur has concluded. The quality of the poha (without the toppings) was way better than others. The namakeen topping comparatively was also more crisppy and crunchy. I think Nandlal, the owner, having set up this eatery 17 years ago, understands his market better than others and offers a much better taste as well as quantity.
Are there any more that I have missed ? Do write in !
A great poha recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen.