Jamshedpur: Street Food, October 2008

Jamshedpur is not known outside the city as a haven for foodies. Most visitors would remember only the slag dumps and the silhouettes of the Tata Company (Tata Steel factory). Unless they have tried the Jamshedpur street food.

There is the famous city landmark, “Fakira Chanachur”. Such is the allure of this heavenly chanachur that once a business acquaintance of mine in Bangalore (who also happened to be from Jamshedpur) swore to do my bidding if I only got the person concerned a packet of this heavenly “mixture” when the deed was done. Needless to say, I succeeded. The spiciest and tangiest of the chanachurs you can ever get to eat. This has been the signature stuff of the steel city ever since I was a kid!

There are other famous food joints as well. Including a new chanachur vendor in Sakchi I have not visited yet. There is Manohar Maharaj Sweets, Bhola Maharaj Sweets, Narayan Kulfi, Roopali, the milkshake joint at Kamani center, and so many more! My favorite from my growing up days in Sonari, Bombay Tea House (BTH) at Kagalnagar market, has now been converted to a chemist shop! Alas! Instead of keeping youngsters in the para happy with their chai and singhara (and an odd kalakand if one felt rich), they now cater to those medically challenged!

Maybe BTH lost its business to the “hotel” a few meters away next to our house (at ‘D’ Road corner) which serves the most gorgeous singharas! During the recent Puja vacations, my kids would promptly park themselves at the joint at 4 in the evening and await the freshest, crispiest and the tastiest singharas. Just Rs 2 for one. What I delight it was to be woken up by kids after an afternoon slumber and have singharas with hot tea at home!

Here is a pic of a D-Road singhara (the joint does not have any other name!). Unfortunately, this is too glamorous (and unfair) diplay of the singhara. I do not have a pic of the singharas in their “thonga”!

 

The D Road Singhara

The D Road Singhara

 

To my mind, the Jamshedpur dosa is one to die for. Specially off the mobile dosa vendors who wheel their carts around the streets in the evenings doing thak-thakk on their dosa tawas all the time. I have written about them in one of my earliest posts; either Street Calls 1 or Street Calls 2.

And then the landmark outdoor eating joints near the Muslim library at Bishtupur. Off the lane next to the Regal Building. A host of 20-25 stall, all serving similar fare. Essentially rolls and chowmein in various avatars. You may park you car off the road, order at the stall and await the order to be served at your car. Or you could stand at the stall and devour the heavenly stuff. We decided to have our order served to us as were seated in the car and there came a grubby kid carrying plates of stainless steel with out chosen stuff. With tons of watery ketchup. He even brought to us bottles of water and paper napkins to our car.

 

Regal Joints 1

Regal Joints 1

 

 

Regal Joints Close-Up

Regal Joints Close-Up

 

While at Bishtupur, how can you not visit the latest (by my reckoning) in street foods. The lane opposite the D.M. Madan School has a host of vendors. And each stall is as crowded as the other. We were first led to this litti stall by our hosts.

The litti “chef” here has apparently done the honors for the wedding of one of Laloo Yadav’s offsprings. I personally thought the litti was average. By the way, if you have not had litti before, you must try it. This is the Bhojpuri region’s rejoinder to both hamburger and Pizza, together!

 

Litti Joint of Ratan

Litti Joint of Ratan

 

Next to that was an attractive looking (and horribly crowded) dosa stall. Unfortunately, my wife was served a burnt dosa. The dosa-maker, in the best traditions of French master Chefs, refused to admit the obvoious that the dosa was really burnt and refused to replace it with a fresh, evenly cooked one.

Which concluded in the following:

* Wife throwing away the dosa plate.

* Dosa-maker protesting angrily at this “slight”.

* Rest of us remonstrating

* Host-in-chief threatening retribution for this rank-bad customer service.

* All of us moving away to the next stall.

I do not know about gastronomes, but the stall next-door is a lexicographer’s delight! A stall serving humble pao-bhaji. Judge the action yourself from the pics below:

"Paw" anyone? 

 

Prefer one "pic" "paw" or "haf" "plet" of Bhaji?

Prefer one Pic. Paw or Haf Plet?

And in the end I leave you with vignettes of some other stalls:

 

Chaniz Foot, sirs?

Chaniz Foot, sirs?

 

Neighbourhood Stall serving rolls

Neighbourhood Stall serving rolls

 

Dosa Stall at Utkal Association Pandal

Dosa Stall at Utkal Association Pandal

And, finally:

Hey, Murga Paratha, anyone?

Hey, Murga Paratha, anyone?

46 Responses to Jamshedpur: Street Food, October 2008

  1. Manoj Prasad says:

    There is (or was) another very famous entrant to the Jampot Street Food Hall of Fame! Labh Singh’s Chaap Shop on Station Raod in Jugsalai, perhaps the only place open all night where one could get dinner (finger licking chicken and mutton chaaps to die for amongst other items) at all hours of the night or morning! All other spots were outside town on the NH.

    You parked your car beside the wall and ‘butrus’ would run to get your orders and shortly thereafter appear over the wall (with the help of a construction ladder) balancing plates of parathas and delicious chaaps with the masala pyaaz and mirchi and cool lassi to put out the fire!

  2. Good, stuff…i will hit these joints next!

  3. rajiv sahai says:

    Great stuff Santosh! May I add few more joints which I think were also famous during the time I was are Jsr. One of them was Frank’s a chinese resturant at Bistupur which used to serve the most authentic chinese grub especially when this kind of food was not too popular. I remember these guy’s also ran a shoe store at Bistupur Main road. Then there was Bombay Sweet Mart where it was almost de rigeur to pop in after a movie at at the only movie hall (Natraj); all others were ‘Talkies’.
    I also remember Ramji ka ghugni at Loyola grounds and of course Swami’s dosa next to Beldih club wall

  4. santoshojha says:

    Manoj: Yes, I have heard of Labh Singh place, but never been there. Wonder if it still exists! Parathas with mutton chaap is heavenly!

    Aditi: Good! And maybe you can (re)discover some more joints and write about them on your blog!

    Rajiv: Thanks for reminding me of these other places. BSM indeed was a must visit place. Even for our family on our very infrequent outings. Till, one day, my mother discovered to her horror that a waiter there was using the bunch of forks in his hand to scratch his back! That was the end of BSM for us!! BTW, I have written a detailed piece (titled Cinemania 1) on this blog earlier on the cinema halls (and talkies!) of Jamshedpur.

  5. Avijit says:

    My list of the best at Jampot would differ and its based on my last venture in 2007….

    1. Fakira chanachur does dish out the same heavenly misture, but the sales has been overtaken (rather beaten bady) by Girish Chanachur (mentioned in the article as one in Sakchi). Compared to Fakira, the Girish chanachur tastes less spicy, much less oily and has much more ingredients. Anytime you go, there is a queue.

    2. The egg rolls at regal were huge hits in the 80s-90s, but no more. One reason is the location, which shifted from an open area to now into more of a small alley. For the best rolls on planet earth (after the ones in Kolkata) is Lakkhi egg roll hotel in Sakchi near Basant Talkies. It has variety, good quantity, makes fresh stuff in more closed rooms (not open streets) and tastes world class. Try the kabab rolls there.

    3. For chaat, raj kachoris there are 2 wheeled cart stalls behind the bistupur railway booking centre. For the more hygiene conscious, the ones which Chappan Bhog serves in bistupur is equally tasty. Also there is one such lane in Sakchi too – am not much aware.

    4. For Litti, my vote goes to a stall which stands outside Kamani Centre, near the Amar market gate.

    5. The best Idlis in that part of the world are sold by a wheeled-cart stall near Keenan Stadium(would be 200mtrs from the Rusi Mody park down the road). The stock is so good that it gets over by noon, and if you want to pack idlis the best time is only at 730am and you will still be on queue. The dosas are good too.

    6. For sweets and singharas – i agree with the article that the D road one at kagalnagar is the best – dirt cheap, healthier annd tastier

    6. And lastly for Indian veg food, the best around is Karnail Singh hotel in Sakchi. It is heavenly spicy, dirt cheap and great for take aways for Naan, Rotis, Chana, Paneer and Veg preparations.

    (All listed above are diirt cheap, comparitively healthier and tastes close to heaven)

    Amen

  6. where do i start from , suddenly i am feeling like having the potato chips of beldih club, the aloo bonda of tube makers club, the chicken fry of telco club.

    the churan & amawat outside loyola, the masala dosa near the beldih gate , the mixed soft drinks near regal maidan, the manohar chaat in front of basant talkies, the golmuri market gol gappas,

    what to eat & what not to eat !!!

    Gosh, we reallly miss jampot !!!

  7. oh forgot Perry ke samose !!

  8. rajiv sahai says:

    O yes! I too remember how and when our tryst with BSM ended – exactly at that moment when the ‘baira’ ploncked the glasses of water with his finger adequately dipped in!!!

  9. santoshojha says:

    Avijit: Thank you for compiling this wonderful list! How I wish I knew all this before my JSR trip. Let me clarify, my piece was not an attempt at listing the best. I merely wrote about all the joints we went to during the Puja vacations. I studied in JSR till the late seventies and my visits have dwindled over the last few years. So, JSR for me is still Fakira etc and not the newer places. But thanks for this list of yours. I am sure others too who read it will be happy to have a ready compilation of the current greats!
    PS: Thanks for endorsing the D Road Singhara! D Road is where I stayed, and my parents live there still.

    Saurabh: There is a gol-gappa wallah next to Bengal Club which we visited and we found his stuff to be A-class. And when you say aloo bonda, you really mean aloo-chop, right?

    Rajiv: Ah!

  10. sudhir says:

    hello All,
    Can anybody help me if the labh singh shop still exists in jugsalai.I would love to visit it this time.BTW the narayan kulfi was best in my days.

  11. subodh says:

    hey..
    These always used to be our fav spot.. wen i was at jsr, and hope to visit them next time i will be there..

    And not to forget is Pappu Chat (fan of madhuri), who always served the best chat in jamshedpur.

    thank u santosh of reminding us of those joints.

  12. santoshojha says:

    Sudhir: No idea about Labh Singh, maybe Manoj Prasad can help. I agree on Narayan Kulfi. Best of luck on your next trip!

    Subodh: Thanks a lot! Next time I must check out Pappu Chat!

  13. ajay vidyarthi says:

    I would like to add Novelty(the old one) for its delicious mutton curry gravy!I have yet to taste such gravy again.When have you been to Jsr?Alas,since my mom moved to delhi I have no one in the town of my origin.

  14. Rupak says:

    Thanks Santosh for writing this…
    Things are fast changing in JSR. There are so many eateries are springing up..
    Bhola maharaj, Nadia are tasting different.. Or am I growing old!!

    Regards

  15. sudhir says:

    This time in my jampot visit , i would like to try out some really good chinese food..i know franks is the best😉..but can anybody tell me about any other place..i have also tried hong kong..even that is good but a bit expensive..has anyone tried Regent chinese food or Center point chinese food..
    cheers!

  16. Avijit says:

    Hi Sudhir

    Regent or Centre point (i think now called Fortune Point) does serve better continental dishes like sizzler, fish and chips, Indian stuff etc. Chinese isnt their forte. HK still rules there, also i recall a proper take away joint in the circuit house area which is better and cheaper.Around that area is also a take away pizza joint which put achar into pizzas, it was a hit in the 90’s. I agree with the fact that Narayan Kulfi rocks. that also reminds me, dot in front of narayan Kulfi, where there is a small parking area, is a chai hotel which cooks steaming jalebis outside. that place sells best jalebis in the world. Not ultra sweet, not ultra dripping, but large in size and i bet you cant leave the stall by just having one. you will crave for more…

  17. Krishnamurthy says:

    Santosh bhai, the unnamed D Road “Hotel” is un-officially called the “Dhaba”. I relished this taste this year once again when I was in Jamshedpur. My cousin who flew in from Bangalore along with me was delighted with the taste.
    The other new ‘Chanachur’ shop that has been existing in Sakchi is the famous ‘Girish Chanachur’ with the branding as ‘Sreshtha’. Of late this vendor has been providing a variety of stuff which is at par with the ‘Fakira chanachur’.

  18. Srinivaas says:

    Fakira Chanachur is a hot favorite of our entire family & including kids whose tongues were put to such an incredible test that…it was only upsetting for the kids once introduced to this heavenly food, to be denied the same food for the same exact reason… so hot, with the aamchur & kaalanamak (I’d guess) in it making it so tangy but truly mouthwatering & tasty especially added with fresh tender or real hot green chillies, Lime & coriander. Whether good or bad…kids in India take up eating hot foods at such an early stage. Otherwise they would’ve all become otherworldly🙂

    So here was this blessing of this really wonderful guy, FakiraChand Guptajees establishment (whom I had to search on google to find out to explore my childhood memories.)

    I loved reading this blogspot..Remember the hot singaaras with hot tea from this beloved city on so many occassions

    Simply Love Jamshedpur (Bistipur, Kadma markets)& all the sights & sounds

    • M K S Bhat says:

      Thanks for the blog. The jilebi and singhada joint near Narayan Kulfi at Sakchi market, The madras hotel, madrassi sammelani.for dosa, vada, vegetarian foods at Bistupur, Kerala Samajam canteen for masala dosa and veg south indian food, kaveri restaurant in sakchi, Maharashra bhavan for its chappatis with ghee and the veg subjis, Jamshedpur has all.

  19. Dinesh Chandra says:

    You made me to remember my Jamshedpur days from 1972 till 1983. I lived in GT Hostel III, Sakchi and Sonari West E-Road and G-Road. I loved D-Road Samosas and Aloo Bondas. The owner of BTH was my friend. Sorry to know BTH is closed.

    Every time, I go my my parents place, I would take 2-3 Kgs of Fakira Chanachur.

    I miss these now as I live in US.

    • santoshojha says:

      Thank you for writing. I too lived in Sonari West- on D Road- till 1978 when I left for studies outside Jamshedpur. My parents still live there.

  20. S.Santosh Rao says:

    You made me remember those days when my friends and i go used to go eat that pav bhagi and that was the place where we had enjoyed memorable evenings of our life besides of those snacks.

  21. surender s oshan says:

    i was amazed to recall all the stuffs when i was in jamshedpur ,my old golden days of visit to novelty/franks and manohar maharaj/narayans kulfi the most delicious stuff they used to serve in the early days of 60/70/80s untill i left jamshedpur for africa,where i spent 28 long years but always missed tatste /stuff of jamshedpur.

    the most tastey and mouth watering fakiras chanachur and samosa of kagal nagar where my in laws were thereand whenever i visited them will call for these stuffs.

    the old golden days .there is new addtion on dimna road one should try vegeterian food opened by labh singh ,it is awesome ,clean and hygenic.you get there all kinds of food including veg chineses.try it.

    more next time.

    i am from jamshedpur,

    • santoshojha says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jamshedpur maybe be known to the outside world as the Steel City, but for the Jamshedpurian, it is also a great place to eat.

  22. sulochana says:

    welll there are a few more joints that are signature hall mark to js – bhatia’s milkshake, gaurongo mistaan bhandar (misti doi is to die for!!!)bhel puri joint outside kamani centre . ther used to be erstwhile meals on wheel monalisa fsat food long ago but i guess they r all gone! also in Sonari – Shera’s chowmein is just out of this world!! i had it 2 yrs back n was surprised coz these guys managed to keep the tsate intact!!!! also there was a cutlet cart next to BTH! also the MP chaat behind BTH n the heavenly Masala cold drink outside gopal maidan (Havent had that in a long long time now!!:( also shankar ka ice gola (ice candies outside DBMS school- also the jhaal moodi and teh amavatwalas gosh!!! I guess the list is endless!!!!

    • santoshojha says:

      Wow! I am impressed by the additional suggestions. Bhatia’s, Gaurango, Masala Cola at Gopal Maidan….. Btw, durimg my school days the maidan was called Regal Ground….

  23. Venkat says:

    Thanks for posting this. Brings back a lot of very tasty memories. I haven’t been back since 97, and with no close friends left there, I have no reason to return. But Ive been hoping to return for just the street food.

  24. Rakesh says:

    Really these blogs reminds me of all wonderful tasty food of Jamshedpur which i miss a lot …..
    Can somebody tell me where exactly is labh singh chaap dhaba….
    I am dying to try out there few delicacies ….
    still some of the food items of jam are unique in taste and you will not find that anywhere in the world …..

  25. Anu Rao says:

    Hah – that was one nostalgic read. Enjoyed it throughly…

  26. ANIL SURI says:

    Thanks santosh will check it out and give feedback.I am a great foodie myself.

  27. Sandeep Raja says:

    Santoshji, as usual your blog creates a big hustle bustle in my life and feel like going to Jsr as soon as possible and when i land up there i can’t visit all the places due to time constraint….Indeed your blog makes up for that. Thankx for the same.

  28. Rahul Bhatacharya says:

    HI Santosh..
    You missed out on mentioning the famous “Golgappas” available in jamshedpur…especially in Sakchi Golchakkar…N also the lovely eggRolls of “Lakhi egg Roll” in sakchi near Basant Talkies…Nyways the Street food of Jampot is legendary and arguably better than most places in India!!

  29. Aparna Shrivastav says:

    Jamshedpur is really a very beautiful place !!!! One can understand only after visiting the place, the spicy chats,mouth-watering Golgapaas,egg rolls and samosa, sweets all the delicacies of Chappan Bhog and many more things …………..Although I am in Canada but miss it like anything …….Afterall my birth place (TMH)

  30. Pavan Kumar Gullapelli says:

    the eateries in Jamshedpur are the best and most are nominal on pocket and serves very good and testy food which iam missing in Bhilai from last five years. the seets of bhola Maharaj, chappan bhog gangours the masala cooldrinks near the gopal maidan the hot drinks From the Blooms bar & restarent the egg rolls of Delhi darbar, the Idli & wadas of Madras Hotel, the dosa and coffee of Tamil sammelani. the dead cheep but tasty fish curry of Ahar hotel the ghee filled littis near gopal maidan, what to say there are somany food points in jamshedpur then most other B towns

  31. rahul singh says:

    hi santosh!!
    i am from jamshedpur sonari , here is list of my fav. street foods and i request you to plz try my choce of vendors atleast once.
    dosa and idli – jubliee park second gate (sakchi side) you will see (rather ask somebody nearby) for GOPAL DOSALWALA , try his dosa and idli best in jamshedpur .
    golgappa – in bistupur just at frank resturant entrance there is a golgappa stall, lovely golgappa and papdi and very nice behavior of the vender.
    for litti – in sakchi near diamond shoes there is a litti stall “kevat” try his ghee litti piping hot, mouth watering.
    egg/chicken rolls – bistupur baby hotel ( opposite hero honda showroom) a very small eatry but amazing rolls .
    bye take care

  32. santoshojha says:

    What delightful add-ons Rahul. I am visiting JSR next fortnight and I must check out some of the places you mention! Thanks once again.

  33. Debashish Roy says:

    I am born & brought up in Jamshedpur but has shifted to Delhi about eight years back. I normally go to jamshedpur once a year during diwali. i would like to add few more: Dawat restuarant of Asian Inn hotel (in Dhatkidih) for Kababs & Biryani, Gourishankar Cabin ( Sakchi) for Misti doi, MISTI near Ambagan for Muglai Paratha, Madrasi Hotel (Bistupur) for authentic south indian. But Fakira chanachur is really very very special and the chanachur with onion, nimbu sprinkled they give free in a thonga in Bistupur is heavenly. Last time i had brought 4 Kg fakira and 3 Kg Shrestha chanachur from Jsr in Nov. In 4 months, its all gone and craving for more.

  34. Karan Gupta says:

    At last Madrasi hotel came up!!! love there dosa and sambar vada, i couldnt visit jamshedpur this winter due to my internship in chennai, seriously take aways in jamshedpur are the best and also some very fine resturents are comming up!!

  35. It seems like you have not gone deep. These are just few, I have tried almost everything from Jublee park Food trucks to Bisturpur Thelas. From Telco bazar carts to Big hotels like Holidei inn etc. I am food lover and Jamshedpur has gone treat, you can find food from every cuisine, but still what lacks is class and experiment. Everybody is cooking the same.

  36. Kavita says:

    Every bit is true. I love jamshedpur street food. i love Idli as well. Niranjan ki Idli and dosa. (vendor outside modi park which is now dorab ji tata park). But Alas!!…ilI dont live in JSR anymore. Waiting to go to my hometown ASAP

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