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