Australian chef and author Christine Manfield
#1 Bhati Tea Stall
Located in Jodhpur, the Bhati Tea Stall is very popular with locals who stop by for a glass of masala chai. It’s as much about the atmosphere as it is about the tea, a direct conduit into everyday life.
#2 Paliwal Kachori
Paliwal Kachori owner, Sutho, is highly regarded as the best kachori master in Udaipur and I have to agree. Kachori is poori (deep-fried Indian bread) stuffed with dal and Sutho’s onion masala kachoris, served with tangy mint chutney, are the best.
#3 Street food
On the street, food is mostly fried, and there is always abundance, whether you’re after samosas, kachoris, pooris, aloo tikka or sweet jalebis. Drivers are often the most reliable source of information as they eat at these places every day. A few of my favourites include Johri Bazaar in Jaipur, the Clock Tower Bazaar in Jodhpur, Bhatia Bazaar in Jaisalmer and in Udaipur, the City Palace Road bazaar.
Indulging in a glass of lassi is one of life’s essential pleasures in India. When in Jaipur, I head straight to Lassiwala and in Jodhpur, you’ll find me at the Shri Mishrilal Hotel Lassi Shop. Go the whole hog and enjoy with a thick layer of cream on the top. It’s pure heaven.
#5 Rawat Misthan Bhandar
This is fast food at its best. I adore the masala onion and potato kachoris (pyaz ki kachori) at Rawat Misthan Bhandar in Jaipur. The long glass counter is packed with assorted sweet and savoury pastries.
#6 Ayran Niwas
Tucked away on a side street in Jaipur is Ayran Niwas, a modest hotel frequented by local families and solo travellers. Lunch is served at precisely 12.30pm each day and the food is nourishing, authentic and cheap as chips.
#7 Manvar Resort
Manvar Resort is like a little oasis on the highway halfway between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Lunch is served at a courtyard table under a tree with an array of handi pots filled with local delicacies. Timeless charm and country hospitality characterises this resort and makes it a popular choice for travellers.
#8 Tented campsites
Rajasthan is home to many luxurious tented campsites and the best home cooking can be found at Chhatra Sagar in Nimaj village, about 90 minutes from Jodhpur. Every meal is a feast and flavours are distinctive and memorable. Alternatively, a thali dinner around a campfire at The Serai, near Jaisalmer, is hard to beat.
#9 Fine dining
For refined dining that showcases the best of Rajasthani regional cuisine, try luxury Relais & Chateaux hotel Mihir Garh; Survana Mahal, the palatial dining room at Jaipur’s Taj Rambagh Palace; a private rooftop dinner at The Lake Palace in Udaipur; or a sophisticated thali (selection of dishes) served on handmade silver platters at RAAS Devigarh on the outskirts of Udaipur. Wherever you go, make sure you try Laal Maas, the signature curry of Rajasthan.
#10 Janta Sweet Home
Deservedly, Janta Sweet Home is Jodhpur’s most famous sweet shop. I come for the malai ghevar, a fine sugar pastry case filled with crushed nuts and reduced cream, a specialty of the monsoon season. Sweets are made to reflect the season so the offering changes throughout the year.