This is the India’s only night street food market: Open at 12pm

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Indore’s love affair with food is long and legendary, with street food being a much-discussed and passionately debated topic in foodie circles. The flavours of Indore’s diverse kitchens mingle madly at the legendary Sarafa Bazaar, which comes to life at 8 pm, when the jewellery market behind the Rajwada Palace, a crumbling remnant of the Holkar dynasty, closes down.

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Perhaps the most celebrated foodie landmark of the city of Indore, Sarafa Bazaar has a lot to offer for the gastronomically inclined!

Though no one is sure about the origin of this bazaar, it is believed that it started some 100 years ago and was encouraged by jewellery shop owners so the noise and bustle would secure their own shops at night. With this in mind, they willingly started offering space in front of their shops to food vendors and, thus, Sarafa Bazar came into existence. Today, when most of Indore is asleep, this late night market gets nearly 3000 visitors, both locals and tourists.

The visitors stream through its streets, stopping now and then to savour the delectable goods laid out in plain sight.

Though no one is sure about the origin of this bazaar, it is believed that it started some 100 years ago and was encouraged by jewellery shop owners so the noise and bustle would secure their own shops at night. With this in mind, they willingly started offering space in front of their shops to food vendors and, thus, Sarafa Bazar came into existence. Today, when most of Indore is asleep, this late night market gets nearly 3000 visitors, both locals and tourists.

The visitors stream through its streets, stopping now and then to savour the delectable goods laid out in plain sight.

Poha Jalebi: This signature breakfast dish of the city is a marriage of two unlikely partners, one from Maharashtra and the other of Arabic origins. It is light, mild and served with spicy crunchy missal.

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Sabudana Khichdi:  The sole provider of carbohydrates on a day of pious abstinence in most Indore homes is also one of the most popular street foods available in Sarafa Bazaar. Om Prakash Vyas of Saawariyan Seth has his own style of making this yummy dish that his father started cooking in 1983.

Bhutte ki Kees: The melt-in-your mouth dish is a seasonal speciality made from corn, shredded and cooked with milk, coconut and spices until it acquires a moist, smooth texture.

The hearty and filling Bhutte ki Kees is topped off with fresh coriander, grated coconut and lemon juice.

Garadu: A variety of the humble yam, fried to perfection and sold on pushcarts, this crisp snack is topped with spices, chillies and lemon juice and is hot enough to render that familiar burning sensation on the tongue.

Malpua: The thin pancakes made of flour, khoya (milk solids) and semolina, are deep-fried and dunked in sugar syrup, and often served with rabdi to create this truly decadent dish.

Khopra Patties: These famous patties, potato balls with a core of stuffed coconut, are fried right in front of customers and served with tangy tamarind chutney. Try these at Vijay Chat House, along with their crisp samosas and special.

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Try the unique Khopra Patties at Vijay Chat House, along with their crisp samosas and special kachoris.

Sarafa Bazaar is a place that beckons food lovers to return, again and again, as much for the taste of its unique offerings as for the spirit of Indore’s storied culinary culture. Grandparents, toddlers, visiting relatives, hordes of bachelors, and luggage bearing passengers all come to visit this mecca of scrumptious street food. Seeing men ferrying plates of hot food to their families and NRIs dragging their reluctant offsprings to the new experiences that await them, one realises why the bustling Sarafa Bazaar is the most celebrated landmark in the city of Indore. Definitely a must-visit for ardent lovers of street food!

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