Meeting done but I was famished. I had planned to visit some of the old eateries of the city Bhopal. But by this time, Anand, my driver had understood me. He was a strict vegetarian, but had spoken with some friends of his & drove me to a hotel called Zam Zam. I was skeptical about the place, but he assured me that the non vegetarian food here was the finest in all Bhopal.
Nice simple restaurant, the menu looked fabulous. At such times, I wish we had more people sharing the meal table with me in Bhopal. It allows us to try more dishes without wasting food, which I consider as one of the gravest crimes.
Well, I was a single soul in search of some great food. The restaurant was serving some of my favourite dishes – paya & mutton seekh kabab (chicken seekh is a blasphemy). No hesitation in that one. Both choices turned out to be amazing. I was regretting ordering the rumali roti. It was excellent but taking space in my stomach & preventing me from trying one more item.
Such a meal required a good pan to aid in the digestion. Well… bhopali pan is considered a must try. Off I went to Raju chaiwala (another institution of Bhopal) to try his version of tea. It was not the Sulaimani chai but excellent nonetheless. Like a true Bhopali, I followed the chai up with a pan & at peace with the world.
Office satisfied, soul at peace… now it was time to please the wife with some of the handicrafts of the state. The best place in Bhopal to go – Mrignayanee, the official store run by the state government. Atleast, a tourist is assured of the quality & authenticity. The store turned out to be nice & the staff very friendly & helpful.
I went looking for some Bagh print dupattas, but the store was out of it and I attracted to some Chanderi dupattas that looked exquisite. Finally I picked up not one, but 2 of them. My interest got piqued & I got very keen to see the beauty of Bagh print. The staff directed me to the nearby Mrignayanee store which too was out of stock. The search led me the 3rd store who too was out but the manager guided me to their warehouse next door who had 4-5 pieces of Bagh print dupattas. The prints were simply superb & I was glad that I took the effort & that it had paid off.
All this shopping made me thirsty & off I went in search of chai, this time to a Irani chai joint opposite the main Bhopal railway station.
The sun was setting & slowly, but surely the road side kabab vendors were setting up shop. The aroma of grilled meats was wafting in the air. I didn’t require a 2nd invitation. Off we went to Chatori gali in the heart of the old city. This was also the shopping hub.
A bevy of them lined up. After such a heavy lunch, this meal was for the heart, not the stomach. I had heard about Jhili Miyan & his succulent kebabs with hot buns & spicy chutney. I was not disappointed.
Anand reminded me that it was time to drive towards the airport.. Enroute to the airport, stopped at Manohars to pick up some Ratlami sev before rushing to check in.
There were still places to visit & food to eat – cycle soupwala, Bhopali chaat, Haji lassiwala, shahi tukdas, jameel’s kababs. But whats life if we get everything in one go, there has to be something for one to look forward to in the next visit to Bhopal.
Some more experiences of city Bhopal