Mandir wali gali in Yusuf Sarai
The Mandir wali gali is a quiet lane tucked away behind the Yusuf Sarai market. Yusuf Sarai is an extremely busy place and on a very busy road, but behind the flashy-new-famous exterior, the mandir wali gali is in stark contrast – locked in a time warp.
The Mandir is an 80 – year old Sanatan Dharma Shiv Mandir and the gali concentrated with shops, hotels / inns, morning stores and restaurants, owned mostly by the marwari community. Food is a big focus in the gali with lots of restaurants, all of them vegetarian and good value for money, looking newly renovated, neat and clean, with a couple of exceptions. The presence of many hotels/inns in the Mandir wali gali probably explains the multitude of eating joints.
Street food at Mandir wali gali
But my focus is not the restaurants, but the spectacular street food at the mandir wali gali. The most famous shop in the gali is the Balaji Pitthi Wala, which sells pakoras of many different kinds, sweets and some limited lunch items. Its right opposite the mandir and gets very busy. The mandir wali gali was also famous once upon a time as a place to buy bhang, bhang-laced thandais and pakoras. Nowadays, you don’t get get it all round the year, only during Holi and Mahashivratri. Personally, I don’t like the stuff, but for those who do. Well, now you know. The most exciting find for me in MWG was Señor Dhan Singh’s kachoris.
He established his shop some thirty five years ago and does a mean kachori. Light-crisp-tasty. The stuff is addictive and very very good. It definitely falls into one of the “No one can eat just one” categories.
The kachori is served with an aloo curry. High on spices, with a mast hing-ka-tadka, the curry is tasty and a superb accompaniment to the kachori. Dhan Singh and now his son Sanjay, who does most of the frying nowadays, also do a nice bread pakora and some kickass jalebi. He puts in a layer of saunth chuntney within the bread pakora and the crispy fried-slightly sweet-with a slice of malai paneer-potato filling is super nice.
Dhan Singh has two shops in Mandir wali gali, the first one near the mandir and the second one at the end of the gali. Athithi retaurant, which is in front of Dhan Singh’s second shop serves a heavenly kadhali-wala-doodh. Dinesh Gupta set up Athithi restaurant some twenty five years ago. It now become a sort of convenience store and the only remaining food element is the kadhai-wala-doodh. Its a mixture of cow and buffalo milk, nice and thick and just a hint of sweetness.
If you haven’t been there, a visit to the Mandir wali gali is a must.
Location of Mandir wali gali on Google maps
Happy hunting the Mandir wali gali and chow-chow!