When I travel solo, my need versus want radar is at its peak. I stay in the cheapest of rooms with the hardest of beds, eat the cheapest of food which mostly consists of dal and chawal, and travel in the cheapest modes of transport. Think local buses, on foot, and often via hitchhiking. But when I travel with Abbimnyou, my partner, everything remains the same except for food. Even in the city, food has been a major part of our relationship. From cheap street food to exotic new places and quirky cafes- we must try it all! So after blowing most of our travel budget on our gastronomic adventures in the Golden City of Rajasthan, I think a complete foodie’s guide to Jaisalmer is in order!
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Now people often leave the best for the last, but I couldn’t resist. I plan to take your culinary senses straight to gastronomic heaven- and then descend earthwards. Kabab Corner is honestly the shit. As it goes without saying, this little joint is a haven for meat lovers, but there’s plenty goodness here for vegetarians (like me) too. Words fail me when I try to explain the soft insides and the crunchy outsides of its Hara Bhara Shami Kebab and the minty, sour and spicy chutney that came with it. Kabab Corner is also a great place to try out some Rajasthani food in Jaisalmer. As per the report of Abbimnyou’s taste buds, the Lal Maas, Shahi Meat Bati and Rathori Meat were to die for.
Tip: Kabab Corner has now split into two restaurants and the number listed on Google is of the new one. But the address on Google Maps is correct for the old, authentic Kabab Corner. If you’re confused, just search for Kabila Cafe and you’ll find Kabab Corner right next to it.
I know what you’re thinking, but I swear on my forgiving stomach that a visit to this little obscure joint is worth it. A very recently opened restaurant, Kerala House has a truly authentic menu that does justice to Kerala’s cuisine. The simple plastic chairs and tables and the black and white printed menu may seem off-putting (to some), but the food served here as is exotic as it gets. The South Indian Parotta made my heart (and stomach) swoon, while Abbimnyou gorged on multiple plates of Palappam with Kodalai Curry. Their Podi Dosa was kick-ass too, and I am legit drooling thinking (and writing) about their tangy red tomato chutney ~insert drool emoji~. The added benefit of this place was after the two of us ate a meal of four people, we only ended up paying a total of 300 rupees. Seldom have I ever stumbled upon such great yet such cheap food!
Kuku Coffee Shop
Kuku Cafe is one of the most talked-about cafes in Jaisalmer. And I’m not going to lie, it makes for a great sunset date and the view of the fort- especially after sunset- is spectacular from up here. But the food is absolutely average, to say the least. They are vegan friendly and have anti-plastic policies which are fabulous but I wouldn’t pay so much for such ~normal~ food again. They have a great selection of coffee but not being a coffee person, I did not indulge in any of them. However, it’s not bad for a short visit to grab a quick bite while watching the sun set!
The Food Plaza Restaurant
If your stomach or your pocket are giving you difficulties, this is the place to go. It’s a small little rooftop place serving quintessential Indian food and European food made the quintessential Indian way. I’d suggest you stay away from the pizzas and pastas here but the Veg Thali for 150 rupees comes with a veggie dish, dal, papad, chapati, rice, curd AND desert! It’s a wholesome meal for a wholesome price and sometimes that is enough, making cheap food in Jaisalmer easier to find.
Cafe + Restaurant and Cafeteria
Now I know I already mentioned my favourite at the beginning of this list but forgive me, for I often cannot make up my mind. I have decided to go with two favourites, adding Cafe Plus to my favourites list. I have so much to say about this place but let me first begin with its interiors (and exteriors). It looks more of a garden and less of a cafe and that goes just fine by me. The contrast of the green plants and the colourful bohemian like decor made love at first sight happen for me. The furniture is mostly all made of upcycled wood, there is an entire wall made of used beer bottles and the trunk of a dead date palm bang in the middle of the cafe had me. One wall is dedicated to psychedelic paintings that the owner has made and might I add, this place also had one of the cleanest toilets I saw in Jaisalmer!
This was my go-to work station in Jaisalmer where I would it for hours at a stretch turning day to night and eating and drinking and writing. There was a naked tree just behind my preferred table and they had placed bird feed in little plastic bottles cut open to make bowls- for the several sparrows that fluttered and played here daily.
Hussain, one of the two brothers who run the place became a dear friend of mine and treated me with a plate of steaming Veg Momos that were to die for. The view of the fort is amazing from here and I can’t think of one bad thing about this place, making this one of the best cafes in Jaisalmer easily.
I know the South Indian adventures in this blog are getting out of hand but I’m a sucker for southern delicacies! Dosa Corner is a small kitchen on a cart that might go amiss by most but my hawk like eyes caught it just in time. Located right around the corner of the fort’s entrance, this small stall only opens at 6 pm in the evenings. The two brothers who run this sell over 70 types of dosas with the most innovative toppings. We tried the Schezwan Dosa, Cheese Chili Dosa and best of all- the Pizza Dosa that had my heart. Their coconut chutney is A1 and if cheap, street side food is your jam, this is the place to go!
Thar Cafe Restaurant
This is one of the many ~fort view~ cafes in Jaisalmer. I don’t have much to say about this place except for it’s got a great vibe and decor. The Margherita Pizza we had here was extraordinarily fresh and yummy.
Trikaal Street Cafe
This is a small cafe-in-a-hut that doesn’t attract a lot of attention but sells some really amazing varieties of Maggi. We tried their super special something something Trikaal Special Smoked Spicy Maggi and it was A1.
The Panorama Cafe
Panorama is another great fort view cafe in Jaisalmer. We came here for a quick post sunset snack and the glittering lights of the million little houses of Jaisalmer were astounding. Their Garlic Cheese Sandwich was pretty good and their Cold Coffee was just YUM!
Dr Bhang Lassi Shop
This isn’t as much of a place to eat than to “experience” if you know what I mean. This is one of the very few government authorized bhang shops in India and Mr Vyas or fondly known as “Dr Bhang” here is the third generation owner of this little shop. From a variety of juices, shakes to cookies and lassis- this guy can make you giggle like a maniac for a full 4 hours! His ~food~ options come in four variants: Baby Level, Strong, Super Super Strong and my favourite “24 Hour Full Power, No Toilet No Shower”.
Pro tip: Gorging on some super duper strong cookies and getting lost in the middle of the That Desert may not be the brightest idea, so try with caution.
Bonus: Jaalam Caterers and Sweet Shop, Khoohdi
Well, this may not technically pass for Jaisalmer food, but it’s almost there. Khoohdi or Khuri is a small village located some 60 kilometres from Jaisalmer. It is a quiet place in the middle of the Thar Desert where tourists seldom reach. With a few guesthouses and dhabas around, there isn’t much here but this small little everyday chaat shop in the village has my heart. They sell some magical concoction of Aaloo Kachori Chaat which is essentially aaloo kachori broken into pieces and buried under a thick layer of curd and sweet tamarind sauce. I don’t know if it was Dr Bhang’s magic wearing off or walking aimlessly an entire afternoon in a barren desert that flamed our hunger, but Abbimnyou and I gobbled down 4 plates of that chaat in under 15 minutes that evening. It was so good that I’d travel all that way just to eat that chaat again!
Do you think I missed out on some great place to eat in Jaisalmer? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll make sure I give your suggestions a go on my second visit to this desert city (which is going to be sooooon!)
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