A Nomad's Diary - travel tales

Indore’s Sarafa Bazaar – India’s Midnight Market Where Food Comes Alive..

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As a person who has one foot that’s home bound and the other itching to travel the world, I have visited many cities. But being a pakka (staunch) ‘Indori’, I haven’t been able to develop the same feelings for any other city. 
Well, the city seems to give enough reasons for me to boast around. One such reason is Indore’s Sarafa Bazaar Market that has become world famous not by any multi-crore advertising budget spent but simply by word of mouth publicity. 

So What’s Special About It?

Surprisingly, Indore’s Sarafa Bazar Market which is operational like a usual Indian Gold/Silver jewelry market in the daytime transforms into an all vegetarian food market by 9 p.m. daily and continues until late midnight. Further, only a few people know that it is the only night food market of India!

How to locate it?

IMG_20160523_223108It is located only 2.5 km. from Indore GPO. one can easily travel to Rajwada (the nearest destination up til where four-wheelers’ are allowed) by cab, car, two-wheelers’ or auto-rickshaws. Post reaching Rajwada, it is advisable to walk as the by-lanes leading to the food hub are very narrow and mostly overcrowded. Rest the aroma of the food will do its job!

When It All Began?

The exact establishment year is not known by the locals but it is said to have started a hundred year ago when the then Sarafa Bazaar retailers offered little places in front of their shops to the street food vendors for selling the delectable staff at night. They did so to ward off robbers thereby securing  their shops from theft.

What to Eat?

I know by this time you must be very eager to know about the much-celebrated variety of street food available here. Initially, there were just the traditional central Indian snacks and sweets on offer but with the time passing by delicacies from North & West India and Chinese cuisine have also made its place here.
Here’s a list of the all the gourmet food one should try:
  • Garadu:

    IMG_20160523_215517It is a kind of yam that is found and eaten commonly in central India especially Indore. Here it is cut into small pieces and deep fried until done. Then chaat masala and salt etc. are added to it and served. It is most commonly eaten in winters but I found it in few shops of Sarafa Bazaar in May month also. It tastes quite like deep-fried potatoes.
  • Aloo Tikki, Gol-Gappe & Dahi Bhalle:

    IMG_20160523_223418When it comes to Indian street food, the market dedicated for the same cannot falter. So here there are many vendors selling these and any other types of gourmet appetizing chaat.
  • Bhutte Ka Kees:

    No, I am not talking about ‘kiss’ but bhutte ka kees. The dish derives its name from the primary ingredient that is Bhutta (Sweet Corn). Its kernels are taken out and ground into a smooth paste which is then cooked with green chilies, coriander, coconut etc.
  • Sweets:

    IMG_20160528_211613[1]Malpua, Gulaab Jamun, Rasgulla, Rabri, Basundi, Shrikhand, Jalebi, Kulfi, Falooda, and much more are available here at many shops.
  • IMG_20160523_215658Pav Bhaaji originally from west India and Masala Dosa, Idli, Vada Sambhar from Southern India are also found here.
  • Pizza, Chinese noodles, Sandwiches are the latest additions from cuisines around the globe.
  • Shikanji: It’s not the usual lemon shikanji, but it is a special drink that is a combination of flavored thickened milk with dry fruits and a little yogurt.

Some of My Favorite Vendors:

  • Joshi Dahi Vada:

    For making Dahi Vada bang on each & every time along with his dramatic presentation.
  • Sharmaji Chaat Wale:

    For the perfectly balanced yet crispy Aloo Tikkiya-cholle. He has set up this cart for last 38 years, daily.
  • Shri Devnarayan Jalebi Bhandar:

    For Garadu & Jalebi..
  • IMG_20160523_223203
  • Things to Keep in Mind:

  • This market is located in old narrow lanes of Indore so four-wheeler parking may be a problem.
  • The food sold here are hygienically prepared and so safe for consumption, however, the final deciding factor must be your instinct with regards to food choices and trying out spicier stuff.
  • Packaged drinking water is readily available here so help yourself with safe drinking water.
Leaving you with this video link shot by me at Joshi Dahi Vada house. Click Here
Was this article helpful or been there, done that then write to me!





(20) Comments

  1. Nice read, however Manek chowk in Ahmedabad is another such midnight food market. It starts late night and is up till early morning hours. Also, during this time of the year i.e. Ramzan, Jama Masjid is a paradise for foodies. It starts around 7-8 PM and is bustling with people till early morning! 🙂

    1. Oh! My bad will surely try this one someday..

      1. While Maneck Chowk in Ahmedabad is pure veg the one in Jama Masjid Delhi is a haven for non vegetarians. I am visiting Jama Masjid tonight as a part of a food-walk

  2. Yummicious!
    Just curious, how do you know that- “The food sold here are hygienically prepared and so safe for consumption”? I mean you never know what street vendors are doing with their hands except adding spices on to the kadai! 😀

    1. Safe in the sense that the food goes off so fast that there is no chance of stale food. Hygienically prepared ‘coz most of them prepare their main item in front of you and have a reputation of several years to support their names.

    2. Plus they are not exactly Street vendors like the usual ones we find on any Indian Lane. It is a tradition for them.

      1. Oh okey… chances of Delhibelly are lesser in Indore then 🙂

        1. Most probably..ha ha ha..

  3. Did visit the Jama Masjid area in Delhi the other day as told to you, you might want to check out the pictures, cheers! Link for album on Facebook: goo.gl/yCQShX

    1. Already saw your iftaar pictures on FB. They are super cool! I too got inspired and went for a food trail on the Sunday, ‘ll post pictures soon..

      1. Oh really, how come did you get to see them?

        1. Some group in fb maybe

          1. TDfc? I wasnt aware you are on the group too

          2. Oh ya I remember going through your blog and then checking your FB profile.. may be there..

          3. Ahh ok, cheers! 🙂

          4. What camera settings did you do for clicking the masjid photo?

          5. I used a standard 18-55mm lens, had set the aperture to 3.5 as thats the lowest I can get on this lens, of course sometimes had to zoom in and then it was 4-4.5, but made sure this was very rare. Was shuffling the ISO from 400 to 800, but most of the shots were with ISO as 800. Again had to adjust the shutter speed according to the lighting in different areas, it was generally 1/50s. Plus I shoot in raw. A 50mm lens would have taken it to the next level 🙂

          6. okay thanks for the insights..

          7. No worries! Looking forward to more stories 🙂

  4. […] For satiating a hungry soul late in the night visit Sarafa Bazaar. One can find a number of famous local vendors selling varied gourmet Indore food items till late midnight. Read my post about Sarafa Bazaar Food Trail here. […]

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