India is a country, where food is considered not just a part of the journey, but the journey itself! The mind-blowing roadside eating joints dotting the national highways that connect the major cities of the country, have lately become an inseparable part of every road journey.
These roadside eating joints have gained much popularity over the years, which were originally built as modest roadside shacks, with the purpose of serving homemade food to the long-time away-from-home truck drivers.
These roadside eateries, called 'dhabas' in India, have now become a part and parcel of every long road trip and over the time have also stood out as the prime stop-overs for tourists and travellers alike. Few of them have even become destinations unto themselves.
As some of the best memories of a road trip are always made at those highway dhabas. These tiny roadside eateries, without fail, make sure to serve and feed you with authentic delish desi food, and their modest interiors are certainly not up for question for the quality of food they serve.
Most dhabas, don't have fancy furniture or modern decor and some of them even serve food on traditional cots, where meals are prepared mostly in earthen utensils which are known to only add flavour to the food.
It is spectacular to see how some of these dhabas, stationed on almost all the major highways in India, certainly know the way to win one's heart. Most dhabas, have lately become a much bigger entity, catering to all types of travellers craving for simple rustic flavours with a whole lot of white buttery love.
Nothing satiates our Indian hearts like gorging on aloo parathas made with desi ghee, while sitting on cots and admiring the natural splendour around. If you are travelling on any of these prominent highways of India, do not forget to stop your vehicle and savour a meal at least at one of these.
1. Mr. Sanjay Dhaba
Make a pit stop at this modest concrete shack on the Srinagar-Leh Highway, which is there to soothe your hunger pangs, with its mouth-watering home-cooked food. Sanjay Dhaba is known to be a haven for all the hungry truckers, bikers and everyone else traversing through these hilly rugged terrains of the wild.
With minimal maintenance of its interiors but with excellent savoury food, the dhaba feeds its patrons with piping hot buttery 'aloo parathas' and freshly prepared 'gobi ki sabzi'. Try out their refreshing hot cuppa of the amazingly scented black tea, to go with your food. Enjoy and relish a fulfilling meal, amidst the natural splendour of the Himalayan mountains and valleys, before you further embark on your journey on the gravel roads.
Where: Srinagar-Leh Highway
Must Try: Aloo Paratha, Gobi Ki Sabzi, Black Tea
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 300 for two
2. Sharma Dhaba
The Sharma Dhaba, is the one roadside eating joint that one may point out on the Sikar to Jaipur highway. The dhaba has become a very sought-after eating joint for the travellers, craving for authentic Rajasthani delicacies.
Head to this dhaba, to savour and indulge in some authentic Rajasthani cuisines that are prepared with the freshest of ingredients, and the heart-warming hospitality of the dhaba managers is something you may never forget. Binge on their famous 'mawa naan' or the 'mawa roti' which is made from freshly churned cow milk. The food is inexplicably delicious, so good, that nobody can barely resist a stop-over at this dhaba.
Where: Sikar-Jaipur Highway
Must Try: Missi Roti, Mawa Naan
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 500 for two
3. Samaroh En Dees Dhaba
If you are on a road trip in the far east, don't miss out on the amazing and authentic Assamese delicacies the Samaroh En Dees Dhaba, is willing to feed you. On the way to Tezpur between Bhomoraguri and Sonitpur, this dhaba serves Assam on a platter with their extensive menu and catches your attention with its colourful exteriors and lush green environs.
Famous for its signature Assamese dishes like the pigeon curry and 'aaloo pitika', the homely ambience of the dhaba makes you never want to leave the place. This dhaba cum restaurant has a considerable fan following as it relies heavily on the generous use of spices, that resonate in the authenticity of the food.
Where: Near Koliabhomora Bridge, Tezpur, Assam
Must Try: Pigeon Curry, Aaloo Pitika
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 350 for two
4. Sunny Da Dhaba
Sunny Da Dhaba is stationed on the highway between Pune to Lonavala. The place remains packed most of the time, and you will be really impressed with the rustic charm of this little eatery. The dhaba is a roughly maintained tin-shed roadside eatery, with long decorated tables that serve some sumptuous Indian food, in boxes.
The 'rajoli kebab' and the 'tandoori pomfret' are some of their signature dishes. While there, don't forget to try out their sizzling hot 'jalebis'. This little roadside dhaba is definitely worth all the extra miles of a drive!
Where: NH 4, Lonavala
Must Try: Tandoori Pomfret, Rajoli Kebab
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 1,700 for two