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10 Must Eat Foods for Bangalore Visitors and Foodies

I am a denizen of this lovely city and a foodie myself, which I think qualifies me to write about this topic that is very close to my heart - The must eat foods that visitors to our lovely city cannot and must not miss.
 
If you’re ready for a culinary expedition, here is the list of 10 must eat foods for Bangalore visitors and foodies. Just thinking and writing about these foods is making me feel hungry, so let’s get on with it.

Simple plate of Idli Vada

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Gone are those days when Idli and Vada were considered strictly a breakfast item. Nowadays, In Bangalore, steaming hot idlis are available at any time of the day. Believe me when I say that there are people who exist solely on platefuls of Idli Vada.
 
There are many side dishes that go well with Idli, but it is best served with sambar and coconut chutney. When I say sambar, it is not to be confused with the usual variety available elsewhere. My reference here is towards the tinge of sweetness in its flavour giving Karnataka’s sambar its uniqueness (they add Jaggery).
 
Though you can get Idli Vada everywhere in Bangalore, try these places out for a divine experience:
 
Veena Stores: Margosa Road, Malleswaram (at the Sankey Tank end of the road).
Brahmin’s Coffee Bar: Near Shankar Mutt, Basavanagudi.

Thatte Idli

“Thatte” in Kannada means plate. As the name suggests, these Idlis are much bigger in size compared to the normal Idli, and are about 4 inches in diameter.
 
These delectable fluffy things are also served with sambar and coconut chutney and (now comes the mouthwatering moment) a large dollop of homemade butter.
 
The chemistry between Thatte Idli and homemade butter cannot be explained in mere words. It is like Nirvana - you need to experience it to know it. But the last time I tried Thatte Idli, I was served Amul butter, the 10gm blister, which was a real turn off. So you be firm and insist on homemade butter.
 
The best place I know of for Thatte Idli is Sree Shivasagar Bidadi Bisi Thatte Idly Hotel, Bidadi (a suburb of Bangalore on Bangalore-Mysore Highway).

Rava Idli

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Necessity is the mother of all inventions. The story I have heard is that there was a shortage of rice, the main ingredient of Idli, during WW-II. Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) replaced rice with semolina, and thus gave Rava Idli to the world.
 
This speciality of Karnataka is served with saagu (a local mix veg curry), coconut chutney and a liberal dash of ghee poured over the top. Who else can serve you the best Rava Idli in town than the inventors themselves, Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, Lalbagh Road.

Benne (Butter) Masala Dosa

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Not to be confused with Tamil Nadu style masala dosas, which have thin crusts as opposed to Karnataka’s slightly thicker crust.
 
Benne Masala Dosa, soft on the inside, is cooked with plenty of butter that gives its golden brown crust that delicious crunchy-ness!
 
It’s usually served with coconut chutney, and of course a big dollop of butter.
 
The best place to try out Benne Masala is at Central Tiffin Room (CTR), Margosa Road at its K.G. General Hospital end. This place has been dishing out this variety of dosas for more than six decades.
 

Khali Dosa

This Karnataka specialty is a smaller (you get 2-3 Khali dosas to a set), thicker, softer and spongier version of the normal dosas. Boiled Kusubalakki (akki is rice in Kannada), a variety local to Karnataka, gives Khali dosa its soft and spongy texture.
 
It’s usually served with sambar or saag and chutney. The blend of Khali dosa and chutney is of such exquisite taste that even a gourmet spread will find it difficult to compete with. Then you have your Benne (butter) Khali Dosa which is served with a lavish dollop of butter on top.
 
Hotel Dwarka, NR Colony, Basavanagudi is the place to go to for your mouth watering Khali Dosa.

Ragi Mudde (Finger Millet Ball)

I am going a little rustic here. This wholesome food, rich in multi-nutrients, is traditional to Karnataka. This tennis ball sized Ragi Mudde by itself does not have an independent taste. It is the combination of Muddes and its accompaniments that tickle your taste buds.
 
Awesome when served with Avarekalu (Hyacinth Beans) saaru, Bassaru, 
Hesarukalu (Green gram) saaru or Gojju (a sweet and sour chutney).
 
The best place to get your Ragi Mudde in Bangalore is Mudde Madappa Mess, Majestic.
 

Puliyogare or tamarind flavoured rice

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Being a foodie, I don’t play favorites. But when I think of Puliyogare, I must concede, my mouth waters, my eyes get dazed and I sport a grin.
 
Describing Puliyogare as tamarind flavoured rice doesn’t do justice to this dish intrinsically woven into Karnataka’s foodscape. It makes me flinch every time I hear somebody use that term.
 
Tamarind is the major player here, but there’s a lot more at play here. This dish owes its complex flavours to the combination of a whole bunch of spices and the liberal amount of sesame oil.
 
It’s best served with curds and papad.
 
Go get your Puliyogare at Puliyogare Point, NR Colony, Basavanagudi.

Bisi bele bath or hot lentil rice

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Another treat to your taste buds which has its origin in Karnataka. Again, the translated term hot lentil rice doesn’t do justice to this favorite food of all Bangaloreans.
 
Yes, of course, lentil is involved. But what about the red chili, cinnamon, clove, cumin, methi seeds, coriander seeds, vegetables, etc? The interplay of all this lends this dish its unique flavour. Let me tell you something which will make your jaw drop. I have tasted Bisi Bele bath with around thirty ingredients.
 
You can serve the bath with chutney or onion raitha, with papad or potato chips, with a sprinkle of khara boondi over the top as dressing.
 
You can visit Halli Mane for your great tasting Bisi bele bath.

Masala Puri

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I agree chaats originated from Uttar Pradesh, but believe me when I say Masala Puri originated from Bangalore.
 
Though varieties of chaats are available across every nook and corner of India, I have never tastes anything outside Bangalore that is remotely as good as the Masala puri here. I speak with authority here, because I know how I yearn for a Masala puri every time I travel out of Bangalore.
 Available throughout Bangalore.

Holige

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Photo credit - Mallikarjuna.shan/Wikimedia
 
A crispy sweet dish traditional to Karnataka. Originally Holige used to be made with coconut and jaggery stuffings, but nowadays a variety of stuffings like badam, kova, dal, and dates add different flavours to your experience.
 
Holige is best served with oodles of ghee.
 
The Place: Holige Mane, Malleshwaram.

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