Good things come in little packages and that applies to food too. The greatness of any cuisine is well manifested in the local streets where it belongs to, with no bells and whistles attached. No gourmet cooking or five star ratings can ever match the sheer joy of enjoying a good bite of street food. How about a street food that is not only fun but also preserving the old fashioned traditional snacks and presenting to the urban crowd? Southern Indian city of Bangalore hosts one such street, “Tindi Beedi” which is truly a hidden gem of local cuisine.
Just like the food it serves, the name is simple straight forward as well, “Tindi Beedi” translates to “Snack Street” and is a far cry from the fancy restaurants spread across the city. Bangalore, a city that is widely known as silicon valley of India due to the large number of technology companies it hosts, has always been very cosmopolitan. The food scene has been no different with heavy influence from cuisines all over the world. Tindi Beedi on the contrary boasts itself for serving cuisines that are very local, traditional and the ones that embraces the seasonal ingredients. This modest street, mostly run by locals in tiny stalls/carts attached to one another in a row, is located at the center of the city, still only known to the old timers. Each stall serves an array of freshly made, warm dishes right out of their .. well, stove! After couple failed attempts to make it to Tindi Beedi in my previous visits to India, I finally succeeded during my visit in 2012, thanks to my sister-in-law & family. Boy, did it live up to my expectation?! I was over the moon walking through the dim lit street with tightly packed food stalls, filled with inviting aroma of many dishes being served.
As the night sets in, the dimly lit street starts picking up steam and in no time you find yourself in a street bustling with activity. On either side of the street you will see huge hoardings boasting the menu being served by each stall. The menu is full of native dishes, mom’s or grandma’s kitchen regulars, some jazzed up as street food. It is amazing to see the grand variety the stalls have managed to carry and still keep it very authentic and very local. It’s not only the stalls that are modest, also the price, a 100 rupees can buy you a lot of food here, all you need here is curiosity and big appetite.
The first set of stalls we visited focused on the breakfast items that are also evening snacking favorites, various types of souther Indian pancakes/dumplings – Dosas, paddu, Idly etc.
The street does not let itself get into monotony, time to time it features many seasonal favorites, and also showcases festival food traditions. The shop owners are eager to show off what they have to offer and do not forget to remind you they are not the ones to compromise when it comes to ingredients, everything is done the way it is supposed to be done, traditionally. The hush hush story is that the stall owners are a very tight vegetarian group and have never allowed any non-vegetarian stall to enter the street!
The next group of stalls showcased the deep fried delicacies both savory and sweet ones. This group of stalls seemed to show some leniency in including some modern influence but, don’t expect any compromise here, the traditional dishes were still plenty.
Notice the eco-friendly serving plates ranging from pressed Areca nut wrapper to plantain leaf to paper cutting! All the dishes are made to order and comes straight out of wok to your plate, yumm!
You will witness the battle of the old and the new in the desserts, a fairly modern Gulab Jamoon Vs the old and traditional Holige (cooked lentil & jaggery mixture stuffed into all purpose flour and baked on pan), a very traditional and popular dessert of south India. No words can explain the pure bliss of enjoying the old and the new favorites served hot hot, a BIG YUMM!!
As you slowly stride through the end of the street, you will see more stalls with more dishes, carts carrying kettle corns and shops carrying dry snacks that you can take home. After couple more rounds of some more varieties of snacks, our very full tummies started giving up though our tongue and mind was still very much open. With great reluctance, we realized it was time to call it a day, but…. not before we try out the star entrée’ of the street – Gulkand Ice cream fruit salad!!!
Gulkand is a very sweet syrup made out of rose petals which is a rare delicacy used in drinks and desserts and we were told there exists a stall that is known to serve the best Gulkand and ice cream which is a must have while in Tindi Beedi. After asking around a little bit, we managed to find the place and should I say, it was ice cream on the cake?! After a bit of a wait, we were served this absolutely phenomenal butterscotch ice cream along with a lot of different types of fruits and dry fruits which included figs, nuts, candied amla and what not and then there was the star ingredient, all on the bed of an ample serving of Gulkand syrup, all served on a plantain leaf in a paper plate! OMG!!!!!!!
With very full stomach and heavy heart we bid good bye to Tindi Beedi, I walked with full satisfaction with a great feeling of mission accomplished, already dreaming of my next visit to India and hence Tindi Beedi!
If you happen to be in Bangalore, India and would like to visit this street food heaven, this is where you find it:
Thindi Beedi, VV Puram, Bangalore, Bengaluru Urban, Karnataka 560004, India
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