Cuisine is a significant and naturally inseparable part of the culture of a certain place. Pune is a culturally diverse city located in Maharashtra, a place where foodies are welcomed. The cuisine involves a whole spectrum of delicacies that would stimulate every taste bud on the tongue. In this article, I’m going to provide you with a list of 12 cuisines to taste in Pune. But before proceeding, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about Pune’s cuisine.
Facts related to Pune’s cuisine
Pune’s local cuisine is characterized by the typical flavour of coconut, garlic and green chillies. But these ingredients are widely used while preparing snacks and street food. Wheat, Jowar and Bajra are the key ingredients of the main course.
Here is a list of food items you must try when you visit Pune, totally worth it. These are the top 12 but not ranked in a specific order.
1. Missal Pav
This is a classic snack item very popular in Pune. Missal is a spicy and curry-like mixture of either ‘matki’ or different pulses. The curry barring all the solids in it is called ‘tarri’. Missal recipes are quite variable. People like to customize it in their own ways. Some people like to add ‘farsan’ to their missal, while others mix some ‘poha’ (another Maharashtrian dish) with it.
A few also love their missal with some onion, potatoes and tomatoes. At the end, ‘shev’ is sprinkled on any mixture you prepare according to your wishes. Although the taste of missal differs from one food joint to another, the folks of Pune love it anyway. They prefer to eat pav with the missal to balance the taste because the curry can get too spicy sometimes.
The fun part is that people challenge and compete with each other to see who eats the most-spicy missal. However, a tasty meal like this might leave your tongue and throat burning. So, it is customary to drink buttermilk or ‘taak’ after eating missal. It helps with digestion and goes easy on your mouth and throat. Some places like Katakirr and Bedekar are famous for their missal. Thus if you visit Pune, put one of these two food joints on your planning cards.
2. Bun Maska
The name ‘bun maska’ is quite self-explanatory. Bun is a type of white bread that is big and fluffy. While maska is white butter-like cream which is sweet. There are many restaurants across Pune that absolutely have this famous snack item on their menu. They cut open the bun and spread this ‘maska’ inside it.
Bun maska is usually served with tea or coffee. Or it can also be eaten with something spicy, to balance the taste. Cafe Goodluck on the FC road in Pune offers the best bun maska in the city. Adults, teenagers, kids and especially tourists enjoy this food item a lot.
Bakarwadi is a little namkeen and the Pune city is almost incomplete without it. A ‘namkeen’ is a sweet yet spicy item. It’s a taste changer snack item. Bakarwadi comes in different sizes but the flavour is usually the same. A hard flour coating is stuffed with a mixture of different spices. The smaller bakarwadis are called mini bakarwadis.
The locals of Pune are big fans of this namkeen item named Bakarwadi, so the tourists should try it too. Many sweet shops across Pune sell bakarwadis, but one of them is special. The ‘chitale’ store has opened several branches in Pune and they also export their namkeen items. The bakarwadis made and sold by the Chitale store is particularly famous.
4. Patti Samosa
Patti samosas, a mouth-watering dish served with a typical sauce. This sauce carries the flavour of a normal tomato ketchup but has more liquid consistency. Many bakeries in Pune are famous for Patti samosas. These samosas stand out from normal samosas because of their unique stuffing.
A combination of cooked onions, potatoes and peas is wrapped up in samosa dough. They are fried till they start looking flaky and crispy. The flavour, aroma and spiciness of Patti samosas is unforgettable, so the tourists should definitely try them.
5. Sabudana Vada
This is a typical fast snack dish. Many people in Pune observe weekly or monthly fasts. During the fasts, they are only allowed to eat certain food items which are sago-based or potato-based. Sago is mixed with some other items like potatoes and a nice thick mixture is ready. Small balls of this mixture are fried to make tasty hot Sabudana Wadas.
Even if it isn’t is ‘fast’ day, the locals of Pune love to eat this snack item anytime. Many restaurants in the city have this on their breakfast menu. Besides, almost everyday family in Pune has one member who knows how to prepare these Wadas.
6. Mango Mastani
Mango Mastani is an iconic and unique milkshake that is available almost everywhere in Pune. Although milkshakes are usually a part of the dessert, it is not that hard and fast with a mastani. The locals of Pune love to have mango mastani anytime around the clock. This delicious milkshake is a sweet combination of mango pulp added to the milkshake and topped off with ice cream. Mastani also comes in different sizes and nowadays even in different flavours. People love it so much that no one likes to waste it. All sizes from small to large are available.
Mango mastani is the standard one, but the other flavours include rose, strawberry and chocolate. But none of them are as delicious as the mango one, in my opinion. When you visit Pune, check out this place called ‘Sujata Mastani’, which offers the best mango mastani. There is also another place called ‘Kasturi’ when you can have mastani with delicious snacks.
Poha is a signature breakfast item and is famous across the city. Many restaurants as well as street food joints offer a plate full of hot Poha. Basically, Poha is a flattened version of rice. This type of rice is cooked with a combination of spices like turmeric, chilli powder and mustard seeds. However, every chef has a different style of serving Poha. Some locals like to sprinkle some sambar masala on their Poha dish even though it is already spicy. Whereas, others like to sprinkle grated coconut and coriander leaves on their Poha.
What many people like is squeezing a small piece of lemon on their dish. This gives a sour and spicy yet tasty flavour. Poha is a stomach-filling snack and people eat it quite frequently. It tastes good even when it is cold. School children also carry it in their tiffin. If you are a tourist visiting Pune and have a hectic day ahead of you, eat a plate full of poha and you’ll be more energized.
8. Vada Pav
Vada pav is a beloved food item across the country. But the one from Pune also holds some uniqueness to it. There is a place in Pune city called JJ Garden, best known for their Vada pav. Vada is basically a deep-fried potato ball that is spiced up with turmeric and garlic. While serving, a pav is divided into two pieces and the Vada is placed between them. But the whole dish also includes the delicious and mouth-watering chutney that they offer.
Some food joints like JJ offer red garlic chutney and salted green chillies. Besides, some others also offer green chutney. However, a few eateries decide to go out of the box and serve Vada pavs with a combination of curd and onions. Vada pavs make a good snack item with tea or coffee. When you’re a tourist in Pune, have your afternoon chai with this Vada pav.
9. Chicken Kathi Rolls
Well, this list would be incomplete without at least one non-vegetarian item. This is something you would find at both a nice roadside eatery and a proper restaurant. Chicken Kathi rolls are especially popular among teenagers as they hang out a lot at these roadside food joints. These Kathi rolls are also cheap, so they go easy on your pockets. Chicken Kathi rolls are basically small pieces of chicken wrapped up in a thin wheat coating. The chicken is usually minced and then formed into pieces.
These pieces are marinated or coated with a combination of red chilli powder and spices. Then they are sometimes mixed with onion tomato salad. Naturally, chicken Kathi rolls are spicy so they are usually served with a cold drink or ice tea. These cold drinks neutralize the taste. A tourist in Pune should definitely try this delicious chicken Kathi roll. It can be very spicy and mouth-drooling but totally worth it.
10. Chaat items
Chat items like Pani puri, bhel, ragada pattice, masala puri, spdp and papdi chaats are iconic street foods. Some of these are derivatives while some are found specifically in Pune. Pani puri is just a name for golgappa in Marathi. The vendor prepares this plate according to your taste preferences. Bhel is a mixture of churmuri (puffed rice), tamarind water, onion, tomatoes and shev. Spdp is an abbreviation for shev potato dahi (curd) puri. The name is surely self-explanatory, spdp is a delicious combination.
Some food joints like Ganesh Bhel and Kalyan Bhel are famous for these delicious and mouth-watering chaat items. When you visit Pune, make sure to try at least one of these. They might a little spicy sometimes or might give you a bit of acidity. But they are totally worth it. Plus, these chaat items are cheap. School going children totally dependent on their pocket money are a huge fan of these chatpate chaats.
11. Shev Pav
Shev pav is very famous among the locals of Pune. It is a very unique item because of its ingredients and great taste. Usually, many roadside eateries or food joints serve shev pav with a cup of tea or coffee. Shev pav is available at a very cheap price, so it’s easy on your pocket. The name is quite self-explanatory, shev put in the pav.
The chef cuts a large piece of fluffy pav and stuffs it with a lot of masala shev. Along with the shev, green chutney, onions and mayonnaise also add to the taste. A few people also like to add ketchup to this recipe. Shev pav is considered to be quite filling. Imagine you’re a tourist in Pune looking forward to a very hectic day. If you feel tired, have one shev pav with ‘chai’ and you’ll be energized. Hence, it should be in your ‘must-taste’ list.
An all-time favourite sweet dish. Sheera is also a breakfast item found on the menus of numerous restaurants in Pune. But it is also equally cooked in hundreds and thousands of houses across Pune. Basically, sheera is hot cooked rava. Again, chefs use several ingredients to make the dish unique in its own way. Many people like to add saffron to their sheera. Saffron gives a yellowish-orange colour to the dish and a very rich aroma.
Apart from this, sheera is also cooked with small banana pieces sometimes. Since almost every household has bananas and saffron, people try these recipes at home too. There is another out of the box recipe, pineapple sheera. Pineapple essence is made using the extracted juice from pineapples. This essentially turns a regular sheera into a hot yummy pineapple sheera. A tourist can get good sheera from a roadside restaurant at a reasonable rate. Try it when you visit Pune, it’s a special local cuisine.
Hope, you find this article interesting. If you think, I’m missing any of your favorite dish from Pune, feel free to share with us in the comment section below. I’ll add it into this article.