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The living heritage of Ahmedabad

| Updated: August 20, 2021 7:15 pm

Ahmedabad was the first city in India to be tagged as World Heritage City in 2017, primarily for its ancient architecture including heritage buildings, gates, fort walls and mosques. However, the city has an equally rich heritage of food. 

The city always served its patrons hot pakodas, bhajiyas, cheese-loaded dishes, flavoured teas and a lot more. Known for their appetite, Gujaratis are known to prepare numerous delicious dishes and serve them on a full plate. The variety of food available is always evolving; be it multicuisine cafés or local food stalls that serve Maggi and sandwiches now instead of the age-old pakoras or dalwadas

However, a few food places in Ahmedabad have still hung on to their traditions. We list two of them here:

Chai in a Kabristan 

The 66-year-old Lucky Tea Stall is the go-to place for many Amdavadis to have masala chai and butter-jam Maska Bun. At a first glance, the tea shop, situated in the heart of the old city next to the Sidi Saiyed Mosque, is nothing special; but the place lives in the breath of each individual in the city. 

The kittli that started as a handcart next to the graveyard has now expanded into a two-room tea shop over the graveyard. The graves are right in the middle of the room and as you look around, everyone is unbothered and having a good time. 

Chai and Maska Bun

“There are 26 graves that are 400-500 years old. We light incense, decorate the graves and keep them fresh and clean,” says Manager Abdul Razak Mansuri. The restaurant has also grown around two trees, and another one of its amazing features is an MF Husain painting on one of its walls.

MF Husain

The famous artist frequented the place for its masala chai during his time in the city. The painting depicts two camels and a castle-like construction in the foreground, and a desert in the backdrop. On the painting is written: “There is only one God and he is Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet.” It is said to be the picture of an oasis in the Arabian Nights. The painting was gifted to the then owner K.H. Mohammadbhai by MF Husain in 1994. 

Sweets that bonds generations

Any visit to Ahmedabad is incomplete without a box of Mohanthal from Kandoi Bhogilal Mulchand. This sweet shop is over a century old and is situated in Manekchowk. 

Assorted Sweets from Kandoi

It was a venture of Mr Bhogilal Mulchand established in 1845. They started with making their own variety of traditional Indian sweets. Word of their delicious sweets spread all over the city in no time and they became the preferred caterer for elite weddings in and around the city. Their Panch Bhog is much in demand for wedding ceremonies and other auspicious occasions. 

After Bhogilal Kandoi, Ambalal and Lalbhai took over the sweet shop. They maintained the legacy of Mr Bhogilal and continued to serve the traditional sweets without changing the recipe. After them, Behecharlal being the third generation did not let the quality decline and easily conquered the competitive market. Now, Nitin Kandoi along with the fifth generation handles the family business.  

There are now six shops and two manufacturing units. Director Nitin Kandoi says, “To provide our customer with purity, surety and quality is still our mantra and our recipes are the same. We also use the same high-quality ingredients to make our sweets.” 

Two brothers, Ambalal Kandoi and Lalbhai Kandoi
at their shop in Manekchowk

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