The true centres of culinary excellence are all within the Walled City of Bikaner. Start in the morning at Station Road with Chhotu Motu Joshi’s puri-methidana subzi. Their rasmalai, rasgulla and jalebi are reputed, should you like to begin with something sweet, as people in Bikaner often do.
Then move to Chai Patti/Satta Bazar, where the best food is available till early afternoon. Try Raja’s motipak. Then go to Dharma Maharaj’s for vada and pakodas served with dahi. His phaphda snacks are crisp and spicy. Across the lane, Jaisraj Shivrajdo several mean lines in laddus. Sample several before you buy; their pandhari laddus are special. Wash them down with Graduate kanji vada.
Chai Patti leads to Kapda Bazar, where you will find several shops selling assorted churans and suparis. Buy at any shop. Then return towards Kot Gate; Bhikjaram Chandmal is where many Bikaneris go for their bhujia. Nearby, visit the Bikaji bhujiya shop; this is where the legendary Haldiram used to make his bhujia. Bhujia Bazar is close by. Exit the Kot Gate and you will find yourself on Dauji Raod. At Joshiwada, you will see Joshi Mishri Bhandar. Bikaner may be the only place in the country where mishri is made like in the old days—in pots with hung strings.
Further down the road, near Goswami Chowk, is Ramji ke Rasgulle. From here, dive into one of the narrow lanes and find your way to BK School. You will find several savoury delights at the three outlets next to the school, including dahi vada with outrageous fillings. Try the kachauri, but for the real thing, go towards Jassusar Gate and eat at Shivkumar Swami’s just inside the gate. Step outside the gate and you will find Dhokla Maharaj, who does the most spicy bhujia in the world.
Across the road is Joshi Bhaang Bhandar; cannabis is a known appetiser, and expands appetite to match the imagination (it expands the imagination, too). Walk to Mohta Chowk, and have rabdi and malai at any one of the four shops run by descendants of Ojiya Maharaj. Manka Maharaj and Handa Maharaj are highly recommended. Manak Rabdi Bhandar at Dammani Chowk is also quality. Wind back to Jail Road and Chunnilal Tanwar Sherbetwale; their bela sharbat is divine and their kewra is excellent.
Return to Kot Gate to Moolsa Phoolsa Paanwala (open 5am-2am). His masala paan is an explosion. For a cool finish, go back towards Station Road and find Daulat ka Chhatta. They do an elaborate chuski with several essences and rabdi.