Faded buildings, with wooden windows and tile clad roofs, which stand tall in the zigzagging lanes of the Gujarati Street remind of the lost glory of this culturally significant space. The street near Valiangadi was once bustling with crowds and festivities, and Gujaratis had truly captured the souls of the 'angadi' (market places) in Kozhikode.
Historians say that it was a Gujarati who guided Vasco da Gama through the streets of Kozhikode when the Portuguese first landed here. Once these streets were full of 'Pandikasala' or warehouses owned by Gujaratis and it was called 'Chapathinte Ida' by the local people. The upper storeys of these warehouses were turned into spacious houses and families occupied it.
There are even two shrines built by the Gujarati community to offer prayers. They were mainly rice merchants and also sold exquisite spices. Spices like pepper and ginger, and coffee were shipped off to Europe from the warehouses at these streets.
Today, the Gujarati Street is a favourite hangout of foodies who love to munch on some mouth-watering north Indian delicacies. There are plenty of chaat (tangy, savoury snacks) shops and the most popular among them is the 'Dilbar' restaurant which captures attention with its unique name board which is a riot of colours and patterns.
Raja of Dilbar
The Dilbar restaurant is truly a paradise of chaat dishes and serves delicious North Indian cuisine. Pani puri, aloo chole, pav bhaji, onion pakoda , and samosa chaat are some of their chaat specialities. Raj kachori is a unique dish which is quite popular at the restaurant. The dish, hailed as the king of all kachoris (fried dough), has spicy mashed potato as its filling.
The dish is generously garnished with creamy yogurt, coriander chutney, and chaat masala. There truly will be an explosion of flavours inside your mouth as you take the first bite of the crispy kachori with the entire garnish. The sweet-tangy raj kachori is a delightful dish with a hint of spiciness.
The buzz at the Gujarati street does not seem to end as the people stroll through these lanes which are intricately connected to the rich and vibrant history of Kozhikode.