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Kakori Kebabs (and Lassi Too)

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Kakori is famous for its kebabs that, as everyone tells me instantly when they're mentioned, "melt in your mouth", and the reputation is well-deserved. I took a bike trip there in July from Lucknow (about 35km) to sample the kebabs, listen to some qawwali at the dargah, and see an old Hindi movie in one of its two camp cinemas. For anyone taking a trip there, qawwali happens thursdays at 9am, not at noon!

For kebabs, I found exactly one place. I didn't even bother looking before evening, but it was open close to 6. It's on the main road that heads towards Malliabad Road (not far from where it splits off on an eastbound kaccha road through the fields which is marked on maps). There's no name or anything, and it's probably not obvious at off hours that food is served there.

They were actually making two kinds of kebabs, of which one was the classic kakori kebab, and the other was beef. Even after a long discussion in which we established that I wasn't Hindu and would eat anything, they brought me only the kakori kebabs. That was actually plenty of meat given that I had 35 km of cycling ahead of me, so I didn't insist after that. It was delicious, in any case, and far superior to the Kakori kebabs I tried in Chote Nawab's (a fancy restaurant in Lucknow) and to those I had in Chauk (old Lucknow); in fact, they were better than any kebabs I had in Lucknow. IIRC, they served rumali roti with it.

My unexpected discovery was a tremendously good lassi shop. It actually had a name, but I've forgotten it (it was pretty generic, the something "Cool Drinks Center" or "Cool Corner"). If you're coming from Malliabad Road along the main drag, you pass by one cinema, continue until you get to a three-way intersection where the other cinema is off to the left; you go towards the right and it'll be on the right at near the next intersection. Their lassis are thick and not watery, and cool kept in a fridge as if they were just waiting for a thirsty Angrezi to show up. They had a thick sweet layer of slightly brownish something on top which added a nice texture. (I don't know what it's called; I've never seen it in the states, but I've had it at a small number of superior lassi joints I've been to in UP). The lassi was so delicious, I had three of them. (This was also good because it turned out that no shops in Kakori sell bottled water, only Cokes etc.)

With regard to both of these places, you might find it useful to ask around, but any traveller in India will realize that by the time they make it to Kakori. But in particular, I had trouble finding a kebab joint--the proprietor at a cinema told me there wasn't anywhere to get them (he told me I should go to Lucknow for kakori kebabs), and the kebabwallah at the first place I was directed to has been dead for three years. (I learned this from some helpful neighbors who proceeded into a debate about what the late kebabwallah's nephew's job is).

A meal's worth of kebabs for a hungry person set me back about Rs50, and the lassis were less than Rs10 each.

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