The Blue Lassi Shop
The Blue Lassi Shop Varanasi Reviews
India's finest lassi (?) : a secret to be found in Varanasi's Blue Lassi. Dec 06, 2009
Lassi is the traditional Indian drink made from a pounded liquefied mixture of yogurt and/or curd and ice. The most common varieties are plain, salted or sweet lassies however just about any flavouring you can imagine (fruits being the most popular) can be brought into the mix. They are a perfect moment of refreshment, especially iced, on a hot Indian summer's day.
The Blue Lassi in Varanasi is a bit of a legend, primarily amongst the Korean and Japanese travel communities and you will be shoulder to shoulder on the two small wooden benches with plenty of these fine people should you make your way to this little shady street-slice of Heaven. I am thankful to my good South Korean travel pal Park Heung-Chan (aka Gray) for bringing its existence to my attention.
Having slurped my way through a fair number of lassies in over 5 months in India I can say that without any hint of a contest those of the Blue Lassi are the finest I have tried. One of the lads will sit at the open-front of the shop (which is essentially a cramped shadow-filled open-front room just besides the street) on his wooden ledge crushing ice (safe and clean, fear not) and mixing away with his giant wooden pestle in the aluminium basin pots to produce the perfect consistency every time. Whilst often lassies can be very watery affairs those at Blue Lassi have a perfect thickened texture. They are served in the traditional throw-away clay 'puruwa' cups (small or large) and always with delicious iced shavings of the top layer of curd dressed all around them and a divine drizzling of golden saffron and rose water. Filled to overflowing and handed to you on a square of newspaper with a little wooden spatula you are about to be transported!
The Blue Lassi menu is blissfully simple. Plain lassi (15 Rupees /18p), Banana lassi (my favourite at 20 Rupees/ 25p), Chocolate lassi (not as super rewarding as it may sound when compared against the others at 30 Rupees/ 37p) and Mango lassi (when the fruit is in season. Price not noted). The prices quoted are (I think?) for the 'normal' or large 'puruwa' cups and I think smaller ones are knocked out for 5 Rupees or so less, but why hold back!.
Of course India is renowned too for the infamous 'bhang' lassi. Essentially lassi mixed with a mulched marijuana infused curd base. These are available at the Blue Lassi upon request and subject to availability. Word of warning : bhang lassies, especially for the chemically uninitiated (such as I) have a reputation for being fairly strong ( I guess the name, pronounced 'bang', is appropriate!) and are not to be taken too lightly even by those who think they know. On the one occasion I tried one in Pushkar out of cultural curiosity I had a very unfortunate reaction and was plunged into a thoroughly horrible and scary evening (recounted in blog entry number 222 'Pushkar : A Cure for All Ills'). Just be sensible. Blue Lassi, being wise to their potential potency actually let you order by strength. Starting with 'weak', 'medium', 'strong' through to 'very strong' and the ominous sounding 'Maharaja strength'. Prices are quoted at point of request/order and vary according to strength.
But the 'bhang' is a lassi side show really. Believe me the plain and banana lassies are absoluuuutely to die for. One of my favourite foody experiences in 18 months on The Road and hardly a single day in two weeks in this amazing city went by without me making my way for my lassi a day at Blue Lassi.
The Blue Lassi is situated about 3 minutes walk away from the riverside at Manikarnika Ghat, the main burning ghat. Though I don't know the name of the path/alley that leads away from the ghat and passes Blue Lassi you won't be able to miss it as it is the main one heading away from the ghat/ river towards the main 'new' town. It snakes away a little to the right as you head away from the ghat (passing a pavement & steps fruit and vegetable market) and eventually you will start to spot painted signs and arrows upon building walls advertising its presence. (Not a million miles away from the precincts of the Vishwanath or 'Golden' temple).
Part of the Me and The World etc... travel blog
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