I am going to go out on a limb here, but confidently so. I am going to say that The Blue Lassi Shop in Varanasi where you will find the best Lassi in the world. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure – a lassi is a yoghurt based drink with fruit and spices from India.
You have to work for it though.
Down by the Ghat’s in Varanasi you will find a sprawling maze of tiny cobbled streets and paths heading in every direction. The first task is to spot the signs that appear every so often pointing you towards The Blue Lassi Shop. We counted more than twenty before we finally made our arrival. To add to the adventure, just like elsewhere in India we pay our respects to the Holy Cows and dogs that litter the tiny paths, looking for something to eat and sitting where and when they so choose. Then of course, you have all the workers transporting goods from A to B up this street, down that street. Sometimes you will end up in people’s doorways to let human traffic through. Then of course, there’s the motorbikes, bicycles, school kids, wires crisscrossing above your head and the ‘welcoming’ Varanasi stench.
So yes, The Blue Lassi Shop will surely be an awaiting oasis in the midst of Varanasi hustle and bustle of everyday life if you can navigate the maze before you pass out on the sidewalk.
Finally after a few circling mishaps, a couple of tunnels, a few questions asked to Indians who speak no English and with a thirst for all things sweet and yoghurt, we found our destination. Up a few steps we and we were inside tiny room along with other Indians and tourists. We perch ourselves on a tiny bench and wait. After we have taken in the sight of the walls covered in passport pictures and comments from people the world over we immerse ourselves in the extensive Blue Lassi Shop Menu. Take your pick from banana, mango, strawberry, pomegranate, chocolate, coconut, blueberry, apple, orange, pineapple, oh and there’s more – mix them together – just decide – on one! (Because one is all you need.)
A young waiter of an age no more than ten takes our order and we watch and wait. Each lassi ground and blended fresh, one by one. Served in a small clay pot and garnished with such reverence and ease without fanfare or pretentious butterings, The Blue Lassi Shop puts top end restaurants that charge astronomical amounts of money to shame.
Lassi’s arrive! Served in little clay pots. The taste, oh so, so, mouth watering and all so very India. You just can’t get a Lassi like this anywhere in the world! (I am not kidding!)
After we scoop and slurp every last drop we stand to leave and are instructed to smash our little clay pots that were once filled with sweetness into a bin in front – no plastic waste here.
So yes, if you are planning a trip to Varanasi, although this tiny Blue shop is frequented by many a weary traveler, it is a must. You will enter feeling like you have been missing something all your life and you will exit knowing you may just have found it.