The Old School Dhaba Hunt

Dhabas – roadside institutions which have become India’s de facto chowdown destinations along the highway. The meteoric rise of the humble dhaba doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, visitors get a fresh serving of hot gossip along with low-priced local fare.

Unfortunately, some of these wayside wonders might not be visible on the map. So, then how do you find them? How do you separate the contenders from the pretenders? We’ve got you covered. Here are some tricks that could lead you to a good dhaba.

1.Ask the experts
Without doubt, this is the first step. Any veteran traveller will have a list of the most-favoured eateries at the tip of his/her tongue. The wealth of knowledge from our globe-trotting friends isn’t to be ignored. Why? ‘Coz they’ve been there, eaten that!

2.Crowd mentality
It is fairly obvious that the best dhabas will be the most crowded ones. They’ve been there for years and have developed their own fan base. If they had a Facebook page (and sometimes they do), they’d have more followers than all the foreign fat factories in the region combined. The number of cars and trucks clustered around the dhaba can also serve as excellent indicators of its quality.

Trucks are definitely no fun to race against. So, it’s best to let them lead you. And lead they will, to the coolest dhabas the highways have to offer! Truck drivers are regulars on State Highways and National Highways. They know the star dhabas of the area.
Disclaimer: As we learn from most Final Destination movies, driving exactly behind heavy-duty vehicles such cargo trucks, buses can lead to unfortunate consequences. Reader and driver discretion is advised.

4.The dirtier, the tastier
This one is now a universally accepted axiom. The most derelict-looking places serve some of the most delightful grub. The flavour of the chicken or paneer chilly has been acquired from the same age-old wok that hasn’t been washed for years. It is finger licking, and you know it.
Hey hygiene! See you later!
Disclaimer: Dhaba foods are subject to hygiene risks. Please check your digestive system carefully before ingesting.

5.When in Rome
Choose your dhaba wisely. Stop along the road. Ask the locals what they would eat and where you could go eat their favourite dishes. Punjabi dhabas are famous for their exquisite butter chicken and aloo ka paranthas with safed makkhan. But, when along the fast paced East Coast Road, look out for joints that serve you delectable dosais and heart-warming pongal, NOT pav bhaji or chaat. For that, the Mumbai-Pune expressway beckons.
And come what may, stay out of dhabas promising multiple cuisines! They’re just not sure of where they are.


Ultimately, dhabas are omnipresent on our Highways. You just have to develop an eye for the best ones! But, fikar not, practice makes one perfect.
Oh, and one more thing, if you wish to take a pee-break, dhabas aren’t the perfect place. In that case, you might prefer good ol’ McD!


Pig out at some of these culinary delights with us. Download the Easy Roads app to find the best roads for everything from dhabas to attractions. Happy hunting!