Udaipur is a city in the north Indian state beloved of tourists. Most people visit Udaipur for its lakes, great monuments and rich history. But most travelers are not yet aware of a little secret place. And, it’s called ‘The Egg World’. If egg dishes make you happy, then this place will send you to heaven (and no, you don’t need to die to get there).
I was traveling non-stop on trains through North India for the 25Days25Trains challenge. The food served by railway stalls had made me sick and I was looking for some respite. I was to take a break in Udaipur and a friend had said ‘try the boiled egg bhurji close to Chetak cinema in Udaipur. You will never forget it.’
He was right.
It has been a while, but I still remember the chopped boiled eggs sauteed with spices and a special kind of ketchup. The boiled egg bhurji managed to lift my mood and also made me forget the impending illness.
It took me a while to locate the place but once I did, leaving was the last thing on my mind.
That is when I was introduced to Jai Kumar Valecha, owner of Egg world and the egg magician of Udaipur.
His is a story of grit and innovation of small town India. The place where Egg world stands today used to be Jai’s father stall. Like scores of Indian kids, he used to help his father at the stall after school. Between delivering omlettes & boiled eggs, uneasiness started setting in. In his teens, Jai was thinking hard about how create something better to delight his customers.
That is when Jai took to experimenting and after many iterations came up with boiled egg bhurji. He says the ketchup is specially prepared for his stall according to his specifications. That, he says, is the secret behind the unforgettable taste.
If you thought that boiled egg bhurji wooed only residents of the city, then think again. People from as far as New Delhi, Punjab and other north Indian states come looking for Egg World if they happen to pass Udaipur. In fact, even celebrities pay him a visit when they are in town.
Since the success of his signature dish, Jai has gone on to invent other unforgettable egg dishes.
Some of the popular ones are tandoori omlette, egg nice, egg chopsuey, funtoo omlette and egg punch. Each one of these dishes is as drool inducing as the earlier one.
He hasn’t stopped just at the stall. Jai was also invited to participate in the Indian version of Masterchef. The judges were pleasantly surprised with the range of dishes he was able to create with his favourite ingredient.
The best compliment for this mercurial Indian is that he has spawned a street full of egg stalls, ‘mere duplicate’ he calls them. ‘The Egg World’ is now just one of the many stalls that offer these egg dishes, but it continues to remain the best.
Even I decided to give him a compliment. I said, ‘Jai bhaiyya, ek aur plate de na’, asking for one plate of his eggy delights.
How to get there:
The Egg World is opposite what used to be Chetak cinema in Udaipur. Though, the cinema no longer exists, the name continues to be a prominent land mark.
What to try:
Boiled egg bhurji is a must. The other two super popular dishes are tandoori omlette and egg nice.