The Omelette Man of Jodhpur
Of course, visitors to Rajasthan have all come here in search of the celebrated, the legendary, the world famous… Omelette Man of Jodhpur. OK, he might not be a household name in Europe or the States, but he has found his way into every guidebook from the US to Japan to France. (And if the French dig his omelettes, you know they have to be good!)
The Omelette Man is such a hit that, in the land of scams and rip-offs, his success has spawned a series of fake Omelette Men, all claiming to be the legendary original. So our first challenge was to locate the real artiste des omelettes. Never fear, the Omelette Man is one tough old cookie. He has set up an enormous sign blasting his authenticity to the world, “The Omelette Shop – recommended by Lonely Planet,” and just to prove he’s the genuine thing, he will recount his thrilling rise to fame. (Good going Omelette Man, don’t let those hucksters steal your hard-earned reputation.)
When we finally located the real Omelette Man, we were surprised to discover that this legend serves his culinary creations from a small stand in the middle of a two way street in front of the fortified gate leading to the busy Sardar market.
“It’s me, I’m the real Omelette Man!” he cried when he noticed our confused faces, “Come and sit down.” He immediately whipped out two plastic stools and arranged them nicely as a car buzzed by and a couple of auto-rickshaws came speeding out of the market gate narrowly missing the stools by inches. We considered the situation for a few seconds, wondering if his omelettes were worth risking our lives.
“Come and sit down,” he said with such enthusiasm and honest hospitality that we couldn’t refuse. From nowhere, he produced an English-language menu and thrust it into my hands. “I recommend my masala cheese omelette.”
Thomas was given a pile of tattered books filled with customer comments. “The Omelette Man is the best.” “The best masala cheese omelette I’ve ever had.” In languages from English to Japanese, French to Hebrew, thousands of comments had been collected to prove the superiority of the Omelette Man’s work.
“I go through 1000 eggs a day,” the Omelette Man added for our edutainment. “What do you want?” We both ordered the recommended masala cheese omelette, although I asked if I could have mine without tomatoes because, as everyone knows, I hate tomatoes.
“No problem,” he yelled back, “one with tomatoes, one without.” I had the sense that years of preparing omelettes in the middle of the street had caused him to turn up the volume a couple notches on his casual conversation. A pair of camels strolled by just behind me dwarfing me on my tiny plastic chair. Auto-rickshaws hurdled by mere inches from my back.
I could see a couple of street children eying us from across the road; they seemed strangely shy. After much deliberation, one gathered up enough courage to approach us.
“20 rupees,” he demanded, his friends joining him at his side.
“No,” I responded robotically.
“No.” (They get them from the tourists and then exchange them in the shops for candy. Yes, the shop owners do it. It’s rampant.)
“10 rupees?” It was starting over.
Suddenly, the Omelette Man spun around and launched himself at the kids brandishing a spatula dripping with hot, cracking oil. Screams and curses were traded in Hindi and the group of street children scattered into the market.
Now, that’s service! If he even chases the street kids off for me, I’m coming back here every day, regardless of what the omelettes taste like.
He served the greasy omelettes sandwich-style between two slices of toasted bread. A cheesy orange sauce oozed on to the plate and pieces of onion and a mysterious red spice were clearly visible. Thomas dove into his, munching and gnawing, within seconds it was gone. Then I got mine, fresh from the skillet. I picked up the omelette, eyed it a second, and then sank my teeth into his creation.
An old holy cow which was sauntering by at the time suddenly stopped, and stared at me in anticipation, eagerly awaiting my reaction. The omelette man, however, appeared to already know the outcome.
A huge smile. It really was the best masala cheese omelette – ever!
Make sure to read our great list of places to visit in Jodhpur. And, yes, the omelette man made it on there.