With more than two dozen states and countless cities, each highlighting its culture and heritage through its culinary knowhow, food is a major attraction in India. Those of you who love to experiment with flavours and food, here is your guide to some famous local dishes in some of the most well-known Indian travel destinations.
Best known for its street food and popular Marathi delicacies, Mumbai is a foodie’s paradise. Inspired by Gujarati, Maharastrian and Parsee cuisines, popular dishes in the city include Bombil fry (fried fresh fish), misal pav (spicy curry made of moth beans and spices, onion, garlic, ginger and chillies), batata vada (mashed potatoes coated in a thick chickpea flour batter and deep fried), akuri on toast (scrambled egg) and ragda pattice (potato patties topped with dried green peas gravy, onions and mixture). Bhel puri (puffed rice, vegetables and a tangy tamarind sauce) and pav bhaji (thick vegetable curry, fried and served with a soft bread roll) also cannot be missed. Bhendi Bazaar, Grant Road, Churchgate, Juhu and Chowpatty are among the popular spots to savour local delicacies in Mumbai. Highlighting the culinary wealth of the city, food festivals and other events are held across Mumbai.
From spicy dishes to mouth-watering sweets, Kolkata is truly the city of joy for food lovers especially those with a sweet tooth. Be it the puchkas (round, hollow unleavened deep-fried bread filled with a mixture of flavoured water, tamarind chutney, chilli, potato, onion or chickpeas), telebhaja (fried preparation rolled in batter and served with puffed rice), churmur (boiled potato missed with vegetables and spices) and jhalmuri (puffed rice with an assortment of spices and vegetables), you’ll find a whole lot of tantalizing dishes and amazing gastronomic delights across the city. Of course, the famous rosogolla remains the must-try dessert dish of Kolkata. Vivekananda Park, Dacre Lane, Tiretti Bazaar, Burrabazar and Gariahat Market are few of the best spots to enjoy authentic Bengali cuisine. Those looking to savour traditional Bengali street food, make sure you visit the famous Ahare Bangla Street Food Festival held annually in the city.
Be it the world famous Banarasi Paan (preparation combining betel leaf with areca nut), creamy foamy Malaiyyo (sweet creamy dish prepared from milk) or the different varieties of chaat (savoury snack), Varanasi is another city where the food lovers are truly happy. Blending with the culture of the region, dishes including aloo kachori (round flour ball filled with a stuffing of yellow grain and other ingredients), golgappe (round, hollow unleavened deep-fried bread filled with a mixture of flavoured water, tamarind chutney, chilli, potato, onion or chickpeas), desi ghee ki jalebi (sweet dish made with flour, clarified butter, sugar syrup), and launglata (stuffed flour parcels deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup) are quite popular among the tourists. Also, you just can’t ignore lassi (blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes fruit) and thandai (Indian cold drink prepared with a mixture of ingredients) in Varanasi. Deena Chaat Bhandar, Vishwanath Gali, Kachori Gali and Deepak Tambul Bhandar are among the best places to enjoy some of the finest dishes in the city.
Famed for its Awadhi cuisine, Lucknow is the place to be for meat lovers. Be it the famous tunday kebab (cooked meat dish), mutton biryani (rice dish prepared with spices and goat), nahari kulcha (stew consisting of slow-cooked meat mainly shank meat of beef or lamb and mutton, goat meat), handi chicken (aromatic chicken curry), Lucknawi chaat (white dried peas) or khasta kachori (deep fried, puffed pastry stuffed with spicy grain), you’ll find some of the best lip-smacking dishes in the city. For sweet lovers, kulfi falooda (rich creamy dessert topped with rose syrup), malai ghewar (disc-shaped sweet cake made with all-purpose flour and soaked in sugar syrup) and makhan malai (sweet snack made from milk cream) are all must try. Featuring several food stalls, shops and eating outlets, Hazratganj, Kaiserbagh Chauraha and Patrakarpuram are top places to enjoy some of the finest Lucknawi specialities.
Popularly known as the ‘City of Nawabs’ and famous all over the world for its biryani, Hyderabad is one of India’s finest cities to enjoy scrumptious food. Rich in flavours and spices, haleem (simple, porridge like dish made from wheat, lentils and meat), boti kebab (goat meat), mirchi ka salan (curried chilli peppers), Pesarattu Dosa (crepe-like bread), Lukhmi (mince savoury), nihari (shank meat of beef or lamb and mutton, goat meat and chicken, bone marrow) and Gosht Pasinde (meat cooked with spices, French beans and potatoes) must be tried here. Sindhi Colony and Pragati Gully are two of the best places to enjoy some of the best Hyderabadi dishes.