Do you travel for taste?
One of the many joys in travelling across a country as vast and diverse as India is its rich culinary heritage.The cooking style from state to state has evolved not only with traditional family secrets but with influences from the Mughals, Britishers, Persians, French or the Portuguese.
From local beer of the East to spicy pyaaz kachoris of the West, from fiery-hot chats of Delhi to fluffy idlis of the South, there’s so much to be had on your next trip! Here’s a list of lip-smacking delicacies every ‘food crazy traveller’ must try!
1. Kahwa Chai – Kashmir
This healthy delight is made up of many spices to keep you warm, especially in the bitter cold. Saffron strands, cinnamon bark and cardamom pods and occasionally Kashmiri roses are added to the boiling green tea leaves for a refreshing aroma and taste. Served with honey and crushed nuts, it’s a must have on your visit to Kashmir.
2. Kullu Trout – Himachal
Non – vegetarian is an integral part of the Himachali cuisine. Made from trout, a fish found in Kullu, this Himachali, smeared with a host of Indian spices, pan-fried and served on a bed of hot steamed rice, this dish will tickle your taste buds.
3. Chaat – Delhi
Be it the Gol-Gappes or the crispy Tikkis, the Dahi loaded bhallas or the Papdi chat; Delhi is synonymous with street food and Chat! Treat your taste buds to these tempting, spicy savouries.
Where to eat: BTW, Janakpuri
4. Kachori – Rajasthan
Try from about 52 varieties of Kachoris invented in the desert-land of India, Rajasthan. These flattened cutlets are filled with spices, onions, pea, lentils and so much more! Served with tamarind or mint chutney or sometimes with Aloo sabzi, this lip-smacking delicacy has to be tasted once in a lifetime.
Where to eat: Rawat’s in Jaipur
5. Petha – Agra
The Agra petha is world famous. It is a translucent, soft candy made from ash gourd or the white pumpkin, usually rectangular or cylindrical in shape and comes in flavoured varieties including the Grape Petha, Chocolate Petha, Orange Petha and more. Not to be missed when in Agra!
Where to eat: Panchhi Petha Store, Near Hari Parvat Crossing
6. Kebabs – Lucknow
Straight from the city of Nawabs, these mouth-watering Kebabs are worth trying. Marinated in spices, crispy on the outside, soft inside, Galouti Kebabs or the Tangdi Kebabs, to name a few, are served with hot dippings or mint chutney. Remember to taste them on your next trip to Lucknow.
Where to eat: Tunde Ke Kebab, Aminabad or Dastarkhwan, Hazratganj
7. Litti Chokha – Bihar
This authentic Bihari cuisine dish, Litti or the tandoor baked sattu balls are served with Aloo & Baigan bharta, and curd. Though it resembles dal-batti of Rajasthan but is absolutely different in taste and preparation. It is worth a try when on the streets of Bihar.
Where to eat: Available all across the streets of Patna
8. Ghugni Chat – Bengal
This Bengali street food, made up of boiled yellow dried peas or white peas, filled with tomatoes, peas, onions and green chillis, flavoured with lemon juice makes a perfect evening snack. You simply cannot say a no to it!
Where to eat: Available in every street & every corner of the Kolkata
9. Momos – Sikkim & Darjeeling
Momos – Believed to be originated in Tibet and Nepal, this delectable snack is widely made in the north eastern states. Stuffed with a filling of your choice – meat, pork, beef, or cabbage, momos are widely available, accompanied with fiery-hot red chilli-garlic-tomato sauce.
10. Kutchi Dabeli – Gujarat
Kutchi Dabeli or Dabeli is a Gujarati version of vada pav. The buns are fried to crunchy perfection in melted butter and are stuffed with potato cutlet, garnished with fried peanuts, pomegranate seeds, sev, and spicy, tangy sauces, this Guajarati snack is a complete savoury treat.
11. Poha Jalebi – Indore
Known for a variety of chats and mix of flavours, Indore boasts of its morning breakfast the most. ‘Poha’ or flattened rice sautéed in onions and chillies, flavoured with salt, turmeric & a dash of lime juice makes a perfect snack, usually accompanied by tea and hot crispy jalebis. Make sure you try it on your next visit to Indore!
Where to eat: Available at majority of street food joints
12. Chorizo Pao – Goa
Taste the Spanish-Portuguese delicacy stuffed with pork sausage rolled into a warm bun and served with seasoning; or try the chorizo (pork sausage) minced with onions, tomatoes, potatoes and green chillies, formed into a gravy to be served with warm rolls or buns. This scrumptious snack is worth a try!
13. Akki Roti
Made up of rice floor, garnished with onions, tomatoes, carrots and green chilies, this yummy Karnatak dish is served with coconut or tomato chutney.
14. Hyderabadi Dum Biryani – Hyderabad
Originated in the kitchens of south India with a blend of Mughali and Telugu Cuisine, this mouth-watering biryani is a must try for every foodie. Prepared with lusciously marinated meat or goat, enriched with exquisite spices, the vessel is seal with dough and steamed over coals. As tempting as it sounds, the authentic dum biryani will blow your mind and taste buds!
Where to eat: Paradise Biryani House, Secunderabad, Hyderabad
15. Vindaloo – Goa
Vindaloo is inspired by the Portuguese dish – Carne De Vinha D’ Alhos, a meat dish prepared in wine and garlic. Vindaloo can be prepared from beef, chicken, prok, prawns and is available in vegetarian varieties as well.
16. Thattu Dosa – Kerala
The thick, circular, steaming hot dosas served with spicy chutney and Sambar makes a pleasant change to the regular dosas, vadas and idlis.
Where to eat: Pai Brothers Fast Food, Eranakulam
17. Kottu Parotta – Chennai
Borrowed from the Sri Lanka’s culinary influence, Kottu Parotta is made by chopping flattened bread, mixing it with various vegetables, eggs and sometimes chicken/ mutton pieces. Finely minced in typical South Indian steel tumblers, it is served on a banana leaf and garnished with generous coriander topping.
Must Read: Food Paradises of Sri Lanka
18. Kalari Kulcha – Jammu
‘The king of Jammu street food’ is the famous ‘Kalari Kulcha’ made from the stuffing of the traditional ripened cheese – Kalari or Maish Krej, available only in Jammu & Kashmir. Kalari can beat mozzarella by miles!
Where to eat: Singh Restaurant, Military Hospital Crossing, Udhampur, Jammu Srinagar Highway
19. ‘Hello to the Queen’ – Rishikesh
Who does not love ice creams? But this dessert is simply scrumptious! Caramelized with banana’s chipped cookies, lots of chocolate sauce, flavours of cakes and coconut. Well, I guess you’re salivating already..!!!
Where to eat: Freedom Café, Rishikesh
20. Chocolate Toast – Pune
Sandwiches and toasts are famous all across India, but this delectable chocolate toast is happiness at another level. This mouth-watering delicacy has to be on the list of every foodie and chocolate lover ever born!
Where to eat: Flavours’ Outlets – Viman Nagar, F.C. Road, Marketyard
21. Appam and Stew – Kerala
Well, you may have tried vegetable stew, but this typical Kerala flavoured, loaded with creamy coconut milk and vegetables like carrot, potatoes, green peas stew served with appam usually is absolutely delicious.
22. Thukpa – Darjeeling/ Siliguri
Thukpa is traditionally a Tibetan food. It is a light soup loaded with whole wheat spaghetti, vegetables, meat, eggs and tons of flavour.
Places to try: Kunga and Dekevas on Gandhi Road
23. Tibetan Tea – Darjeeling
A must try for all the tea lovers, this salted tea is (usually prepared with tea bags) and mixed with butter to give it a unique taste.
Where to try: Kunga on Gandhi Road and Sonam’s Kitchen on Zakir Hussain Road.
24. Chocolate Pizza – Ahmedabad
Crazy about chocolates? Try something out of the box on the streets of Ahmedabad – Chocolate Pizza. Slathered with nutella, caramelized nuts and chocolate fudge sauce, this lip-smacking gourmet pizza is a must try!
Where to eat: Manik Chowk Evening Market, Ahmedabad
25. Jaanr/ Chaang – Sikkim & Tongba – Darjeeling [Local Beer]
Jaanr/Chaang & Tongba is a mild alcoholic and sweet-sour fermented cereal-based beverage, served in bamboo receptacle using a bamboo pipe. These can sometimes be strong and very intoxicating, depending upon the substrates used.
Where to try:
Keysang Hotel in Lachung (Close to Gurudongmar) – Sikkim
Hot Stimulating Café (on your way to HMI & Zoo) – Darjeeling
26. Sundal – Kerala
Soaked and boiled chick peas are fried enough in ghee with mustard seeds, curry leaves and chilies and sprinkled with grated coconut. Chick Pea Salad is a healthy delight!
27. Kesari Bhath – Bangalore
This scrumptious dessert originated in Karnataka, has its name and colour from ‘Kesar’ or ‘Saffron’. It is popular as Chow Chow bhath when served with Uppittu or Khara Bhath.
Where to eat: Swaad at Rajajinagar or Thipassandra
28. Mangalore Buns – Mangalore
Originally from the Konkan Cuisine, these sweet flatbreads are flavoured with banana and eaten with chutney. Also known as buns bhaji or buns chutney, they are available in Goa, Bangalore and other nearby areas.
29. Dal, Baati, Churma – Rajasthan
Rajasthani food is incomplete without the mention of Dal-Baati-Churma. Lusciously loaded with desi ghee, accompanied with panchmel or panch kutti dal, deep fried baatis and the appetising churma, it’s a worth try on your next trip to Rajasthan.
Where to eat: Chowki Dhani, Jaipur
30. Cad-B – Pune
This deliciously rich creamy chocolate shake will be one of the best you’ll ever taste in your life. It is an absolute must in Pune. You might locate a café or two in Delhi or Ahmedabad, but the originally Cad-B will always be synonymous to Pune!
Where to try: Café Chokolade Outlets
31. Benne Dosa – Davangere, Karnataka or Loni Dosa – Maharashtra
This delightful variation of dosa is made out of fresh batter instead of the fermented one and is richly loaded with ‘Benne’ or ‘Loni’ or the white butter. Served with spicy powdered groundnut chutney, aloo masala and coconut chutney, the variant of dosa is indeed unusual and absolutely divine.
Where to eat:
Bamboo Bazaar, Davangere
Dakshin Davangere Stall, Raviwar Peth, Pune
Listening to your heart is over rated, this year, listen to your taste buds instead!