Our top five foodie destinations in India

Our top five foodie destinations in India
Kebabs made in a food street in Delhi. Photo: Shutterstock Images

India, as a country, has a lot to offer - from world-famous heritage sites and tourist spots to wonderful architecture, culture and people. However, what makes India truly stand out on a global scale is the sheer diversity and richness of our cuisine. From Mughlai to Malabari, we offer visitors a variety of flavours that we continue to relish long after the meal is over. As a bonafide foodie, I wouldn’t hesitate to hop on a flight to experience the best cities in India for food. While that might be a bit extreme for most, here’s a look at the top five destinations in India to experience an explosion of flavour and culinary delights.

Delhi - Delhi isn't merely the capital of India, it is also definitely the food capital of the country! A city that’s an amalgamation of cultures, Delhi has some amazing food that is also as varied and colourful. From roadside chaat at Bengali Market, to 5 am Mutton Nihari at Karim’s in Chandni Chowk, the list of iconic places to eat in Delhi is never-ending but let me try to pick my favourites. As a Delhi girl through and through, I can guarantee that the best Shammi Kebabs and Chicken Seekh Kebabs are found at Khan Chacha’s, a restaurant that started as a small hole in the wall shop in Khan Market, but can now be found across the National Capital Region. You get the best, most authentic Tibetan food at Majnu Ka Tilla, also known as Delhi’s “Little Tibet” - that is usually chock-a-block with Delhi University Students drinking fruit beer and eating Thukpa. Another one of my favourite places to take first time visitors to the city is Dilli Haat, where you can find food stalls from all the states of India and can jump from eating a Masala Dosa and Vada to Chole Kulche with ease.

A street vendor making aloo tikkis in Delhi. Photo: Shutterstock Images

Lucknow - The city of Nawabs, Lucknow is a meat lovers paradise. While the city is known for its famous Tundey Kebabs, a mouth melting Galouti Kebab made out of minced meat, Lucknow has a lot more to offer when it comes to food. Both Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine were popularised in this city and people come from all over the world just to sample a taste. To try the world famous Lucknowi Biryani, you simply must visit “Idris Ki Biryani'' located in the Chowk area of the city, and enjoy succulent pieces of mutton cooked in heaps of rice. If you’re a vegetarian, then sample Lucknow’s famous street food - from Aloo Tikkis to Basket Chaat and Pani Puri. Your stomach might regret it later, but you definitely won’t! For all the sweet tooths out there, the classic Daulat ki Chaat is a must have. Don’t be fooled by the name, as this is not a savoury dish, but a melt in your mouth concoction of malai and sugar. Wash this all down with a glass of Thandai and you can safely say that you’ve had a satisfying gastronomic experience in Lucknow.

Bangalore - While I wouldn’t recommend Bangalore street food, when compared to other places, this city can definitely hold its own when it comes to amazing places to eat. First on the list is MTR, a Bangalore ‘institution’ and the ideal place for a piping hot Rava dosa, Idlis, Sambaar, Chutney, Filter Coffee and the works. Grab a hearty South Indian breakfast at this iconic Bangalore restaurant whenever you’re there next. If you want to experience some fancier south Indian cuisine, then you must go to The Permit Room, for some amazing thalis, South Indian fusion food and cocktails. They also do a great Sunday brunch. Another unmissable spot in Bangalore is Cornerhouse. Cornerhouse is to Bangalore what Nirula’s is to Delhi. It is the place for all things ice cream, but don’t even bother to scan the menu, because the Cake-a-Mocha, a chocolate sundae delight, is the most amazing dessert you can have to wrap up your foodie experience of the city.

Rava Dosa. Photo: Shutterstock Images

Kolkata - I have met multiple people, from close friends to foodies of the highest order, stating unequivocally that Bengali cuisine is the best cuisine in the country, and there’s no place to get better Bengali food than Kolkata. A food lover’s paradise, Kolkata offers bits of every type of food imaginable. From famous Bengali dishes like Kosha Mangsho and Macher Jhol at Golbari, to Rasgullas and Mishti Doi at Chittaranjan. Kolkata is also known for its continental food, and most tourists love to flock to Flury’s, one of the city's most famous cafes, for a cup of coffee and a club sandwich. Kolkata street food, while hard to compare to Delhi or Lucknow, has its own flavour, and you simply cannot leave town without trying a Puchka or Jhal Muri off the street.

Mishti Doi. Photo: Shutterstock Images

Mumbai - The city of dreams is also the city of amazing food! Whether its roadside Vada Pav and Sev Puri, or Tuna Tartare at Bastian, the Bandra restaurant you can visit for a celebrity sighting, Mumbai has it all. My favourite places to go to for food include Trishna’s, the iconic seafood restaurant known for their succulent prawn and fish dishes, and Swati Snacks for chaat. The Iranian cafes near Colaba are where you must go to try some Bun Maska and mutton cutlets, and if you’re up for some fine dining, then “The Table” and “Yauatcha” are unmissable restaurants to eat at. They’ll leave a dent in your wallet, but have you savouring every single bite!

Vada Pav. Photo: Shutterstock Images

While it is becoming increasingly hard to travel these days, make sure you stop by the fabulous eateries and try out some of the iconic dishes of each city whenever you visit next!


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