Our diverse nation is a treasure trove of cultures and traditions, which also includes a vast spread of diverse cuisine. Whether it is the fiery chilies of Northeast India, or the flavor-packed fish curry of West Bengal, whether you want a bite of authentic South Indian food or love the bold flavors of north Indian — India is one gastronomically blessed country that offers a vast flavor palate to explore. So taking inspiration from our country's rich culinary landscape, here's a run-through of some of the most popular cuisine serving regions in India and the best dining destinations to sample their culinary marvels.
From crammed by-lanes to upscale neighborhoods, cosmopolitan Delhi is a true cultural treasure trove romanticized for the diverse experiences and delectable blends of old and new it offers. The multifaceted flavor of Delhi is prominent in its eclectic and expansive food scene, which is lauded by foodies and gastronomes from around the world. From easy-on-the-pocket eateries to the most expensive and swanky restaurants, Delhi has a plethora of culinary tricks up its sleeve to appease all kinds of foodie palates.
Aloo Tikki from IMLY Courtyard, Rajendra Place
The real flavor of the Delhi street food lies in the chaat. The original chaat is a mixture of potato pieces, crispy fried bread, Dahi Bhalla, gram, and tangy-salty spices. The mixture is garnished with sour home-made Indian chilly and saunth (dried ginger and tamarind sauce), fresh green coriander leaves, and yogurt. However, there are several other popular variants now, including the one with an Aloo Tikki.
From the streets of Delhi to its high-end restaurants, momos are a special kind of South Asian dumplings and a staple in the national capital, which are a must-have and tastes best with its typical red spicy chutney.
Originated from the kitchens of Moti Mahal & Daryaganj in the 1950s, Butter Chicken is the most Delhi thing that you can ever eat. And, every non-vegetarian, who has lived in North India and tasted this 'Delhicacy' would vouch for the fact that the version of Butter Chicken that we get here in Delhi is simply unparalleled.
Fat Punjabi parathas laced with butter, scratch that, layered with butter is a specialty of the national capital. Stuffed parathas are the quintessential Delhi meal.
Where to find: Paranthe Wali Gali, Chandni Chowk, and Moolchand Parantha, Lajpat Nagar 4.
A rich and creamy slow-cooked black lentil simmered in a tomato-based sauce for hours. Truly a divine preparation, Dal Bukhara is a beacon of culinary excellence in Delhi and a must-try Mughlai delicacy. If you are ever craving this dish, better head to its place of inception- Bukhara’s located in ITC Maurya, New Delhi. Bukhara's robust dishes bring to light food that once ruled the roost in the North-West Frontier. Their dishes are laced with the perfect amount of smokiness and flavor. Everything on their menu is delightful but the legend here is their famed Dal Bukhara.
Where to find: Bukhara, ITC Maurya, New Delhi
Rich, spicy and heavy, this is one of the most popular Punjabi dishes and is definitely on my list of top 10 must-try dishes in Delhi. Don’t be surprised if you find it on the breakfast menu of restaurants across the capital. You can find this lip-smacking dish at all food joints, be it local joints or restaurants, given its popularity with Delhiites.
The cultural diversity of Mumbai is the sole reason why this metropolitan city is blessed with a diverse and wholesome culinary landscape. As for the cultural diversity in the city, that is a culmination of the wave of immigrants from all over the country that come here with a yearning to make it big. The result? A smorgasbord of cooking styles and local flavors that reflect in Mumbai’s foodscape. Here's a sampling of such must-try foods that define Mumbai's food culture, dominated by strong Gujarati, Konkan, Goan, Parsi, and of course, Maharashtrian influences.
Rated as one of the best Parsi dishes, every family has its own special way of making this breakfast meal. Though the choice of the ingredients is varied, Akuri is usually made by scrambling eggs with onions, tomatoes (or even raw mangoes when in season), red chili powder, green chilies, and topped with fresh coriander. Others add milk, jeera (cumin) powder, curry leaves, and even ginger and garlic paste.
Another culinary gem bestowed on Mumbai from the Parsi cuisine is this delicacy. The invention of Berry pulao took place in the busy Iranian cafes of old Bombay. This fragrant pilaf dish featuring Basmati Rice cooked with veggies and topped with fried onions and berries from Iran, is the piece de resistance on SodaBottleOpenerWala’s menu besides other popular Parsi dishes, which are now intricately woven in Mumbai’s culinary tapestry.
Where to find: SodaBottleOpenerWala
Not mentioning this staple on a list about Mumbai's popular delicacies would be a literal crime. Vada pav is one of the most humble street food of Mumbai, yet it is tasty and delicious. Wada pav basically has Batata vada which is sandwiched between two slices of a pav (dinner roll) topped with sweet chutney, green chutney, and dry garlic chutney.
Where to find: Virtually every street corner in Mumbai serves batata vada but it's hard to beat the ones made at Shrikrishna in Dadar Market.
This gastronomic delight is a combination of 'Ragda', soft, spicy chickpeas, and 'Pattice', mashed potatoes shaped into fat patties and fried. The ideal way to eat it is to crush the Ragda with the Pattice and top it up with finely chopped onions, tangy tamarind sauce, and fiery green chutney. Mash it all up and dig in for the true flavor of Mumbai. A favorite street food, this local dish is commonly found all over.
Where to find: Kailash Parbat, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, and local street vendors.
The most commonly sold street food in Mumbai, Bhelpuri features a blend of puffed rice, papdi (small crisp deep-fried flour puris), sev, onions, potatoes, raw mango, and sweet and sour chutney. These ingredients remain the same, it is the proportions in which they are thrown together on the street side that makes all the difference.
A staple in Maharashtrian homes, Varan Bhaat is a kind of soul-satisfying comfort food that is a must-try preparation in Mumbai. This simple and humble dish is made by lightly tempering cooked-till-soft Toor dal (yellow lentil) with ghee (clarified butter), turmeric, and cumin powder. Served over steaming hot rice, this is undoubtedly wholesome comfort food at its best.
This elaborate meal consists of vegetables, Farsan, Rotis made from various grains (bajra, maida), lentils, rice, and sweet. The idea here is to bung in as many contrasting textures and flavors (sweet, savory, spicy) in one meal. A true vegetarian delight!
Where to find: Manuhaar, Sahara Star, Mumbai
Butter Garlic Crab
A delicious seafood preparation wherein a big crab is drowned in tons of butter garlic sauce that seeps into every nook and cranny and coats every morsel of the flesh. Crack open the crab and take a bite. You'll know immediately that sweet crabmeat and butter with a twist of garlic is a combination made by gods.
Where to find: Mahesh Lunch Home, Sakinaka
Bheja, or goat brain, sauteed with tomatoes, onions, turmeric, green chilies, spices and garnished with fresh coriander, is a staple for the die-hard carnivores of the city. Eaten with a roti (Indian bread) or pao, this melt-in-the-mouth dish has a rich Muslim heritage.
Where to find: Roshan Bakery in Mumbai does a pretty great job with its chef's special preparation of this luscious dish.
Known as the Cultural Capital of the nation that paved the way for the Indian Renaissance, Kolkata’s diverse history is evident from its traditional cuisine featuring subtle nuances from strong cultural influences of Mughals, Armenians, Parsis, and the British. When it comes to the food, there’s more to Kolkata than just ‘Roshogulla’ and ‘Sondesh’ as the entire state of West Bengal is filled to the brim with gastronomic wonders
Stuffed with mashed potatoes, sprinkled with spices, and then filled with tamarind chutney, pickled water, pudina, and lime – puchkas are definitely the best of Kolkata street food. They belong to the golgappa family, but the typical flavor of Kolkata is what makes them different from golgappa or Panipuri.
Where to find: Dilipda’s Phuchkas in Vivekananda Market
This beloved street food of Kolkata is quite similar to Mumbai's Ragda Pattice. Ghugni is made mainly of boiled yellow and white peas – mixed with onions, coriander, chillis, tomatoes, spices, topped with tamarind pulp and is insanely delicious.
Where to find: Dacres Lane
Popular street food of West Bengal, this deep-fried Bengali fish croquette is delicious and soft on the inside with a crispy breaded coating on the outside.
Kosha Mangsho (Mutton Curry)
Another popular delicacy originating from Bengal is the heart Mutton curry or as the people of the land fondly call it- Kosha Mangsho. The spicy curry is prepared with mutton, a range of vegetables (usually including tomatoes and onions), and topped up with a variety of authentic spices to give it that flavorful zing and the quintessential rich brown color.
Shorshe Ilish (Hilsa Fish Cooked in Mustard Gravy)
Bengalis take their fish seriously and when it comes to the classic Ilish there's nothing more serious and close to their heart than this mustard-based Hilsa delicacy, which is one of the many famous dishes of Kolkata. Available in abundance during the monsoon, Hilsa is an integral part of the culturally rich Kolkata's heritage. Not only is it the staple diet, but also an indispensable legacy that marks every important occasion in a true blue Bengali's life.
Aloo Posto (Spiced Potatoes Cooked in Poppy Seeds)
This is a classic Bengali delicacy that is mostly served as a side dish in almost every Bengali household. Sparing in its utilization of spices, this preparation relies on the flavors bring forth by potatoes, green chilies, and roasted poppy seeds. Featuring a nutty and rich flavor, Aloo Posto is usually cooked with mustard oil and served with Bengali flatbread.
Lucchi (Bengali Fried Flatbread)
Kolkata's one of the favorite carb-treats Lucchi is a deep-fried flatbread made from maida flour. It's quite like the North Indian Puri or Bhatura and enjoyed best with Aloo Posto and can also be paired with any rich curry of choice. Truly a comforting Bengali snack.
Bangalore’s food scene in the past decade has truly blossomed and the popular restaurants in Bangalore doling out a smorgasbord of delicacies loved by Bangaloreans is a testament to the evolvement of the city into a rich and diverse food paradise for locals and travelers alike. Join us as we go exploring the signature culinary favorites of Bangalore from the best restaurants.
Benne Masala Dosa
If you want to know about Bangalore specialties then Benne Masala Dosa is your way to go. Butter is called benne in Kannada and this dosa is quite different from the usual Tamil style dosa. It is not very thin and the balance of fluffiness inside and crispiness outside is just perfect. It is prepared with a lot of butter (benne) and hence the name. This masala dosa is served with chutney only and you can find it easily in Bangalore.
You read that right. These bite-sized snacks are surprisingly on the list of popular local food loved by the peeps of Bengaluru. In fact, their fan base is so large that you find this delicacy in almost every food joint's menu in Bengaluru.
This South Indian delicacy is widely popular among Bangaloreans The dish features a Khichdi-like amalgamation of daal, rice, and vegetables. One of the best restaurants in Bengaluru that is famous for serving this delicious comfort food item is the fine-dining modern Indian restaurant-Kava. Also accepting delivery/takeaway orders, Kava offers a delectable spread of popular Indian delicacies along with quite a few regional favorites.
Where to find: Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR)
What Vada Pao is for Mumbai, Bun Nippat is for Bengaluru. A bun is stuffed with nippat, or rice crackers, and a salad made of an onion-carrot mixt is topped with peanuts and a few spices. It takes no time to prepare and is a great evening snack.
Where to find: Chetty's Corner
If you are a true Bangalorean then you would know that Bangalore food is incomplete without the mention of biryani in it. People in Bangalore are die-hard fans of biryani. You can easily find a large variety of Biryanis in Bengaluru.
Chicken Ghee Roast
A classic Mangalorean delicacy that is also quite popular in Bengaluru is the fiery red and spicy chicken preparation roasted in Clarified Butter (ghee). This tangy and rich recipe is an evergreen dish and always in demand.
Where to find: The Konkan - Seafood Restaurant
When it comes to non-vegetarian street food, there is nothing more popular than kebabs. Served fresh off the grill, kebabs are eaten with bread, onions, and a spicy mint chutney.
Bangalore is also home to some of the best microbreweries in the whole of India. From the traditional, light India Pale Ales to chocolatey stouts and everything in between, the beers brewed in this city are exceptional. With new microbreweries mushrooming every now and then, it's no surprise that Bengaluru’s is now known as India’s craft-beer capital.
Gargi Bisht is an event copywriter/conceptualizer turned writer currently working with EazyDiner Pvt. Ltd. Compulsive eater, book hoarder, dog lover and pop culture enthusiast with an innate love for storytelling. Usually the quietest person in the room, Gargi is an introvert who loves her own company. When not eating, can be found in front of her laptop watching movies. Knows a thing or two about art and literature.
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