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A trip to any corner of the country is incomplete without gorging on the local food and bringing a taste of it back home.
Here's a look at the most popular treats across India. And a handy guide to how you can bring that distinctive taste back home.
Bhelpuri from Mumbai
We’ve all taken a walk along Chowpatty with that delicious plate of bhelpuri which just cannot be replicated in any other place. But while you cannot bring back the palm trees and the balmy breeze, you can definitely pack the chatpata snack to carry along as you fly off leaving behind the Queen’s Necklace in the distance. The vendors are kind enough to pack the wet and dry ingredients separately to make sure you don’t end up with a soggy mess. Head to Shetty’s or Elco Paani Puri Centre for the best treats.
Mishti Doi from Kolkata
When you’re leaving the City of Joy, it not an uncommon sight to see people carrying matkas and kullars full of the creamy mishti doi along with their suitcases. Traditionally made with yogurt, cow’s milk, cane sugar and gur, the thickened yogurt is usually eaten after a meal and often as a snack. Whereas various Bengali sweet shops sell the dessert all over the country, Mochak and Balram Malik’s mishti doi remain the most sought after.
Biryani from Hyderabad
The Lucknow biryani has its fans but there are many who swear by the Hyderabadi version. Unlike the ‘regular’ biryani we’re used to, this one is prepared by cooking both the rice and the meat together - a lot of expertise goes into it, as knowing when to take it off the heat is something only an experienced cook can determine. Get your fill at Paradise, Shadab or Shah Ghouse.
Chikki from Lonavala
This traditional Indian sweet is usually made from jaggery and roasted peanuts and is usually compared with peanut brittle. Whereas this variety is ubiquitous, Lonavala woos visitors with its many varieties including cashews, almonds and even pistachios. Some are even garnished with sesame and chocolate. Available in both sugar and jaggery versions, these fly off the shelves as soon as they are made.
Shrewsbury biscuits from Pune
Named after an English town in Shropshire, the Shrewsbury biscuits are mainly produced in Pune. Essentially a butter cookie, this popular food item is made from milk, sugar, eggs, flour and lemon zest. The original biscuits are plain but you now get versions with added cashew and other kinds of nuts. Available at Kayani Bakery, they are the best gift to carry back for those you left behind.