Culture by food can be one of the most exciting adventures in India, a fabulous culinary haven. The street food scene in the country takes you to the very heart of the matter. For a full blown immersive journey of discovery and delight delve deep into the foodie pursuits of local communities of the places that you visit. Let’s go to legendary street food hubs like Lucknow, city of the Nawabs, Kolkata, that great cauldron of cross-cultural cuisines and Amritsar with its iconic tandoori offerings.
Palate-Pleasing Lucknavi Andaaz
Abandon yourself to the exotic offerings of Lucknow’s eat streets, inspired by the kitchens of the Nawabs of Awadh long renowned for their obsessions with the sophisticated and refined. The gastronomic pursuits and the rarefied excesses of the kitchens of the nawabs have been a fantastic contribution to India’s culinary heritage. Gastronomy with the Nawabs was, without doubt, transformed into a refined art form. Fabled for their delicate use of spices the fabulous array of dishes is a gourmand’s dream come true. From kebabs to biryanis, from salans to desserts the eat streets offer the most tempting culinary persuasions to partake of in this atmospheric city. In the twilight hour join the locals lining up at the over 115-year-old Tunde Kebab, synonymous with the best kebabs in town. The word in the street is that they are made with no less than 80 spices. Shami, Nargisi, Seekh, Galouti, Tunde, Kakori, Shikampuri are just some of the variants you can tuck into in in the old city, or Chowk.
Gorge on delectable kormas, dum biryanis kaliyas, niharis, shab degh and exotic breads such as warqi parathas, naans and the much celebrated shirmals, at stalls with rickety benches and trusty clay tandoors in the twisty lanes of the city. Unmissable are the kulcha-niharis of Rahim at the Akbari Gate, biryanis at Aminabad, or Idris or the delectable shirmals of Ali Hussein. Cool off with a delicious drink at Raja Thandai near Gol Darwaza. In Kachori Gully linger over pooris served with ghugni, and aloo bhaja — and you’ll need to share the huge basket chaat of Royal Cafe or Shukla Chaat House in Hazratganj.
Kolkata smart eats
Kolkata’s multiculturalism is best defined by the vendors in its eat streets, where the many community that live here finds some form of representation. Kolkata’s eat streets are vibrant canvas of culinary delights. Aromas colour, textures and sound all mingle together in an explosion of cultural hype. Yummy, affordable and uncompromisingly tempting, each offering finds a patron in the great throngs that explore the lanes and bylanes for their favourite dishes. From curry and rice to all things nice you can be sure Kolkata will become one of your most favourite foodie haunts. From fish fry in down- at- heel stalls to succulent kebabs roasted to perfection in clay tandoors, kathi rolls, and trusty Tibetan momos, steamed, fried and now even cooked in tandoors—all are sure shot winners. Chinese chowmein and chilli chicken Manchurian are great takeaways. In Dacre Lane, English- style cutlets and chops do good duty to rev up the taste buds of the office crowd. Bengali snack options like jhal moorie, puchkas and will always do brisk business. The exiled Nawab Wajid Ali Shah brought Awadh to the streets of Kolkata via the iconic biryanis, kebabs and shab-deg sold by street vendors.
Punjabis love to eat…and it’s not about five-star culture that will get your taste buds watering in Amritsar. It’s simply the desire for tasty, nourishing and fresh food that inspires the Punjabi kitchen. Even the simple vegetarian food served in the Guru ka langar, the community kitchen in the Golden Temple reflects this. While makki di roti and sarson da saag are popular staples, Amritsar really knows how to make a mean meat dish. The tandoors hold pride of place in the streets here and every non-veg Amritsar worth his salt can’t resist the delights of tandoori chicken, mutton chaap or Amritsari fish tikka. Inexpensive but delicious, Amritsar’s street food culture is deeply entrenched in the city’s foodie habits. The big hotspots in town to head for— Beera Chicken House, Kesar da Dhaba, Bharawan da Dhaba, Surjit Food Plaza, Brijwasi Chaat Bhandar, Kanha Sweets, Gurdas Ram Jalebi Wala and Maqbool Road with its yummy butter-drenched tandoori kulchas.
This tantalizing tryst with India’s street food habits promises the most indelible memories of cross-cultural influences, both regional and foreign, that have brought their own persuasions to this cornucopia of culinary delights.