50 top dishes from 10 Indian food cities – the country’s top influencers reveal their favourite picks.
Saloni Kukreja, Ankiet Gulabani, Swayampurna Mishra, Vinayak Grover, Sameer & Parimita Nagori, Roxanne Bamboat and Ritika Betala picks their favourite food cities across India – and tell you what to eat in each
Picked by ROXANNE BAMBOAT
Instagram: @thetinytaster | Twitter: @roxannebamboat | www.thetinytaster.com
“A sleepy little unassuming seaside town in Gujarat, Udvada is not just a pilgrimage site for Zoroastrians the world over, it is also a culinary gem that just doesn’t get as much love as it should. Gourmands are always talking about the food in cities like Lucknow, Delhi or Hyderabad, but, if it’s simple, hearty, meat-laden indulgence you’re looking for, Udvada is your best bet. The Parsi community can’t get enough of the food found in the few eateries here; what the town lacks in numbers, it more than makes up for in flavour.”
5 DISHES YOU MUST TRY:
BOI FISH: A local river fish full of bones but relished with much enthusiasm, this is a delicacy in Udvada; fried boi is a treat best enjoyed here. The place to eat it is at the iconic Globe Hotel, which has been delighting visitors for nearly three generations.
At Globe Hotel
KOLMI PATIO AND FRIED FISH: While boi rules the roost when it comes to seafood, a good old kolmi (prawn) patio eaten with dhan dar (rice and yellow dal) is just as delightful. This sweet-spicy and tangy gravy full of small prawns is another favourite and, to round off the meal, get yourself a side of tareli machi (fried fish).
At Ashishvangh Hotel
DHANSAK: Thick brown dal with fragrant rice and chunky pieces of tender mutton – a Parsi’s delight. Eat this heavy dish with a side of kachumber and you’ll have a terrific lunch that will most certainly demand a small afternoon snooze. Even if you aren’t staying at SodaWaterWalla Dharamsala, hop across for a meal because it’s possibly the best place for this traditional dish.
At SodaWaterWalla Dharamsala
DOODH NA PUFF: Locals come door to door to different hotels each morning to sell this big, frothy white drink that is often compared to a daulat ki chaat but is very different. It’s made from full fat milk with sugar that’s hung overnight, and churned in the morning till it’s airy and almost foam-like.
At Globe Hotel
MAWA CAKES: Buttery teatime cakes infused with cardamom that are an absolute delight. These are so addictive, and the small size means you can easily eat more than one. Irani Bakery makes them each morning; if you’re lucky, you’ll get a fresh batch.
At Irani Bakery
Picked by SALONI KUKREJA
Instagram: @foodofmumbai | @foodofmumbai | www.foodofmumbai.com
“Heading to Bhubaneswar for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. All I had heard about the city was that it was rich in architecture, heritage and that it had an old charm. Exploring Odia cuisine first-hand was a revelation. I found it to be an amalgamation of dishes and flavours from south India right up to the North East of India. So many similarities yet such distinctly fresh flavours – I fell in love with the food in Bhubaneswar. What stood out for me was that it was unpretentious, and simple, but it always had a punch of flavour, no matter the dish. I had been under the impression that meat and seafood constituted a major part of the cuisine, but I found that vegetables, lentils and plantain preparations were given equal importance. We were fortunate enough to eat a meal (chhapan bhog) at the Ananta Vasudeva Temple and the entire experience was remarkable. Learning about how the food is prepared, where it is sourced, how it is served and eaten was truly an unforgettable experience.”
5 DISHES YOU MUST TRY:
DALMA: A traditional Odia curry made with brinjal, raw papaya, raw banana, colocasia, drumstick, beans, lentils and lots of mild spices, dalma is usually eaten with rice, which is a huge part of the Odia diet. I enjoyed eating dalma with rice and a crispy pumpkin flower fritter (kakharu fulla bhaji) for lunch along with flavourful raita.
At Dalma Restaurant
MUSHROOM BESAR RAI: Another beautiful vegetarian Odia preparation, this one is made with wild mushrooms and a mustard paste. Mustard is commonly used as a flavouring for fish and vegetable dishes. This semi-dry preparation comes with unevenly chopped wild mushrooms prepared in a strong mustard paste, eaten with dal, rice and a side of aloo chokha (mashed aloo similar to the aloo pitika of Assam).
At Odisha Hotel
CHENNA PODDA: A concoction of fresh cottage cheese, sugar and nuts with a soft milk-cake like texture, this is one of Odisha’s specialty mithais. The process involves cooking the cheese and browning it to get that caramelised effect. It’s like a cottage cheese cake with sugar and flavourful nuts, browned on top, soft and moist inside.
At Nimpara Sweets
DESI CHICKEN ALOO JHOLA: This dish of local chicken with lots of bones is prepared in spices like cumin, coriander, mustard, bay leaves, red chillies and served with a side of potato. Apart from poultry, a lot of fish is eaten usually in mustard oil preparations, and Odias also cook delicious mutton curries, eaten with different types of rice.
At Odisha Hotel
CHHAPAN BHOG: I visited the Ananta Vasudeva Temple for the chhapan bhog, and the meal was truly a memorable one. We ate three types of rice, gourds, channa, dal and kheer along with a delicious chutney made with ripe tomatoes and dates (a classic Odia meal always comes with different chutneys served as accompaniments). The food was served to us in earthen pots; in keeping with tradition, these are made every single day and broken after the meal is over. This is an act of respect to the deity for whom all these dishes are made fresh every day.
At Ananta Vasudeva Temple
Picked by ANKIET GULABANI
Instagram: @ankietgulabani | www.bellyovermind.com
“Each time I fly into Bangalore, I’m armed with a new list of things to eat. The city never ceases to surprise, and the food always makes me want to stay back. I’m not big on beer, so this list won’t have beer recommendations. Here’s my insider’s list of all the places you need to go to, because, if one shutters, not having dined there is going to be one of the biggest regrets of your life. I’m looking at you, Smoke Co!”
5 PLACES YOU MUST EAT AT:
BANGALORE OOTA COMPANY: Founders Divya Prabhakar and Vishal Shetty showcase Karnataka’s regional fare highlighting Gowda and Mangalorean cuisines in an intimate little tasting room that seats 30 diners max. You must book a meal online before you go, and the owners will get in touch with you for meal preferences etc. It’s a new way to experience something so traditional.
THE LAVONNE CAFE: The students of the Lavonne pastry academy (one of the best in India) are in charge of the cafe, supervised by none other than pastry superstar Vinesh Johny himself. The Danish pastries and enriched breads are what you should order alongside your cuppa joe or to take away.
ANUPAM’S COAST II COAST: If you’re looking for ghee roast in Bangalore, look no further than Anupam’s Coast II Coast. They have two more outlets, one in Shanti Nagar and another on Church Street. You’re going for the chicken ghee roast with soft-as-cloud neer dosas on the side.
1Q1: The lavish eatery you’ve got to be seen at would have to be Queen’s Road’s 1Q1. Chef Mako Ravindran’s menu boasts tons of Nikkei dishes like the tuna ceviche (Nikkei is Japanese-Peruvian food), hearty rice bowls, and the cocktail menu does not disappoint.
HOLE IN THE WALL: If you’re looking for the perfect breakfast spot, you have to visit Hole In The Wall for its exhaustive breakfast menu. The 9 Yards Hash is what you’ll need to nurse next morning’s hangover if you’ve been brewery-hopping.