Go on mouthwatering marathon food trails in different cities, sampling cuisines that reflect vibrant regional cultures
Words SAMARPAN BHOWMIK
Experience unforgettable flavours in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Out of Coimbatore (180km)
Established as a hill station by American missionaries in 1845, Kodaikanal is among the more popular summer destinations in the country. While most would associate a hill station in Tamil Nadu with traditional South Indian cuisine, in truth, the most delicious fare on offer in Kodi might not be native to the region.
Take, for example, the food at Tibetan Brothers, which has been serving up thukpa and more for over three-and-a-half decades. Head next to Cloud Street for a taste of continental dishes. For a taste of locally-sourced organic produce, try the coffee at Café Cariappa or the organic carrot sorbet at Nia’s Treats. If you want to indulge your sweet tooth, grab a warm blueberry muffin or a scoop of plum ice cream at Pastry Corner, an establishment that has been around since 1985. As much as the scenes from Kodaikanal will stay with you, the delicious flavours will linger much longer.
Treat your taste buds in Amritsar, Punjab
The northern state of Punjab is famous for its trademark cuisine, and Amritsar is among the best places to get a taste of all food Punjabi. Start off with Amritsari kulchas at Kulcha Land and wash it down with creamy lassi. It’s a modest establishment but hugely popular. To get away from the crowds, head to Jagir Singh Fish Wala, where the catfish tikka is legendary. Speaking of legends, there’s the twice-done tandoori chicken at Billa Chicken Corner, the only thing they sell; you won’t forget the smoky flavours any time soon. More meat is on offer at Mohan Meat Shop; whether it’s the brain masala, mutton tikka or the fluffy naans, it’ll leave you licking your fingers clean. If it’s vegetarian fare you prefer, there are amazing options such as Wah Ji Wah. The malai tikka, achari tikka rolls and malai chaap are delicious and will give meat dishes a run for their money. Finish on a sweet note at Bansal Sweets, an institution in Amritsar with the motichoor or besan ladoos.
Indulge in traditional decadence in Delhi, NCR
The last days of winter is great time to chomp down on spicy fare in the national capital. Start off with typically local fare at Punjabi by Nature, a fine dining option with an outlet at Connaught Place; you’ll want company along to do justice to the tandoori raan. For variety, try Naga cuisine at Dzukou Tribal Kitchen. The grilled pork ribs, smoked pork with naga raja mirchi or smoked buff curry will warm you up even on the coldest day. Next up, brace yourself for a rustic experience at Maa Tara with some Bengali cuisine. Try fantastic veg dishes such as posto boda (poppy seed cutlet) and mochar ghonto (banana blossom curry). If you still have room, choose between the exceptional thali at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan canteen or the litti chokha (whole wheat balls with brinjal mash and chana dal) at Bihari cuisine specialists Potbelly Rooftop Café.