Top 10 Places for Food Lovers in India

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Give the temples a miss. Go past the museums and keep walking. Instead embark on a cultural tour of India via the gastronomic route. The culinary culture of India has been shaped by many historical and sociological factors—the habits of many different people, their lifestyles, and beliefs. The top 10 places for food lovers in India thus not only have something for the taste buds but also afford interesting glimpses into many rich cultures.

10. Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 Tamil Nadu has a rich culinary tradition, as evident in the many distinct styles of cooking to be found in the various geographical areas of the state. Thankfully, the foodie doesn’t need to trudge all over the state to get these varied tastes—there are many restaurants in capital city Chennai that will gladly dish out chicken delicacies from Chettinad, mutton specialties of Tirunelveli, the famed fish curries from the Kanyakumari district, and the exotic confectioneries from Kongunadu. What is more, there are also specialty eating joints in Chennai where you can sample Ceylon Tamil cuisine, unique to this part of the world. A food lover’s journey in Chennai takes a unique course, away from the fast food joints and into the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu.

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9. Kochi, Kerala

 What gets served as South Indian food in many restaurants in India hardly contains an essence of Kerala. To savor authentic Keralian cuisine—thick and tangy fish curries mellowed to perfection by a dash of coconut milk and crispy confectionaries made from bananas, to name just a few—you will have to come down to Kochi, the gastronomic capital of Kerala. In fact, foodies can also have the added treat of getting to sample the little-known but equally savory Kochi cuisine that consists of mouth-watering vegetarian dishes like thoran, kalaan, and paachadi. These are dishes that you will hardly find anywhere else in India.

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8. Chandigarh, Punjab

 Aloo parantha with a dab of golden butter is a popular Indian breakfast. When on the move, there is no lunch more filling lunch a few tandoori rotis and dal makhni; they can be conveniently gulped down too. A glass of cool lassi on a hot summer afternoon is preferred by many to aerated beverages. Naan, palak paneer, and tandoori chicken are some of the most popular dishes ordered when eating out. Punjabi food has truly taken over the culinary imagination of Indians and all those who visit India. And for good reasons too. Punjabi food is wholesome, extremely tasty, and very healthy and where better to sample this fare than in the land of its origin, Chandigarh. Although the city is dotted with multi-cuisine restaurants that dish out South Indian, Thai, and Chinese delicacies, the discerning foodies descend here for some authentic and lip-smacking Punjabi fare.

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7. Bangalore, Karnataka

This new kid on the culinary scene has been quick to make its mark on the list of top 10 places for food lovers in India just by dint of the sheer diversity of cuisines available here. Every day hundreds of people from all over the country and the world flock to the IT hub of India and it is only natural that Bangalore would rise up to the challenge of satisfying the cravings of varied taste buds.Apart from the traditional South Indian fare, Bangalore eating joints also serve North Indian, Nawabi, Bengali, Arabic, Afghani, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, and Mexican cuisines. From rava idli to falafel, from seafood cooked Konkani style to tandoori chicken, and from pizzas to fluffy pastries, Bangalore serves an extensive and eclectic fare and is a food lover’s delight.

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6. Jaipur, Rajasthan

Food connoisseurs know that Jaipuri cuisine is much more than just bland vegetarian fare.  The cuisine, with its origins in the royal kitchens, is sumptuous and offers discerning tasters the opportunity-of-a-lifetime to embark on a gastronomic journey back in time. There are eating joints in Jaipur, like Lakshmi Mishtanna Bhandar or LMB, Suvarna Mahal, Jal Mahal, and Niros, which serve dishes whose recipes date back to times when kings ruled the city and warriors roamed the region. Even gorging on staple Rajasthani food like missi roti, dal-bati-choorma, mewa kachori, and feeni takes on added significance when you tuck into these in Jaipur, with a palace or a fort in the background and the aura of royalty still lingering in the air.

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5. Kolkata, West Bengal

 The food lovers who flock to Kolkata are not in search of cuisines from all around the world; they are rather looking forward to sample authentic Bengali fare—fish delicacies like gandharaj bhetki, aam ilish, and daab chingri and sweet dishes likes rosogolla, mishti doi, rosomalai, and nolen gurer sandesh—that can be found only here. A traditional Bengali lunch platter is an elaborate multi-course affair that blends varied tastes—tangy, bitter, and sweet—without overpowering you. The food connoisseur has more reasons to be excited about the food that can be found in Kolkata—a tour of the city’s eating joints is akin to taking a course in history. The varied spicy chicken and mutton dishes served by Aminia and Bhojohori Manna hark back to the era of the Nawabs while Jewish bakeries like Nahoum’s smack unmistakably of European influence. The Partition of Bengal had led to the development of two distinct Bengali food cultures and there are restaurants in Kolkata, like Kewpie’s Kitchen, Oh! Calcutta, and 6 Ballygunge Place, which serve tasty representatives from both these culinary subsets, on banana leaves too, if you please. In fact, Kolkata is the only place in India where you can get the true taste of East Bengali (now Bangladesh) delicacies.

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4. Goa

 You will find it in many places of India, being served by budget eating joints and swanky restaurants alike. But if you want to taste authentic seafood, then you MUST come to Goa. Jumbo prawns swimming in delectable soups, light and tangy coconut curries with chunks of fish in them, and exotic seafood salads—these Goanese delicacies are as famous, if not more, as the state’s pristine beaches. Goa’s cuisine exemplifies the seamless blend of diverse cultures— Indian and Portuguese—and the saucy and spicy pork vindaloo with its prawn and vegetable variants, are its illustrious representatives. The heady aroma of spices and herbs, the whiff of the sea in the breeze, and the roar of the waves in the air—a culinary trip to Goa is a feast for the senses; it is not hard to understand why the foodie at heart is drawn here.

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3. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

A food connoisseur not only gobbles up his food. He is also curious about what went into its making, which includes the spices, the sauces, and any snippet of history. Hyderabad, the seat of the authentic Nizami style of cooking thus bags podium position in a list of top 10 places for food lovers in India. It is one of the very few places in India where the biriyani is still cooked slowly to lip-smacking perfection and the meat comes tender and succulent after sitting in yogurt for hours. Add to the platter a savory dessert made from rich cream and topped with nuts and raisins and you have in front of you, a feast fit for the kings, or rather the Nizams. Hyderabad delights food lovers in other ingenious ways as well. Hyderabadi cuisine is a melting pot of cultures and apart from the royal feast, you can also tuck into exotic delicacies that taste of South Indian and Persian influences.

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2. New Delhi, National Capital Region

Giving Mumbai a stiff run for its spices and sauces is New Delhi. The city finishes a close second in the list of the top 10 places for food lovers in India but you can hardly make out the difference. There are as many eating joints and the cuisine is just as varied. Apart from the robust North Indian, spicy South Indian, and mellow Bengali dishes, you will also find a plethora of restaurants dishing out exotic fare from even the most far-flung corners of the country and others that will rustle up a Continental, Thai, Japanese, or Mexican delicacy.But New Delhi scores over all other foodie destinations of India with its choices in street food. Roam the streets of Old Delhi, especially those history-laden serpentine lanes in and around Chandni Chowk, and indulge in the lip-smacking, finger-licking fare of tangy chaats, savory paranthas, sugary sweet halwas and jalebis, spicy samosas and kormas, and crispy gol gappas to understand why Delhi is called the “Street Food Capital of India.”.

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1. Mumbai, Maharashtra

Mumbai, the “Food Capital of India,” has to top any list of the best places for food lovers in the country. And Mumbai’s claim to fame does not rest solely on the plethora of restaurants and roadside stalls that dot the city. The sheer variety of cuisines available here ensures that you do not need to travel the length and breadth of the country to sample diverse fare. Mughlai and Kashmiri delicacies at Kongpoush. Authentic Iranian dishes like mutton berry pulav and salli boti that are the specialties of the Britania and Co. Restaurant. Exotic coastal cuisine at Apoorva Restaurant, Gajalee, and Trishna. Staple and traditional Maharashtrian fare like vada pav, missal pav, puneri missal and sabudana khichdi that joints like Mama Kane, Manas Sarovar, and Madhura Upahar dish out. Gourmet Continental food tabled at The Table or Suzette. Lip-smacking North Indian platters at the Almond Flower. And utterly delectable pav bhaji, bhel puri, paani puri, chicken tikia roll, and channa batura that you can find only on the streets of the city. Mumbai has something to offer, from conventional to fusion food and from street snacks to fine dining fare, to tempt and satisfy even the most demanding and discerning taste bud.

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Conclusion

The above-mentioned list of the top 10 places for food lovers in India takes you on a cross-country culinary journey. It is a fulfilling journey not only for your taste buds but also for your mind as you get to have a peek into varied cultures, customs, and traditions that have shaped the cuisines.

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