No country churns out food like India does, both in terms of volume and variety. We could do a two-month long food tour of the country and still only have scratched the surface.
During Ramzan, though, the foodie experience is something else. There’s a festive buzz, the pace of activity is frenzied and queues at stalls and restaurants become longer. There is an air of excitement, even anticipation, as khansamas fish out skewers of golden kebabs from the tandoor. In fact, it’s a carnival of masalas, fried foods, chaats, biryanis, kebabs, mutton stews, malpuas, firnis and jalebis! What’s more, it varies in each state, so you could never get bored.
Depending on where you are this Ramzan, go ahead and bite into some awesome food in these cities:
Most tourists and locals make their way to Karim’s for their biryani, paya and firni. But there are other local joints which do an equally brilliant job, at more pocket-friendly prices too.
Haaji Noora Nihari Wale: This joint dishes up an awesome plate of nihari, a rich stew of goat meat cooked for eight hours straight. This creamy, melt-in-the-mouth concoction can be scooped up with khameeri rotis. It makes for a delicious meal at less than Rs 100.
Getting there: Shop No. 3576, Thele wali Gali, Bara Hindu Rao Road, Sadar Bazaar, New Delhi.
Lazeez Darbar: This eatery near Hazrat Nizamuddin dishes up very good mutton kebabs and mutton burra, doused in thick gravy. Their mutton biryani and firni also come highly recommended.
Getting there: Near Rajdoot Hotel, 13-B Jangpura, Mathura Road, near Nizamuddin railway station.
Ustad Moinuddin: Located in the Lal Kuan area, this is one shop Delhites recommend for its well-priced, succulent kebabs. Biryani is also sold by the kilo nearby.
Getting there: Lal Kuan, Gali Qasimjan, Chawri Bazar, New Delhi.
The Lanes of Matia Mahal: The narrow gallis of Matia Mahal are a good iftar destination, if you don’t mind the crowds. Buffalo kababs, korma, sevaiyan and shahi tukda await foodies.
Getting there: In and around Jama Majid, Old Delhi. Nearest metro stops: Chawri Bazaar or Chandni Chowk.
While Mohammed Ali Road is on everyone’s go-to list for street food every Ramzan, there are a few other eateries scattered around the city that also fall under the must-visit category.
Bade Miyan: This famous joint in South Mumbai needs no introduction for locals. It’s so popular during Ramzan that they open an additional stall each year to cope with the crowds. Their haleem and zabaan (tongue) soup are their crowd pullers.
Getting there: Tulloch Road, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
Barah Handi: This Crawford Market eatery gets its name from the 12 handis used to make different items. Try the paya, it’s a specialty.
Getting there: 45 Gujar Street, Behind Dargah, Crawford Market, near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Marhaba Fast Food: This little gem, tucked away in a corner of Minara Masjid, area has chicken rolls and baida roti to die for.
Getting there: Minara Masjid, Memon Wada.
Hindustan Restaurant: There isn’t much mention of this place online, but locals swear by the food at Hindustan restaurant, opposite Minara Masjid. Visit for platefuls of their tiny kebabs.
Getting there: 152, I M Merchant Road Near Minara Masjid, near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Noorani Milk Centre and Suleiman Mithaiwala: Both places are famous for their malpuas – the best in the town. Also do try the firni and ras malai at Suleiman’s and the badam milk at Noorani.
Getting there: Noorani Milk Centre, 157 Ebrahim Road, Minara Masjid, Mohammed Ali Road, Masjid Bunder; Shop No. 41 F/G, Mohammed Ali Rd, Mumbadevi Area, Bhuleshwar.
The biryani city shows off to its best advantage during Ramzan. Set out to Charminar in the evening when the old city comes to life with hundreds of stalls and eateries invitingly displaying their food well past midnight.
Hotel Shadab: Tourists may prefer the more upscale ambience of Paradise hotel for Hyderabadi biryani, but locals know that Shadab on High Court Road serves it best. Also try their mutton malai kebabs and pahadi kebabs along with sheer korma.
Getting there: 21-1-140-144, Near High Court Road, Opp Madina Circle, Charminar.
Charminar Stalls: To sample the street food, spend a few hours at these stalls sampling their kebabs, keema parathas and pather ka ghosht (meat cooked on hot stone). #FoodComa
Getting there: Near Mecca Masjid, Charminar Road.
Hotel Nayaab: This eatery in Ghansi Bazaar serves a superb bheja fry and mutton masala. Scoop it with some naan and top it with egg pudding. Also try their nihari, kelaji, ghurdey and zabaan. With that you will have a full spare-parts meal going on!
Getting there: Nayapul Road, Ghansi Bazaar.
Hyline: This café in King Koti draws huge crowds for its haleem. This rich mutton and lentils stew is said to be meatier at Hyline.
Getting there: 3-5-784/A/2, Hy-line Circle, King Koti Road, Koti.
Yousuf Tekri Food Court: Head to this food court in Toli Chowki for an Arabic iftar, complete with shawarma platters and laham mandi.
Getting there: Tolichowki Main road, Tolichowki.
No Ramzan food trail is complete without a visit to Lucknow, land of the nawabs. Head to the chowk ki galli near Akbari Gate to fill your bellies and heart.
Tunday Kababi: Tunde de kebab is a specialty in Lucknow and it’s best served at Tunday Kababi at Aimnabad. Also don’t forget to try their galouti kebabs.
Getting there: 151, Phool Wali Gali, Chowk.
Akbari Gate: If you can brave the gut-crushing crowds, then head to Akbari Gate to spend a few hours among the stalls there. Whet your appetite with a glass of Kashmiri chai before you head to Haji Sahib’s for nihari and kulcha. Dunk a large piece of naan in their famous rogan josh or the less famous, but equally delectable, Khajur Ghosht, a mutton curry cooked with dates. Finish the dusk-till-dawn feast with makhan malai – a light Lucknow variant of saffron-spiked ice cream.
Getting there: Chowk Bazaar, Lucknow.
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