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Where Is The Best Food In India?

Discussion in 'Food & Drinks' started by Hyperion, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. Hyperion

    Hyperion New Member

    I am planning a trip to India in the future, mainly because of the Indian restaurant I worked at in the States.
    I know the various regions have different cuisines, but I want to hear from some experienced travelers give me their input about food all over the country. Lamb Vindaloo and Chicken Tikka Masala are heavenly, and naan bread is the best regional bread type. I know that is typical for western palate, but I do not care. Who ever knew something colored orange could taste so great?

  2. ChaiNashta

    ChaiNashta Active Member

    There is no such dish called Chicken tikka Masala in India. It is something that started from the United Kingdom to suit the local taste buds and I believe that restaurants in the US picked it up from there. Chicken tikka is a dry snack that is prepared in a tandoor (clay oven). There is no gravy in chicken tikka and it is usually accompanied with a mint chutney (sauce).

    India has too many cuisines and if you came to Delhi and asked for an authentic South Indian dish you would be surprised that many wont even know the name of the dish you ask for and even if you find it you will have a localized version of those dishes.

    The best way to sample food is to ask for local specialties and not ask for dishes from another region. The dosa or idlis and sambhar you would get in Delhi would never even come close to what they serve at Chennai or other parts of South India. Even South Indian dishes have local versions and they are all ancient recipes and not something that was invented over night.

    There are places like the Delhi Haat in Delhi where you can taste different cuisines in one place where they have stalls from different states and I am sure there must be such places in other parts of the country too.

    It would help if you specified what part of the country you would be visiting to be able to provide good suggestions. Sorry about breaking your chicken tikka masala myth ;) . You are not the only one :)

    We already have a thread about best foods in different cities in India where you could get some local information if you like.
    BadBoy likes this.

  3. nomad

    nomad New Member

    You'll find some amazing food in India no matter where you go within the country.

    My recommendation would be to order what the locals do. I've traveled to many countries around the world and this is my general rule. There's not much point in traveling if you stick to the same foods you eat at home (in my opinion). Asking the server for their most popular dish is a great way to try some new food and learn more about the local culture. If you're able to arrange some dinners with people who live in India, or spend a lot of time there, that will also help as you can let them order.

    If you're in India for a decent length of time you might want to try your hand at cooking a traditional meal also. Depending on where you travel to within India, there are some places you can go to for a quick cooking lesson, with a meal at the end. Having worked in an Indian restaurant at home this might be something you're interested in.
    Chahal likes this.
  4. Sramana

    Sramana Member

    I agree, the orange 'curries' that are available in the US are assemblies specifically created for Western taste buds. It is one version of one specific branch of North Indian, Mughlai cuisine. If you are travelling to India for food with such flavors, I suggest that you stick to north India (Delhi/UP/Punjab/Haryana/Rajasthan). Any posh restaurant would have such food. For more authentic dishes (if you want to be adventurous - sometimes it does not agree with people's stomachs) visit a roadside dhaba. Or if you can find a farm in Punjab through friends, nothing like breakfast there. Hot buttery aloo parathas with tall glasses of frothy lassi. Yum!

    For more variety, the only recommendation is - travel all over the place, and eat at smaller, local joints. Some must-do Indian cuisine tips - have bisi bele baath in Udupi, seafood in Goa, mutton dosa in Madurai, biryani in Hyderabad, and an Onam sadya in Kerala.
    Chahal likes this.
  5. eshwar

    eshwar New Member

    in india every where the food is awesome which makes ur day very special as an indian i like different types which will be differently prepared in different countries
    Chahal likes this.
  6. aparpurant

    aparpurant New Member

    There are three major styles of cooking in India: Tandoor, North Indian and South Indian. For each of these, there are several wonderful places that you could eat at. An area that is particularly great for classic South Indian vegetarian food is the coast of Karnataka, from Mangalore to Udupi. For South Indian meat, Kerala and Goa are your best bets: one, they source fish from the sea, and two, beef is widely available. For North Indian food, anywhere in the Ganga belt (Delhi-UP-Bengal) is great. For good Tandoori food, go to Rajasthan! Hope this helped.
    Chahal likes this.
  7. turtledove

    turtledove Member

    Actually, chicken tikka masala is not a purely Indian concept. It's based on an Indian dish, but it's actually a British twist on Indian food.

    Each region has its own speciality, I guess. Where I come from (Southern India), things like dosa and idly are absolutely heavenly. However, if you're going up north to places like punjab, you'd probably find some excellent chana or paneer dishes. It really depends on which state you're visiting. But, as a South Indian, I would definitely recommend going to a southern state like Tamil Nadu. I'm not saying that just because I'm from that area, but a lot of the food there is very affordable. There are stalls that have been set up by the state CM which offer very very cheap plates of food, and it tastes great as well.
  8. susieqanderson1

    susieqanderson1 New Member

    We plan to visit Mumbai. Are there any special restaurants we should hit while we are there? I LOVE, LOVE Indian food and cannot wait for that part of our trip.
  9. Chahal

    Chahal ਜੱਟ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਘੱਟ ਕੀ Staff Member

    I couldnt agree more on that. I love the meal system most of the resturants have in Tamil Nadu especially Chennai. I spent some time there back in 2008 and prices were Rs35 per person for veg meals and non veg I believe used to be around Rs50 per person and then eat as much as you can/want :) Food was pretty good at places I went to. I saw similar prices all along the route from Chennai through to Kumbhkonam where I stay two weeks to see all the temples in the area.

    Plenty of restaurants in Mumbai but you should not miss Nariman point where the street is full of food vendors.

    Be prepared for a upset stomach though. You will get new bacteria which is guaranteed to upset your stomach for a couple of days. I can eat from the most unhygienic places in India and have no problems what so ever as long as what I eat does not have anything deadly but as soon as I land in Thailand and have something off the street I upset my stomach for the rest of the holiday. It depends upon individual to individual.

    Most street foods are now available in the menus of decent restaurants in the city if you want to avoid eating from street vendors, not that there is anything wrong with them. Just personal choices people make depending upon what is acceptable to them and what is not.
  10. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    I'm not much for the cost because we are prepared to spend when on a vacation especially in a foreign country. We always plan at least one dinner in a fine dining restaurant. However, I also would want to try the street food - we have lots of that here although I'm sure the menu differs from what you have there. But I guess I wouldn't sample those delicacies sold by the food vendors because I have a delicate stomach. When we were in Bangkok in 2013, I was excited to see the street food vendors with their carts. But I just didn't have the guts to sample the scorpions, bugs, and other insects that are part of their eating culture.
  11. susieqanderson1

    susieqanderson1 New Member

    I also forgot to mention, we are NOT vegetarians. We love meat! Seriously, we are from Texas!!! :)

    I am looking for some meaty choices!

  12. Sramana

    Sramana Member

    Mumbai and Goa have great seafood choices. actually most of coastal India - I recommend Samanth Subramanian's 'Following Fish', a book that looks at the fishing trade and various seafood cuisines and traditions all along the vast Indian coast.

    Kerala is known for its seafood as well as beef varieties.

    If you like biryanis, Hyderabad is the way to go. Lamb is called mutton in India, so anything 'mutton' is lamb based.

    Oh and don't forget to try Rogan Josh!
  13. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    @Sramana, it didn't occur to me that India has seafoods. And you had mentioned biryani. Do you know that my favorite is lamb biryani? I don't know about that dish until someone in Hongkong treated us to an Indian restaurant (Ebeneezer is the name). The host recommended biryani. But as I had already sampled chicken biryani in Singapore, I said I will just have kebab. However, when I got to the details, kebab is a barbecue so I got back to biryani and ordered lamb biryani. It's really good and I would probably not miss it when I go to India.

    And what is Rogan Josh?
  14. Sramana

    Sramana Member

    That's great! You are sure to find great biryanis in India. You could get Hyderabadi biryani if you go there (Paradise biryani is a popular chain that is reputed). This is just one of many varieties you could sample. There is also the north-Indian Lucknowi biryani (from the city of Lucknow), the sweeter Kolkata biryani (from Kolkata) and the southern spicy versions like Ambur and Dindugal biryani. However, on your first visit to India, especially if you are flying through Mumbai, you could go to any restaurant and ask for biryani and you would get a decent sample!

    Rogan Josh is a Kashmiri lamb-based dish that is served during a Wazwan (wedding feast). It is mildly spiced (flavorful, not hot) and therefore suitable for western palates.
    DhongiBaba, Alexandoy and ChaiNashta like this.
  15. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    Wow, thanks very much for the information. It was like reading wikipedia, waheehee. I didn't know that there are a variety of biryani. But the most interesting to me now is that Rogan Josh which you said is only served for special occasions particularly wedding. And I like lamb. By the way, is Kolkata the Calcutta that we know? I am assuming this because what I learned in world geography was Bombay and now it is called Mumbai. With the Delhi that I am reading in this site, I am assuming it is New Delhi.
    Sramana likes this.
  16. DhongiBaba

    DhongiBaba Active Member

    Delhi is the state also called Delhi NCT and we have old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi is the old walled city from the Mougal period and New Delhi is the one Britishers built and that further expanded many folds after independence.

    Kolkata is the old Calcutta.
  17. bragadish

    bragadish Member

    India as a country is well renowned for its foods,the perfect desi versions.
    If you ask me "where",exactly,i can tell at least a thousand places for you to try.

    For instance in Chennai, you get Dosas (With more than 108 varieties,each making you crave for more) and Pongal, Vada, Rasam (a dish that is both sour and partially sweet).I reckon you already have started drooling right ?

    Move up from Chennai to Hyderabad and you can have the best of biriyani in this country.Each place has set itself a dish that it can be recounted and remembered for.

    Should you need a list hit me a message while I compile the foods you really need to taste.
    Chahal likes this.

    KAREN MARTIN New Member

    I love the foods in India they have a light but exquisite fulfilling hearty meal for you in your family and are light in fat, but yet hit all the right spots! The best foods in India to me is the buttery chicken where they let it marinate overnight in butter, herbs and spices to give it that mouth watery long lasting sensation the next day. I also love the way the India culture prepare their Lassi Yogurt Shakes where they blend sugar, spices and fruits to give you a light and refreshening drinks and they are really good for people on a diet or who just want to eat right and trying to stay healthy! One of my other favorite India party hitters are there different varieties of appetizers they prepare especially with the tortilla breads, rice, chicken, beans, vegetables and fruits to give you an overall exquisite and fulfilling presentation! I love the palak peneer vegetarian dish as well and it’s to die for with all different types of vegetables and herbs mixed in to give you a soup filling without having soup! I can go on and on about India foods and if you haven’t tried it you are missing out and try their tea and coffee full of herbs and spices to give you a rich and refreshing meditation moment!
  19. turtledove

    turtledove Member

    I agree, there's just so much to choose from in India when it comes to food. Since there are so many different cultures in one country, it's hard to go to any specific place where you'll manage to cover every cuisine of the country. The thing I love best about Indian food is how different it is compared to Western foods. For anybody who doesn't come from India (or around that area in Asia - Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc), tasting Indian cuisine really is a surprise, since it's such a huge contrast with foods those people have tried before.
    KAREN MARTIN likes this.
  20. Chrisanswer

    Chrisanswer New Member

    For me the best food in India is in the south. My preference is a more rustic feel to my food, and the south is nothing if not more rustic than the north. You can come across all kinds of strange and unusual dishes being prepared in India, and the smaller the city or town, the more exciting and exotic the cuisine - for me anyway. Food in the north is good and there are certainly a lot of restaurants to choose from, but I've can honestly say I've never eaten at a restaurant in India. For me India is the place you go for street cuisine, and the south is the place to go for that. You should make sure you don't get your money stolen while your in the street waiting for food. Same goes for London, England actually so this is not a slate on India.

    KAREN MARTIN New Member

    I totally agree with your statement, there food is most definitely an experimental tasting that everyone should try at least one time in their lifetime!
  22. btalivny

    btalivny Member

    One of the unique things about India is that the style of food can differ within the distance of 100 km. The food will be good regardless of where you go. Just note that South India is primarily vegetarian whereas the north part is both vegetarian and carnivorous.
  23. Untamed13

    Untamed13 New Member

    I don't think it's even possible to get unsavory food in India lol, at least that's what it felt like when I was travelling there. I was amazed by every new dish I tried in every new area I visited, the food was an adventure in itself and I never once got sick from it. I'm a big fan of spicy food and I particularly enjoyed the paneer based dishes I tried there :)
  24. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    To be frank I am a pure veg, but I can recommend you some places in Mumbai which offer excellent non-veg food in quality and price :

    New Martins (South Mumbai)- Famous for their oily pan fried beef steak. They also got a good variety of sea-food. But you need to be there well in advance to get a seat.
    Jaffer Bhai (North Mumbai) - Well-known for their kebabs and biryanis. They got outlets in South Mumbai too.

    If you are not so concerned on cost part, you can also try Global Fusion in Bandra for their sea food and sushi. They are somewhat expensive, but you can find unlimited food and drink varieties.
  25. comlink

    comlink New Member

    Food carts are always going to be the best, although some may have some mystery meats, so try to look around for some of the more reserved cart, restaurants are usually nice as well, try to look for something that is small and you should be fine.
  26. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    That's pretty incredible - I didn't realize there would be that much variation within such a relatively small distance, geographically speaking! It makes me more excited now to visit the country, because getting to experience different foods is one of the things I enjoy most about traveling. Sounds like I won't have any shortage of new things to try!
  27. bittersblue

    bittersblue New Member

    The best Indian food, I think, is street food. I know it can be risky (especially for people with not-as-adept stomachs). But I do think that street food is a big part of any culture and life of a country. You are not going to find anything more authentic and more catered towards locals. Street food tends to also be sinfully cheap and delicious. The downside is that it can be unsafe so tread with caution.