If you have ever visited the City of Nawabs, you ought to believe that its food is one of a kind. From the mouth-melting Tunday Kebabs to the world-famous Mughlai biryani, this city is filled with soul-satisfying food lanes. As a matter of fact, food is much more than food in Lucknow. It is an expression of love and an acknowledgment of its culture and heritage.
The rich Mughlai food and the famous chaats contribute to the cultural variation of food in India. Therefore, each Lucknowite takes pride in their city’s food, claiming that it is beyond comparison. All in all, it is true since the most popular food joints of Lucknow thrive on the ancestral magic of Awadhi Cuisine. Therefore, they follow the same methods of preparation that have been followed for thousands of years.
Awadhi cuisine, the original cuisine of Lucknow has signature creamy,spicy, and aromatic dishes which were once served to the Nawabs. These dishes maintained their relevance from the Mughal era to the present date. As a token of its culture, you will find Indian food stalls selling kebabs, Roomali Rotis, and different types of biryanis in every nook and corner of Lucknow.
The secret behind the love oozing out of these dishes is their ingredients. As a matter of fact, the Nawabs loved to have saffron, raisins, cashews, and dollops of cream on their platter. Adding to it, these dishes are spiced up using cinnamon, chillies, garlic, and cardamom.
In fact, not just the Mughlai food, but even vegetarian options like chaat and Kachoris form an important part of the food culture. The typical chaat in Hazratganj will astonish you with a burst of flavours in your mouth. All in all, here is the list of where and what to eat, if you ever happen to visit this food paradise.
1. Oudhyana, Taj Mahal
For the tourists willing to experience the lifestyle of the Nawabs, this place is a must-go. Oudhyana is a part of the Taj Mahal situated in Gomti Nagar. It serves authentic Awadhi food. Analogous to this, it might be expensive for some, but the Galawati kebabs and butter chicken korma are a must-try. The taste of the food here surpasses its cost. Therefore, if you have to plan a dinner in Lucknow, call for reservations at Oudhyana.
The Nawabi-style architecture and majestic views with chandeliers will mesmerise you. This place offers a full experience of Lucknowi culture and ways of living. To clarify, if you decide to stay at the Taj for your trip, you might just experience the Nawabs’ way of life. In addition, the team of chefs is highly trained and professional. As a matter of fact, the Taj Mahal is the oldest and the best 5-star hotel in the city. If you do not mind the extra expense, you should definitely visit this place.
2. Sharma Ji Ki Chai, Lalbagh
One of the oldest tea stalls in Lucknow, this place is quite popular amongst the youngsters of the city.
Visiting this stall to have their Bun Makhan (churned white butter) and Chai is a daily morning ritual for many Lucknowites. In addition, their Bun Samosa and Gol Samosa will bring you instant joy. On the other hand, it is quite pocket friendly too. This is the most famous breakfast joint in Lucknow.
As a result, you will be surprised to see how crowded it is every morning. The service is fast and there is even in-car service. The chai is served in Kulhads or mud cups, which adds to its aroma. Most youngsters flaunt their visit to the stall with a dashboard snap of chai and bun makhan. As a matter of fact, this practice seems to be a trend amongst the young boys in Lucknow.
3. Tunday Kababi, Aminabad
The world associates the food of Lucknow with its Tunday Kebabs. The main restaurant of this joint is located in Aminabad. With narrow lanes and bursting traffic, this locality is very old.
The pocket-friendly kebabs, which’s recipe seems to be a secret passed on for centuries, are an olfactory and gustatory delight. The Tunday Mutton Kebab Paratha and Mutton Biryani are the ultimate favourites of non-vegetarians not just in Lucknow but around the world.
The best part is that these kebabs are good for about 7 days. Therefore, you can carry some for your friends in other cities or even for yourself. You just need to microwave them the next day. This is the most popular joint in Lucknow.
All in all, if you fail to go to Aminabad, there are branches of the joint all around the city. For instance, some of them are in Chowk, Alambagh, Telibagh and Rahim Nagar. As a matter of fact, tourists from around the world come especially for the Tunday Kebabs of the city.
4. Moti Mahal, Hazratganj
How can you come to Lucknow and not visit Moti Mahal? This chain has about 100 years of history and is popular for the signature Basket Chaat. Apart from the chaat, there are a variety of sweets which melt in the mouth.
It is also famous for its Tikki and Pani ke Batashe (water balls) which would be a perfect way to experience the exotic flavours of the city. On the other hand, the restaurant also offers fine dining options.
If you are looking for a penny-wise restaurant for lunch or dinner, Moti Mahal might be a good choice. It is situated in the heart of the city, Hazratganj with hundreds of shops and showrooms around. As a matter of fact, you can relish the tastes of delicacies here and also shop for Chikan clothes nearby. It is best to visit this place on weekdays since weekends are quite busy here.
5. Tanatan, Hazratganj
There is a common notion that kebab paratha is just a non-vegetarian dish. As a matter of fact, the city of Nawabs has a range of restaurants which cater to all sorts of diets. Located in central Lucknow, Tanatan has the ambience, food and interiors which depict the traditional Awadhi culture. The Kumbh Ki Galawat kebabs are a vegetarian alternative to the mutton kebabs.
These taste as delicious as their non-vegetarian counterpart. If you ever happen to visit this place, do not miss their Anar ka Pyaar mocktail. It is a fusion drink which mixes pomegranate juice with fresh mint and cranberry.
You will love to enjoy the modern version of Lucknawi food. This joint contributes to the food’s adaptability to changing times. Besides the delectable food, this place also has live performances which creates an extremely lively environment. As a matter of fact, this might be the best place to spend a joyous evening while enjoying North Indian cuisine.
6. Bajpai Kachori Bhandar,Hazratganj
This kachori shop is small and busy but one of the most loved fast food joints in Lucknow. On the other hand, the Aloo ki Sabji (potato fry) served along with the tasty kachori is spicy on an extreme level. Analogous to this fact, you will be surprised that despite the spice, you would want to have more of it. This joint is four decades old. It was set up in the 70s by Bal Krishna Bajpai, an Atta Chakki owner. Interesting is the fact that it is exactly the same as it was 40 years ago.
Most office goers, students and shoppers tend to stop by to enjoy kachoris from this busy takeaway shop. As a matter of fact, it is a small fast food shop which does not offer any seating options. You can buy your kachoris and enjoy them in the car. Due to massive demand, it is mostly crowded during the afternoons and mornings. Therefore, you should plan your visit accordingly.
To sum up, apart from its fame for manners and hospitality, Lucknow has played an important role in promoting the age-old food heritage of India. It is rich in the varieties and flavours of exotic, aromatic dishes which connect the soul to the tongue. The versatility of the food options widens the community of food lovers in the city. Therefore, if you wish to explore the true essence of food which has been passed down for generations, you should visit this city.
As you witness the passion of its people regarding its authentic food, you are sure to fall in love with it. The hospitality of the city allows people with different food preferences to find their choice in some place or the other. As a matter of fact, this city is a food paradise for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The magic of its dishes lies in the affection, love and connection of the food with its own people; a commemoration of the rich Nawabi culture.
It has a culture, which does hold itself from feeding guests with as much love and luxury as possible. All in all, if food is more than a basic necessity for you, this city is a must-visit.
Have you ever tried Awadhi cuisine? Which dishes will you try when you go to Lucknow? Let us know in your comments down below!
Author Bio: Deeksha Tripathi
Deeksha Tripathi is a Literature graduate and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration. Besides being a passionate writer, she is a fashion enthusiast. She enjoys trying different types of Indian curries or eating vegan salmon.