Culinary diversity is one of India’s greatest treasures. Each region has its distinctive culinary characteristics and many traditional dishes. Celebrating World Food Day, TV artists list their favorite street foods in their hometowns.
The culinary culture of Maharashtra is very diverse. Despite its diversity, Maharashtra cuisine has a strong presence of spices, tamarind, coconut and kokum. Don’t forget to indulge in the various delectable delicacies of the state. Vada Pav, my favorite Mumbai delicacy, is the most tantalizing. Shallow fried vadas with extra green spicy chutney inside is a divine combination with an unusual flavor. Misal Pav is another popular pavé preparation that I enjoy. The spicy and tangy lentil curry with pav (bread) is delicious. In Maharashtra you will find different types of Misal Pav according to their origin like Nashik Misal, Mumbai Misal and Puneri Misal and believe me I have tried them all. However, my all time favorite is the house specialties like Varan-Bhat with toop (Ghee) and lemon, Puran Poli, ukhadhche modak and chicken rassa, mutton rassa with bhakri and fried fish.
The cuisine of Madhya Pradesh is very varied. People start their days with tasty poha and jalebi, available in every city. The Khatta Samosa, Moong Bhajiya and Indori Namkeen are delicious. The Sarafa market food court is exceptional. The lightly spiced Churmura should not be missed on your next visit to the city. Sweets are my weakness, and whenever I visit my hometown, I can’t help but gorge myself on amazing gulab jamuns and Kulfi Faluda.
Delhi is a melting pot of diverse cultures which enrich the variety of the city’s gastronomic offer. The city has some of the best types of cuisines and iconic eating places. Delhi is famous for its Parathas, Chaat, Butter Chicken, Kebabs, Chole Bhature, Biryani, Rolls, Nihari, Momos and a wide variety of traditional sweets. I am a big foodie and eat whatever I want whenever I am in Delhi. For starters, the Chicken Haleem Biryani with Caramelized Onions and Green Chilies is something I never miss. Also, the halwa paratha at Nizamuddin Lane in Delhi is my all time favorite. It combines a sweet and savory halwa paratha topped with candied fruit (tutti frutti). But your city tour will be incomplete if you don’t try chole kulcha, aloo tiki chaat, gol gape and the variety of parathas they serve. The list is endless. There are so many places it’s hard to list them all. I miss Delhi’s food and make it a point to indulge in an ambrosial meal whenever I visit the city.
We Gujaratis always welcome people with open arms and a tray of food. Gujarat offers a wide range of authentic and delicious foods that will satisfy your taste buds. There is the famous Kutchi Dabeli, my favorite because of its filling inside. The pav is stuffed with potatoes, fried masala peanuts and pomegranate seeds, then topped with sev and served with chutney. There is also seva khaman, which my mother and father prepare. This is a dish in which Dhoklas are mashed and seasoned with cat masala and sev, which I occasionally bring to Doosri Maa sets. Besides thepla, my favorites are khakhra, chura and khandvi. However, I recommend people to try Gujarati Thali whenever they visit the state as it has amazing delicacies like Undhiyu, Rotlo, Kadi Khichdi, Aam Ras and Ghugra along with a variety of farsan and chuteny that don’t are available only in Gujarat.
Blending the best of Punjabi and Haryana cuisine, Chandigarh has a thriving culinary scene and is famous across the country. Khalsa Dhaba is one of the most popular dhabas in Chandigarh and offers delicious stuffed paranthas, Dal Makhani, Paneer butter masala, chana masala and matka kulfi. It’s a heavenly treat for all foodies like me. Then there’s mashed saag and crispy roti in a perfect mix. It is a must. Every bite and the extra butter on your plate defines Punjabi Pride and elevates the dish to new heights (laughs).
Uttar Pradesh offers a wide range of chaat options when visiting the city. This is the Batti Chokha dish, which is popular all over the world. It is a traditional dish that consists of a round wheat baati and a chokha made of mashed potatoes, brinjal and tomatoes served with chaat masala, green chutney and desi ghee. The battis are baked in earthen ovens, which gives them a distinct aroma and flavor. This is my all time favorite along with Baati Chokha, Aloo Poori, Khasta kachori and Banarasi tamatar chaat. I’m from Varanasi, and the city has a deliciously rich culinary tradition – from steaming kachoris and jalebis to refreshing lassi and Thai. A dish you only get in Varanasi is Maliyoo topped with saffron and pistachios at Godowlia Market, and it’s a must try! The city has one of the most fantastic places to eat, and I make it a point to visit these places with my friends and family whenever I am here.
The Pink City is also known for its mouth-watering cuisine, and people are often puzzled by such a varied menu of dishes. Savoring the dishes in Jaipur is more than just a culinary experience; it is also cultural. Pyaaz kachori by Rawat Mishtan Bhandar is my favorite. You will always be tempted to ask for more after tasting this delicious dish. Also, don’t miss the street food in Jaipur’s famous Jawahar Circle or Birla Mandir; the various chaats, such as sev Poori, Bhel Poori and Dahi puri are the heart of Jaipur. I want to say “Khao Jee Bhar ke” on this World Food Day.
Whenever I visit Patna, I make sure to have Litti Chokha, which is slowly cooked over firewood, giving it an exceptional smoky taste. Dal Pitha is another dish that I cherish when I am in my hometown, Bihar. It looks like a dumpling but is made from rice flour with spicy lentils as a filling. Chana Ghughni, Dal Peetha, Khajuria, Kadhi Badi and Sattu Sharbat are also there. Balushahi, Khurma and Laktho, Pantua or Kala Jamun, Tilkut, Laai, Gur Anarsa, Parwal ki Mithai for lovers of traditional sweets, Naivedyam, Chandrakala/Pedakiya to a special type of Kheer named Rasia, Laung-Latika, Khaja and Malpua. We can’t stop at one! Although I avoid sweet dishes, Kheer Makhana is something I would love to have, and Rabdi with dried fruits is also a heavenly combination. Lastly, I enjoy my mother’s Khajuri, Thekua which is very famous in Bihar. Happy World Food Day.