As far as food is concerned, Hyderabad is synonymous with Biryani. But the food culture in Hyderabad is so much more than the signature Hyderabadi Biryani and GI-status Haleem. The cooking styles of the native Telugu, Marathwada, Mughal, Turkish, and Arabic regions blend to create a royal cuisine that is uniquely Hyderabadi. This UNESCO heralded “Creative City of Gastronomy” is a paradise for food lovers. The next time you fly to Hyderabad, do not leave the city without indulging in the appetizing food “the City of Nizams” is known for. In addition to Biryani, these are the five must-eat dishes in Hyderabad!
Mirchi ka Salan:
Spice up your day with this spicy hot chili curry! This traditional Hyderabadi dish of long and fat green chili pepper is a common companion of the Hyderabadi Biryani. That said, it also goes well with Bagara/plain rice and Chapati too. The secret of this well-balanced dish is the rich and creamy paste of roasted peanuts, coconut, and sesame seeds. Have a tissue handy if you cannot handle too much spice, but the luscious flavor of Mirchi ka Salan must not be missed!
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Indians never get bored of Dal-Chawal! Dal is the most common and complimentary part of an Indian meal and has sundry regional and local versions. When it comes to the Dal variety of the Hyderabadi cuisine, Khatti Dal made with Toor Dal (split pigeon peas) or Masoor Dal (Red Lentil) is most popular for its predominantly piquant taste. What heightens the flavor of this must-eat dish in Hyderabad is the South Indian style popu/tadka (tempering) of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, finely chopped ginger, dry red chilies, asafoetida, curry leaves.
The gastronomic expedition in Hyderabad is incomplete without tasting Dosa, the Indian pancake. The wide varieties of Dosas available in the food outlets of Hyderabad are a true delight for Dosa lovers! From the traditional Plain Dosa, Onion Dosa, Masala Dosa, Ravva Dosa to the less common Chocolate Dosa, Schezwan Dosa, Maggi Dosa, Pizza Dosa, Mexican Delight Dosa – there are so many varieties that appeal to every distinct palate! The melt-in-mouth Butter Dosa of Govind Ki Bandi and Paper Dosa of Minerva Coffee House are must-eat dishes in Hyderabad!
If you are obsessed with Nawabi flavors of Hyderabadi cuisine, don’t miss out on Paaya Naan. Paaya is an Urdu word for ‘trotters,’ and Naan is a Persian word meaning ‘bread.’ This succulent broth of lamb trotters is cooked slowly on a low flame so that the intense aromas of the whole Indian spices get infused into marinated Paaya. This rich and healthy Paaya is best enjoyed with Naan (a traditional bread). Go to Maqdoom ke Paya near Mangalhat Police Station before sunrise (from 3 am and 5 am) to relish the authentic taste of this must-eat dish in Hyderabad! Purani Haveli in the Old City, Shadab Hotel, and Nayab Hotel in Charminar are also famous for serving the best Paaya-Naan.
Irani chai and Osmania biscuits:
Irani chai paired with Osmania biscuits defines the café culture in Hyderabad. This is an all-time favorite of the Hyderabadis and anyone who samples them, for that matter. The sweet and milky Irani chai introduced by the Persian immigrants soon became a part of the life of locals. A cup of Irani chai along with the soft and buttery Osmania biscuits is all you need to feel instantly refreshed and continue your enthusiastic exploration of Hyderabad. Step inside the Nimrah café or Niloufer café & bakery for your tea break and enjoy the matchless taste of Irani chai and Osmania biscuits!