Lucknawi cuisine is incomplete without some lip smacking chaat. Along pavements, you'll be allured by snack monsters: dahi-vada, papdi, ghugni, aloo dum, bhujia, onion, chutneys and the mouth-watering pani-batasha (in five different flavours). Only Indore beats it by serving pani-batasha in eight flavours. These chaats will set a bomb exploding in your mouth.
As the name suggests, the chicken here is cooked in an earthen pot (over coal in a one-meter-deep hole). The original Kalika Hut is in Azamgarh, but Lucknow's Badshah Nagar and Gomti Nagar serve the same taste, with a lovely aroma. Its combination with Lucknow's best shreemals is just mind-blowing.
Located in Aminabad, close to Tundey Kebab, Prakash ki Kulfi is among the best places to have dessert. Kulfi falooda is its main attraction, which will make you forget all your prevrious falooda experiences, and it's also worth trying their creamy fruit kulfi.
Thandai (also with Bhang)
A must visit place in the Chowk area, Pandit Raja is Lucknow's oldest thandai shop. You can have both normal and masala (with bhang) thandai here, topped with saffron, kaju, almond (badam), pistachio (pista), cardamom (elaichi) and some secret masala powers. Bhang is mixed in at no extra cost, but the dose given depends on whether you've tried it earlier.
Surprised! Try Nakhas market at night. During eid, Gulabi Chai is served here with hot imarti (similar to jalebi) or andarsey. Flavoured with saffron, elaichi and kewra, its taste is nothing like the ‘typical chai’ you've had all your life.
For Lucknowi Mutton Biryani, marinate mutton with the same ingredients as above. The rice used in Lucknowi Biryani has to be prepared separately. Rice has to be soaked beforehand and added to boiled water using a large vessel. Other ingredients used in rice are cinnamon, milk and ghee. For the final preparation heat oil and ghee in a vessel, fry both the masalas till they leave oil, add the marinated chicken or mutton.
Available only in early mornings till 9 am in the Chowk area, the light, yummy makhan malai makes winter mornings delicious and much-awaited. I am sure you just can’t eat one, repeat sessions are a ritual.
For Lucknowites Ghewar is what Rosgullas are to Kolkatans. Neelkanth confectionary is handsdown the best place to have it and is also good for rasmalai; Chappan Bhog is also a good option. They are also possibly the favourite places of the sweet-toothed, in Lucknow.
This heavenly offering had to be first on the list and the best place to have it is the obvious–the 100-year-old Tunday Kababi, tucked away in a corner of the bustling Aminabad area. Started by the late Haji Murad Ali, the shop was named Tundey (meaning one arm) because Ali sahib prepared Kababi only with one hand.
In the Chowk area, Sai Lassi corner serves a great variety and what makes this place special is the thick cream layer, top with dry fruits. Do try their chole bhature–the flavour despite the restraint in spices in the black chole will make you go ‘wow’.