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There are same places in Pune which have that old-world magic about them. They are crowded and brimming with people, the ambiance will not always blow you away but once a service waiter places a cup of Irani Chai in front of you and you then realize this is what you’d come for. Also lest you forget that ‘Bava’ behind the counter who’ll give you such a scolding of your life if you ask for a recalculation of the bill, that you’ll regret the very moment of even approaching him. The shouting isn’t the only thing they do, as you wait for your table, know that you’ll have all the news of the world discussed and gossiped as he ponders over a newspaper and fills you in on his opinions. These are the gem of places that have stood the test of time and churn out from their kitchens delicious food consistently.

Cafe GoodLuck

We’re talking about the legendary Irani Cafes of Pune. These typical Parsi-style cafes have had people grow abound them. Memories been established over a cup of tea and love affairs started. They hold a lot of history within those walls, but the best thing about them. They never cease to amaze and consistently dish out of great food.

Café Good Luck: To be able to tell the worth of Café GoodLuck will be to tell the auto driver to take you to GoodLuck Chowk. It has a street named after it’s won location. That’s how proudly it’s been serving the denizens of Pune. One of my friends had once commented “You’ve never been to Pune unless you’ve had the Bun Maska and Irani Chai at GoodLuck”. Now that’s some serious quotation to be attaching to an eatery.

Bun Omlette

The prices are reasonable and you’ll find scores of people chit-chatting over some great Irani Chai. The best of menu has to be the Bun Maska. The bread is extremely soft and with a filling of both butter and cream you have attained food heaven. Don’t forget to leave a bit of your manners behind and dip in a piece of the bun maska in the chai as you enjoy with company.

Bun Maska Cafe GoodLuck

The Biryani can be quite good too. But the place works best during the breakfast and high tea timings even though open throughout the day. Desserts have to be a must have and the Bread Pudding and Fruit Funny (Funny names for a dish!!) are must haves.

Bread Pudding & Fruit Funny

Vohuman Café: Vohuman means “Good Mind”. This dingy Parsi place has stood the test of time and is located on the right between Jahangir Hospital and Courtyard Mariott. Life around Vohuman revolves around one fundamental thing and that’s the Egg. Egg Burji, Egg Boiled, Egg Omlette and lot more albumin preparations that will have you’re mouth running wet.

Vohuman Cafe

Vohuman serves the best Cheese Omlette in all of Pune. And when we say best, it literally means hands down best and no questions asked. The Double Cheese Omlette is an artery blocker and the Irani Chai, out of world. Ask for the toasted bread slices to be served alongside the Omlette and you’ll be served along with a dollop of butter that might leave in happiness before it all melts away and is soaked off by the bread.

Bun Maska Vohuman

The best part about the place apart from the food has to be the old man sitting at the desk. Ask a simple question of taking a parcel or not. He’ll give such a dismissive look that you’ll regret your entire moment for ever putting forward the question. We made the mistake of waiting around after the food on our tables had been completed. The waiting wasn’t for time-pass but that we actually couldn’t get up after such a satisfying and cheese heavy meal. And out comes a shout from behind the cashier “Uthav Unko, Table 5 ka hogayela hai” which had us jumping to our feet.

Double Cheese Omlette And Butter Toast

These ultimate legendary places are always welcoming. The best food in entire of Pune is reserved in these Irani Café joints, scattered all over Pune. It’s where people of all cultures, people of all sections of society are all equal. Influence doesn’t matter, everyone is treated the same and everyone is served on in ‘First Come, first serve’ basis.

 

 

 

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The city of the Nizams, the place that houses the elegant Charminar and the ‘Land of the Biryani’. The mammoth food options we get around in Hyderabad is well known. The best way to explore the Hyderabad Food in the city is to go local. Eat the dishes the locals eat, explore the hidden gems like never before and go street smart in terms of food.

We decided to put together a list of the most iconic dishes, for a one day city tour of Hyderabad. Right from the breakfast to ending with a late-night post-dinner, the list is quite extensive. If ever to cover Hyderabad in one day, these are the routes that you should take to go along on a spectacular food journey. We list out the 15 must do things in Hyderabad to be covered in a day.

1. The Butter Dosa And Tawa Idli Bandis: Yes thelas elsewhere are known as Bandis With an insane amount of Butter, Cheese and Paneer going into making each Dosa, know that you’ve started on a gastronomic journey. Ohh, and did we forget to mention that the filling too is Ghee Upma. Stop counting the calories and feel that smooth, crisp Dosa melt in your mouth, that extremely butter pan-fried idlis infuse happiness with each bite. Find your way to Govind, Laxman, Pragati & Ram ki Bandi for the best dosa’s & Tawa Idli’s. To see the first hand action in making the Butter Dosas and Tawa Idlis, watch the video.

Govind's

2. Paya, Nihari, Kheema: These breakfast dishes would be a sin if not indulged in the right way. Most of the iconic hotels like Shadab, Alpha start to serve breakfast options since early morning. A plate of Bheja Fry, Palak Gurda, Nihari and Paya can be quite fulfilling.

Breakfast At Shadab

3. Irani Chai With Osmania & Tie Biscuits: To soak in the beauty of the Charminar early dawn with a cup of Irani Chai, overlooking all its splendidness is a must-do on the list. Many Irani Chai shops are located all over the city, but best had at the historic Nimrah Café right opposite the Charminar. Best enjoyed with Osmania and Tie Biscuits, dipped in and slurped.

Irani Chai at Nimrah

4. Andhra Thali: An afternoon can’t be the same without tasting the specialty Thali. Spicy, Tangy and Sweetness, all on one plate. The rest is up to you, if you wanting to slurp the rasam away to glory. The most authentic ones being the local messes like Kakatiya, Sri Kanya or Harsha Mess.

Andhra Thali

5. Hyderabadi Biryani: No day in Hyderabad is complete without Biryani. The quintessential Hyderabadi dish has had many a conversations and love affairs happen over a plate of Biryani. Bawarchi, Shadab, Café Bahar, Mohini, Sohail are to name a few the best places to entertain the taste buds to some authentic Biryani.

Hyderabadi Biriyani

6. Dum ka Chai: With the sun almost setting, little is known about the Dum ka Chai than its famous counterpart Irani Chai. The Black Tea is put under heavy heat – dum before mixing with milk and being served. Head over to Café Iqbal in Goshamahal for a cup of Dum ka Chai.

Dum ka Chai

7. Pathar ka Gosht: its hard thinking that meat can be made over a hot stone like the ancient times. But this city sticks to the tradition of Mutton prepared over a slab of hot stone and the outcome is pure juicy sin. Head over to Dine Hill and Bade Miyan in Tankbund for savoring this dish.

Pattar ka Gosht

8. Munshi Naan with Marag: A walk around Purani Haveli and you’ll a line of shops making Munshi Naan, made right in an underground hearth. Best had with a gravy like Marag or fresh kebabs, this Naan can be found in mostly 4 different shapes with the Char Koni being the most famous of them. A masterpiece which hasn’t left the borders outside of the Old City. For more about Munshi Naan you can watch the video

Munshi Naan

 

9. Bagara Rice with Dalcha and Khatti Dal: a part of almost every Hyderabadi household, these dishes are extremely hard to come by in hotels and restaurants. Nonetheless some of the oldest eateries still do have it on the menu like the Café Iqbal, Shadab, Sohail etc.

Bagara Khaana

10. Qubani Ka Meetha and Kaddu Ka Kheer: No meal is complete without Desserts. Hyderabad doesn’t lack behind when it comes to dessert discoveries. The Qubani ka Meetha (Apricot soaked in Sugar Syrup and Nuts) and Kaddu ka Kheer (Bottle-Gourd Kheer) are some of the must haves.

Qubani ka Meetha

11. Double ka Meetha: To think the important status that this sweet enjoys after a meal is mind-boggling. A bread based sweet, a counterpart to the Shahi Tukda, it’s impossible to miss if going the traditional Hyderabadi way.

Double ka Meetha

12. Badam ki Jali: Lost in history and not quite well-known, the Badam ki Jalli is near impossible to find. Even the most local people will be unable to guide as to where this is found. In a quaint little neighborhood of Aziz Bagh, the Badam ki Jalli is made by a few families only on special order. Pic Courtesy: Badam ki Jali FB Page

Badam ki Jalli

13. Jauzi ka Halwa: Right on the main junction of Nampally, you’ll find a small shop outlet in the name of Hameedi. Made with Jauzi (Nutmeg) and heavily laden with Ghee, the last Nizam had loved it so much that he sent a letter to name the shop after the nickname of one of his sons.

Special Jauzi ka Halwa

14. Famous And Bilal Ice Creams: Seasonal Fruits and along with it comes the seasonal Ice Creams. The oldest of the city’s dairies produce them freshly made from natural fruits and do make it a point to ask, what’s new on the menu miyan?

Bilal Ice Cream

15. Mandi At Barkas: Barkas is an area completely cut-off from the main city. Known for it’s Persian and Yemenis population, they’ve combined both the food cultures together. A late night long drive and then settle over a huge plate of Laham or Faham Mandi at Mataam-Al-Arabi, Yum Yum Tree and the likes and you’ll be licking your fingers dry. Post 12 AM is the best time to head out to these place, once the late night hunger kicks in.

Mandi At Barkas

The lineup covers the most iconic of dishes as seen through a local point of view. Hyderabad as a city has a lot more to offer when explored. But a walk down the lanes brimming with kebabs and Biryani and you sure are going to be beginning a journey, with lots of memories and more food journey to come back.

If ever in the city during the holy month of Ramzan, when the entire city of Hyderabad is all decked up with festivities and a lot more, having to taste the Haleem should figure high on the list. The Iranians might have invented it, but Hyderabad is where it’s soul lies. Some of the city’s outlets too serve Haleem throughout the year, but most of the city folks swear by having it only during this month.

Haleem At Cafe 555

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For a city where every resident, from all walks of life thrive on one dish and can have it for all breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is difficult to argue as to where do you get the best Dahibara Aloodum. Every resident has his/her own personal favorite. It might be the one in his street, the street where his/her crush lives, right outside the school/college they’re studying at or maybe 15 kms away so that he can make the ride simply to enjoy a dish of awesomeness.

Dahibara

Cuttack is one hell of a labyrinth for the people who aren’t accustomed to it’s lanes. If you are a newbie around and have pushed your car into one of those narrow lanes, chances are you would have already caused a roadblock with every one trying to cut through or giving you the hand signal to help you drive through the narrow roads. But the bonding of every Cuttackian has happened over a plate of Dahibara Aloodum. The love for it encompasses any other food item they would have ever had and they might just be born with the gene to already love it by default.

Spicy Aloodum

So what is it about this simple dish that has a 1000-year old city crazy about it and licking their fingers? The bara’s are soaked and left in Dahi so that all the marinating seeps into the bara’s making it a lot softer and flavorful. And add to it the Aloo Dum and Guguni piping hot with the garnishing of sev, pudina and coriander and you have got one hell of a dish licking your fingers.

Kanika Chaaka Dahibara

The numerous Dahibarawalas can be found in plenty of spots in the 52 streets, 53 lanes city. Driving to houses in cycles, setting up stalls under trees and parking their lot outside of popular places, it’d be hard not finding one every 100 metres away.

The most famous ones:

  1. Raghu Dahibara – In Bidanasi, this guy has been around for so long that people even travel from other cities all the way to have his yet. He doesn’t believe in the concept of spoons, so better be licking the spiciness off your fingers and then asking for a sweet peda to douse that spiciness off your tongue
  2. Kanika Chaaka Petrol Pump: Has since shifted base to a shop adjacent instead of opposite and you can follow the crowd to his stall
  3. Deula Sahi: One of the few places where the mitha Dahibara is as good as the savory one. Personal favorite and swear by the guguni
  4. Ishuwar and Other ones outside Barabati Stadium: Used to be good and still attract the crowds though have lost some of the sheen in my opinion

The Various Stalls Outside Barabati Stadium

So after having some of the lip-smacking Dahibara Aloodum in the city, don’t forget to ask to fill up on some of the dahi to drink up, that’s your mocktail alongside and a handful of sev to go about then after.

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The first thing which comes to mind when mentioning Vietnamese cuisine is Phở. It is one simple dish which has an entire country’s food resting on its slender shoulders. When doing a trip through the landscape of Vietnam, from the North to the South, we had the opportunity to relish the history behind this simple dish and about the nation which is so crazy about it.

The First Impressions and Origins:-

The streets of Hanoi are lined from one end to the other with vendors selling Phở. The morning breakfast is incomplete without it and if you aren’t the early riser, you may as well miss the early bowl of fresh Phở. So whether pronouncing it fuh, fur, fuuhh, this is one dish which is going to leave you with a lasting impression on your Vietnam trip. And I sure had to practice and get my pronunciations right so as not to be be stopped on the street and be corrected by a local.

Hanoi Street Food

The origins of this humble dish are quite interesting. Some say that the French Officer’s lover was asked to prepare a pot-au-feu, the classic French beef stew and she couldn’t get her flavors right and use the local spices and ‘feu’ and behold the Vietnamese Dish was born.

Contrary to what I thought, Phở actually refers to the noodles and not the soup. The Northern Vietnam version i.e. Hanoi from where the dish originated usually uses the flat rice noodles and lot less ingredients than their counterparts in the South. The other necessary terms to know are the (beef) and (Chicken) so you know correctly if to order the phở bò (beef) or phở gà (chicken).

Pho Ga 1

Ingredients and Variations:-

When cruising through the streets of Hanoi, a lot of people drive their bikes right into the shops, ordering themselves a bowl and slurping it right on their bikes as they go about their day. The best way to judge Phở is by its broth. The broth should be clear and should pack a lot of flavor with the Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cloves, Cardamom and fennel, charred onions and ginger being the most essential spices. The rice noodles follow in the broth after that.

Next comes the meat. Usually in phở gà an entire chicken in used but for the phở bò the broth is usually done by simmering either the bones, oxtail or flank with the meat in the Phở when served, very minimal. When served Phở, you get a lot of herbs for garnishes on the side, but an insider secret don’t immediately go for the garnishes and actually sip the broth before messing with the dish. The herbs were usually some very interesting ones which we had not had before like the sawgrass, a quite prickly, subtly bitter and tangy at the same time. The others were the Cilantro, Culantro, Scallions, Basil, and Thai Chilies for that adding of extra spiciness and Bean Sprouts to round off that crunchiness to the Phở with a wedge of lime to provide the tangy taste. The other sauces to round off a bowl of Phở is with Hoisin, Sriracha or Vinegar which shall be provided.

Pho Ca (Fish Pho)

Is there a way to eat Phở?

There is no better way to eating Phở than being messy and it was a great learning experience. Armed with the chopsticks in one hand and soup spoon in the other, the best way is to sip the broth first as you work your way with the noodles with the chopsticks. I was told it’s actually polite to slurp as deliciously as you like with your mouth close to the bowl, so that all the aroma hits you right through.

Important Pointers:

  1. The first lesson from a local was to control the urge to splatter my Phở with the sauces and keep it a minimal and then dash it the flavors accordingly to the taste. Phở is best when sticking to its minimalistic flavors.
  2. The next best thing was I could actually slurp and lick the end of the bowl without anyone so much as giving me the stares. In fact it is considered polite to do that and compliments the chef.
  3. A Phở is nothing without its broth, its entire life and soul. So the best is to give the Phở its necessary due before messing with its basic flavors.

Fresh Pho

A dish so simple and a dish packing in it so much exquisiteness in flavor, it definitely holds true to have been redefining Vietnamese Cuisine. Unless you’ve done your research, probably the first dish out of your mouth when mentioning Vietnam would be Phở and yes it is so much worth when had first-hand. Phở has gone global and so has its humble origins. There are a lot more restaurants serving this spectacular dish with Phở 24, being most notable among them, but the best Phở is served by the family run establishments along the streets of Hanoi.

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