The city of Pearls or the City of Nizams, whatever may Hyderabad be called but the city never fails to amaze its own people or any visitor. Anyone who visits Hyderabad once always leaves a part of him/her here and takes with them the feeling of a Hyderabadi.
Hyderabad can be reached by flights or trains from any city across the country.
A city where there is a blend of tradition, swag and can make any person fall in love with it.
Whether it’s the buzzing markets of the old city or the pub crawl in the new city, Hyderabad has something to offer for everyone and in food, it’s indeed a paradise. If one travels to Hyderabad one must try the Hyderabadi cuisine which is a mix of Persian and Indian flavors.
So here is my list of food that one must try when in Hyderabad.
1. Irani Chai with Osmania Biscuits
Today as CCD and Starbucks are growing across the city. Irani Chai has successfully kept its hold as one of the most preferred beverage of tea lovers of the city. Even today thousands of Hyderabadi’s begin their day with a sip of this delicious tea.
The difference in this tea and the rest is that both the milk and the tea are boiled separately to a thick consistency and mixed together only at the time of serving giving it a distinct aroma and flavor that has a reputation of its own.
Complementing this chai are the smooth and crunchy Osmania biscuits that make the perfect combination for an evening snack.
Places you need to try Irani Chai are Nimrah Café, Blue Sea Hotel and any Cafe near Charminar.
2. Hyderabadi Haleem
A visit to Hyderabad during the holy month of Ramadan and not trying Hyderabadi Haleem is a crime in itself. This delicacy is a must in any Muslim household in Iftar. Originated in the Middle East, Hyderabadi Haleem has become an identity of the country being the first meat product to receive a GI certification.
Prepared in duration of 10-12 hours, the ingredients include meat (goat or chicken), rice, wheat, lentils, dry fruits and spices and cooked to a thick consistency paste served with a garnish of ghee based gravy, caramelized onion, chopped coriander and a slice of lemon gives it a flavor completely different from any other non-vegetarian dishes.
During Ramadan Haleem is available at every nook and corner of the city but trying Pista House, Sarvi and Paradise’s Haleem is a must.
3. Karachi Bakery Biscuits
If Osmania biscuits are a must with Irani Chai, then Karachi Bakery Fruit Biscuits can be eaten and enjoyed at any time. The sweet and crunchy biscuits need to be accompanist with anything else; these biscuits have created a name of itself with the locals as well as the tourists.
The best things about these biscuits are the fruit pieces so generously used by the baker, which gives these biscuits its unique taste and flavor. Even the cashew biscuits and plum cake are the most sought out products. Any visit to Hyderabad is incomplete without taking these biscuits home.
Karachi Bakery and its products are found nearly everywhere but a pit stop at the first opened branch at Mozzam Jahi Market at Hyderabad is a must.
4. Hyderabadi Biryani
You come to Hyderabad and don’t try the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani then it’s definitely an unredeemable crime. Hyderabadi Biryani has placed the city on the world map attracting chefs from across the globe to taste and learn the recipe of this exquisite delicacy. Though brought to India by the Persians, today India has made the Biryani it’s own.
Though available throughout the country in different forms the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani has made a reputation of itself. The fragrant Basmati mixed with aromatic and tangy spices and choice of meat slow cooked in an earthen or copper pot with steam giving the dish a flavor and an aroma that makes the dish a crowd puller indeed.
Hyderabadi Dum Biryani with Raita and Salad makes the perfect dinner. Although Hyderabadi Dum Biryani is available at every nook and corner one must try the Biryani at Mehfil Attapur, Paradise Secunderabad, Shah Ghouse and Shadab restaurant in the old city.
Another seasonal food from the streets of Hyderabad Paya – a soup made from the legs and head of a goat is a favorite among the Hyderabadis during the cold winters. Slow cooked on low heat for hours with Sautéed onion and garlic along with the rest of the spices gives the Paya soup.
It’s taste and essence that makes it perfect for winter along with Naan. The best places to try Paya are Have More Restaurant in SD road Secunderabad, Hotel Shadab and Shah Ghouse in Old City.
6. Midnight/Early Morning Dosa
Every city has its own nightlife so does Hyderabad but when in most metros it’s Pubs and Discos, in Hyderabad it’s the midnight/Early morning Food that makes it special. While Hyderabad is popular for various types of non-vegetarian food, the Dosa has made a special name of itself.
While there are shops like AM PM in Tollichowki which open in the evening and continue till early morning serving different variants of Dosa but the ones which open after 2 am and continue serving the people till 7 am are the special ones.
Ram Ki Bandi in Mozzam Jahi Market with its different varieties of Dosa or Mehdipatnam 3’o clock Dosa has made a special place in the culinary culture of Hyderabad. The smell of Dosa batter on the pan and the melting Ghee or Butter would definitely give anyone a pang of hunger.
7. Hyderabadi Dessert
Double ka Meetha
As any meal is not complete without dessert so is a visit to Hyderabad without trying the authentic Hyderabadi Dessert Double Ka Meetha. A Bread Pudding made with condensed milk, fried bread pieces, spices including saffron and Cardamom and dry fruits is served in all Hyderabadi weddings and parties.
This sweet is specially prepared during the month of Ramadan and in Eid. Softness of the bread along with the hint of spice gives an essence of both sweet and savory that is hard to find in most Indian desserts. Double ka Meetha can be easily found in any restaurant in Hyderabad and is a must try for all.
Qubani Ka Meetha
An authentic dessert from Hyderabad giving that has made a name of itself in the Indian dessert arena. Typically made from dried apricots, boiled in sugar syrup till a soupy consistency and topped with blanched almonds or apricot kernels and served with Malai or Ice Cream make it the perfect ending to a meal.
The sweetness of the syrup along with a hint of the spices and the tanginess of the apricots gives a flavor that lingers in the mouth for a while after eating. One of the most unique desserts found in the country. This exquisite dessert is found in any restaurant across the city and is must to relish.
Apart from these the Kababs, Mandi, Shawarma and Falafel are also a must try while on a tour. The best time to visit Hyderabad would be during Eid and Ramadan when the entire city comes to life and the cross-cultural celebration of the festival can also be seen.
Hyderabad is indeed a paradise and has in store for everyone a taste of its rich heritage and culture through its food.