Being born and brought up in Lucknow, I have seen Lucknow to the core and compared it with all the possible Indian cities that I have travelled by and large. Beauty of the language that people speak here, uniqueness of certain things like kathak (classical dance), the perfection of chikankari (embroidery), irresistible melt-in-mouth kebabs, malai gilori (triangular shaped sweet) and palate cleansing paan, all these things make Lucknow so distinct that it is difficult to draw parallels of this city with any other Indian city. While you are in city, and want to enjoy it optimally, a gourmet street food trail will be of great help. A walk that takes you to the cultural lanes of the city and helps you explore the true essence of Lucknow is the best value for your money and time.
Starting your day with something as light and as delicious as froth of milk flavoured with saffron and cooled in overnight dew is served with nuts. This sweet light delicacy that melts in your mouth is being sold in carry along glass-covered flat plates everywhere on the narrow lanes of Chowk, more commonly outside Golewaza.
If you are looking for a satiating breakfast, Nihari and Kulcha is one of the best options. Unlike anywhere else in India, kulcha sold in India is thick, slightly sweet and flaky bread. Nihari is a Hindi word which means “first morsel of the day.” If you want to have the best taste of it, have it at “Rahim’s”. It is a hole-in-wall eatery near the Akbari Gate in Chowk.
If you happen to make a stop at Golewaza entrance to Chowk, the best tasting thing that will keep you filled till lunch is lassi (yogurt based drink) which you can have at ‘Sri Lassi Corner’ or thandai (a cashew-milk concoction that is truly refreshing) at ‘Raja ki Thandai.’
On the fourth day of your trip you can head towards the ‘Novelty Cinema Crossing in the Lal Bagh area of the city’ and can have another addictive breakfast called ‘bun maska’ at “Sharma’s tea stall.”
At Hazartganj, “Bajpayee puri and Kachori” is another option for gourmets like you. Steaming hot deep-fried leavened bread served along with subzi is truly amazing in taste and satiating.
One of the best things that you can have for lunch is “Net Ram ki Kachori and subzi.” Heading towards Aminabad, in the lanes you will come across this Over 150-year old shop that gives an amazing thali (platter) to satisfy your noon hunger pangs. Apart from deep fried leavened bread stuffed with lentils you will get both types of potato preparations dried and in gravy, you will get chutney and yoghurt-based preparation called raita.
If you do not want to put it heavy on stomach and continuing with your hungry walk you need to move a little further at the intersection of La Touche Road and A.P Sen, you will get Kachori along with spicy chickpeas preparation.
If you happen to visit Lucknow during the late monsoon, you would be lucky as you will find fried Andarse which is slightly sweet rice flour with milk dumpling rolled in sesame seeds fried and it is truly yumm….
You would not believe it but basket chaat (a specialty of Lucknow’s restaurant called Royal’s Café) is equivalent to a complete meal. If you want to have a lunch that taste great and lighter then this chaat will be a great option.
Experience of Lucknow is incomplete without visiting Tunde Kebabi. You will get a variety of sumptuous kebabs including galouti (melt in mouth) with parathas. This is a must-eat thing as a lunch in Lucknow.
Though there can be endless choices for dinner in Lucknow. Kormas, zarda, sheermal, parthas, shami kebabs (there is a wide range of kebabs available in the city.)
Biryani from Idris is one of the best options. Rice flavoured with garden fresh ‘Avadhi spices’ and marinated with chicken or mutton is cooked over night by dum or slow cooking process.
This is not as well-known as boti or galawat kebabs in Lucknow but it tastes equally good. This is made from thin layers of beef or goat meat that are marinated with papaya for a couple of hours. It is served with Sheermal which is a special baked bread made with ghee, milk, saffron and sprinkled with an orange colour.
Chicken boti at Dastarkhan near Press Club is another great option for dinner. Ever gastronome must try it once for the sake of its taste.
Though there is wide range of kebabs available in the City of Nawabs and would certainly come across the different varieties at different places but you may not have listened about “Kaleji Kebab.” It is grilled beef liver which is marinated with the light spices and baked with over the charcoal fire. It is also garnished with mint sauce and spicy coriander. Have it as a dinner in 78-year old “Burma Kaleji Shop” at Aminabad.
Rogan Josh, even the name is so impressive that it gives impression of a dish that tastes simple great. This is soft meat of braised lamb chunks cooked with a gravy based on brown onions, shallots, garlic, ginger, and yogurt and with aromatic spices.