India is a destination for food fanatics; there is no doubt about it. If India is the ultimate place to visit to enjoy different traditions and cultures, it is also one of the best places in the world for gourmet cooking. Because of this, India can be called a foodie destination. When you visit India, you would observe that people, especially people in South India eat by using their hands and not with forks or spoons. Some people are put off by this because they cannot imagine how people can use their bare hands to eat; they consider it unhygienic. However, Indians have their own sense of logic for using their hands.
Why Indians eat with their hands?
Indians believe that that the feet and hands are conduits of the five elements – air, fire, water, earth and space. The forefinger represents air, the mid-finger is fire, the ring finger represents earth, the little finger represents water and the thumb portrays space. When you eat with your hand, it acts as an extension of your digestive system and this stimulation and touch activates the digestive juices in your stomach. When the fingers touch the food and you start eating, the million nerve endings on your fingers immediately alert the digestive system. This will release the required digestive juices and enzymes. You must have seen young children sucking on their thumb; the same reason applies there too. It is a kind of stimulation.
Best places to eat in India
This is a list of some of the best places in the country to explore if you like to experiment with food. In each state of India, you have some specialty/delicacy or the other making that place famous for it. It is not possible to include all the dishes here, but an attempt is made to mention several. Let’s start with Delhi:
Delhi is the capital of the country and the most favored destination for sumptuous lip smacking dishes like the butter chicken from Moti Mahal and appetizing aloo parathas from the Chandni Chowk, not to speak of the jalebis and gala ka halwa from the halwa shops. Head down to Bengali Market if you would like to try a taste of chat, golgappe and dahi bhalle. If you are watching your weight, then you will be tempted to forgo it for the time being and start indulging. Delhi is known to be a paradise for food fanatics, not to speak of the delicious Mughal cuisine available at most of the restaurants.
Hyderbad and Biriyani go hand in hand. In fact, the reason why most of the people visit Hyderabad is to enjoy its monuments and historical places and then eat the mouth-watering Biriyani. This is one tale of food that you can take back home, because once you’ve consumed it, you will never ever forget it. Hyderbadi Biriyani is a food prepared for the kings, with your choice of meat of course and dahi chutney to accompany it. Of course, this could be a bit spicy and you are likely to set your taste buds on fire. But it is worth it, no doubt about it. If you are visiting Hyderabad during the Ramzaan month, then that’s the best time to innovate with other dishes too – dishes that are special during the holy month.
Are you in favor of pork? Then you must try it when you visit Coorg, a destination situated in the south-west part of Karnataka and bordering Kerala. The pandi curry is dark and spicy and when you have it with wine, it would take you to a different world altogether. You can try a lot of authentic Coorg dishes when you stay at the homestays and hotels. Coorg is a must visit place, the Britishers used to call it the ‘Scotland of India’ and some people in India refer to Coorg as ‘Kashmir of South India’.
Kochi was a destination where Portuguese, Dutch, British and the Arabs had sailed ashore for trade purposes. If Kerala was a thriving fishing village in the pre-colonial days, it is now a vibrant tourism spot where millions come in for various adventures. You have very hot places in Kerala and very cold spots too.The traditional sadya (feast) served on a plantain leaf with over 28 dishes is the main attraction of Kerala culinary, not to speak of the porotta and beef roast combination, steamed rice cakes with chickpea, banana chips and so on. Almost all the sumptuous dishes in Kerala are made with coconut as the main ingredient, so if you can fathom the idea of coconut in food, you are in for a memorable experience here.
Chennai gets you on a heady adventure with a variety of lovely cuisines that you cannot resist. You must try their dosas, idlies and vadas served with a variety of chutneys. Chennai is a different world of food altogether and top your meal with filter coffee. When you’ve done that, you’ve just about started embarking on the true foodie tour of Chennai. If you love experimenting with street food, you are going to have the best and more full-filling experience in Chennai. Did you know that The Hindu, the famous Indian daily has conferred Chennai with the second biggest food destination out of 10 food cities in the world? Other places featured in the list are Osaka in Japan, and Ensenada in Mexico and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Goa is a paradise not just for the booze lovers, but also for foodies, because there are plenty of excellent food spots in Goa that they cannot resist. As it is a major tourism destination in India, you have the best of everything in the world. You have the best pizzas, gourmet vegan restaurants, mouth-watering seafood, the best steaks, sizzling vindaloo and mouth-watering fish dishes. Top them off with chilled beer and you’ve just had the best food experience ever. To ensure their customers enjoy the best beef dishes, the restaurant owners marinate the meat for two weeks and then barbecue them. Do not leave Goa without tasting the Squid Ambot-Tik with puffed Goan bread and Mussels fried in red Goan masala.
The vast diversity of Bengali cuisine is what attracts people to this lovely place. They are known for they sumptuous rich and curry delicacies and their Bengalee sweets have earned a sweet name in the entire world. The most famous ones in Bengalee sweets are rasagollas and sandesh. The people of Bengal are also known for making stunning date palm jaggery dishes. Head down to the streets to try the irresistible jhaal muri and puchkas as well.
Mumbai is the hub for delicious street food. People from all over the world come here to relish panipuri, bhelpuri, vada pav, dahipur and so on. You can also head to Muhammad Ali Road to enjoy some sizzling skewered kebabs. If you visit the restaurants, you can enjoy the best Italian, best Chinese and Oriental food.
Amritsar is where you have the Golden Temple, so you must definitely visit it when you visit India. It is also the holiest Sikh Gurdwara in the entire country. Food in Amritsar is extremely popular, especially when it comes to varieties of chicken and meat. Top them off with one big glass of lassi and you’ve probably had the best ever food.
It is true that embarking on a foodie tour of all the delicious destinations in India is worth the extra calories that you would eventually put on. After all, what is life without experiencing any of those savory culinary delights? So be ready to pile up those extra pounds; you can always shed them later. Tighten your seat belts and get ready for a full-filling culinary adventure.