Hyderabad as a city has always been captivating people’s imaginations with its history and architecture, most notably the Charminar and the Golconda Fort. Undoubtedly, most flock to the city to catch a glimpse of these sites apart from the Qutub Shahi Tombs, Birla Mandir, Hussain Sagar Lake, NTR Gardens and others. Another factor which brings in tourists is its cuisine. We bring you a couple of dishes you can try out in the city and where.
If you have just reached the city by bus early in the morning from Bangalore or Mumbai, chances are that you will disembark at Tolichowki or Mehdipatanam. These neighbouring areas are just the places you need to start off with. You can go to any eatery and order the khichdi keema for breakfast, a combination of fried rice and minced meat curry. The keema generally comes separate. In some restaurants, you may be charged Rs. 6-8 extra if you want more.
If you are in Hyderabad during the Ramzan season, it is the perfect time for you to try out the Hyderabadi haleem, a dish which is in demand not only in the city but also people from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata order this dish from the city. It is basically stew made of wheat, barley, lentils and the most important ingredient – meat – beef, mutton as well as chicken. The dish is mostly served with garnish. The best areas to have haleem from are Charminar and Tolichowki. Cheaper and more affordable variables are available in Nampally.
Once you have savoured the haleem, it’s time for the dish which makes this city so popular – the biryani – a mixture of rice and meat along with masala down at the bottom. People, mostly outsiders, say that the best place to taste biryani is the Paradise restaurant, found in various parts of the city, most notably Secunderabad. However, if you were to go by advice from locals, it would be Charminar, Mehdipatnam, Tolichowki and the food outlets surrounding the Golconda Fort. In these places, you will get a taste of what locals call biryani. In Mehdipatnam, shops remain open all throughout the night offering biryani at affordable prices. If you are with family, Paradise is the best option.
You can also try out the bagara khana, a combination of plain rice (mixed with oil or ghee), vegetables and sometimes half-an-egg. Those with a tight budget looking to treat friends can go for this option. It comes at a very cheap rate, yet will fill one up properly. The best places to try this out are Mehdipatnam, Tolichowki, Golconda and Mozam Jahi Market. These areas also have eateries providing Arab delicacies such as falafel, shawarma and grilled chicken at extremely affordable prices.
Hyderabadis love their desserts and a place near the historic Charminar where you can try this ‘dessert’ of various ice-creams is Mozam Jahi markets. A chain of shops serve tasty ice-creams all year round. You can have them while being seated outside with a direct view of the city traffic.
Just when you thought that your appetite is over, you must not miss out on the Irani chai and Osmania biscuits combination. The best place in the city to try this out is Hotel Rumaan in Tolichowki. The shop is always bustling with customers and tea is available till 11 p.m. There is a separate family section on the first floor too.
If your appetite has it, you can have a go at all these dishes simultaneously. Or else, you can take it easy, taste some, sip in the Iranian tea with the Osmania biscuits and pack the rest home if you stay in cities nearby. Even if you aren’t a foodie, Hyderabad will definitely make you one.