Street food culture of Lucknow has been iconic for decades. The city of Nawabs has experimented with food and has created many signature recipes that are now considered unique and special. You won’t believe but delicacies like Galauti, kormas, kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, warqi parathas and more have their origins that can be traced back to Lucknow to the time when the Nawabs used to rule Awadh.
In the modern era, the meticulously elaborate way of preparing the Awadhi cuisine has created a unique name and fame for Lucknow food. Many establishments like Tunde and Prakash ki Kulfi have been here for generations and have turned into household names. Mornings in Lucknow are reserved for the favourite puri sabzi served with jalebi that goes the best with a glass of Lassi. As the sun goes down, the traditional non-veg dishes take over.
A guide to street food of Lucknow
Chowk is the centre the city’s food related activities. This place is actually a 500 metre stretch that starts from Gol Darwaza on one side and ends at the Akhbari Darwaza. This small street comes alive after 8 PM when the city dwellers returning from their daily works, hectic office schedule and chaotic traffic, come here for a quick meeting, pack some kebabs and head to their home. A number of vendors here serve everything you’ll like to eat during your visit to Lucknow.
Tundey is synonymous with Lucknow’s food culture. The original establishment in the hustling bustling Aminabad is brimming with customers. The place gets so crowded on weekends and after 8 PM on weekdays that chances are that you may end up waiting for at-least 20 minutes for your food to come to your table. Tundey Kababi is run by the grandson of the man who invented this dish. The story behind the innovation is very interesting (and is present in every food blog ever).
A Nawab, who started losing his teeth with age, wanted to continue is love of Kebabs. But, since most of the Kebabs have bone in it, it is hard to chew them. He called for a contest that whoever created the softest and most succulent kababs would enjoy royal patronage henceforth. Haji Murad Ali came up with the innovation of Tundey Kababi. He was one handed so the name Tunday caught up upon him.
Located next to Tundey, Wahid is famous for their Biryani preparations. The recipe is so amazing that you’ll recognize the place simply from its aroma. According to the official description it is claimed that the Biryani is prepared with combination of 55 spices of ingredients.
The interiors of Wahid Biryani is very small. The seating space is shared by multiple people so don’t be surprised if they make you sit with another family or a group of friends.
Idris ki Biryani
Located near Raja Bazar, Idris hotel is famous because of its yummy Mutton Biryani. Served with flavourful saffron-colour yellow rice, with chunks of meat that is so soft that it simply melts in the mouth. Idris is a takeaway place and you can pack your meal on the go and have it at your hotel or wherever you are staying.
Prakash ki Kulfi
Another establishment that has been running since generations is Prakash ki kulfi. At the end of Aminabad’s street, you’ll find their shop with a very recognizable name. It is a favourite haunt of the tired shoppers who come to Aminabad market to buy spices, saree, clothes and household materials. Kesar Falooda with Kulfi is simply amazing.
Now that I have mentioned enough of meat, I should give my vegetarian friends a reason to visit Lucknow. So here is Rattilal. This 75 year old establishment is popular for Khasta kachori, vada and aloo-chana. Finish your meal with a glass of Lassi or yummy Jalebis and you’ll be set for an entire day. One of the most recognizable places in Aminadbad, the shop is filled with patrons once the sun goes down.
Netram is a popular breakfast joint popular for its samosa, jalebi and the yummy puri aaloo ki sabzi that is served with jaggery and Imli Chutney. The aroma of their jalebis being prepared in ghee early morning serves as a landmark. And remember, it doesn’t matter how early you are, the seating space is always full and you may have to wait for a good 15 to 20 minute before your number comes.
This is a must for the sweet tooths. Makhan Malai has many names in various parts of Uttar Pradesh. It is a winter delicacy and is usually found on the streets around Hazratganj and Aminabad.
Chat Tokri at Royal Café
Royal Café is one of the iconic places in Hazratganj where you’ll eventually end up during your time in Lucknow. Its basket chat is very popular and a plate is enough to fill your tummy for life. This speciality is made by frying grated potatoes in the shape of a basket. This basket is then loaded with aloo tikkis, papdi, lentil fritters, chickpeas, and sweetened yogurt topped with tamarind and green chilli chutneys. Sounds really yummy right?
Their preparations of fried chicken can give outlets like KFC and Nandos a run for their money. They are present in Aliganj and are very popular for their shawarma.
Sharma tea stall
When it comes to popular breakfast joints in Lucknow, Sharma Tea stall’s name is simply a class apart. This joint is more than 60 years old and their Samosas are probably the best in Lucknow. They are known to sell an average of 800 samosas in a day. These samosas are unlike the regular ones and the shape is round. Their kulhad tea is also very popular and a must have during the breakfast.
Located close to Sharma’s, Keval is another name taken when it comes to best samosa in Lucknow. They are known to prepare the biggest samosa in Lucknow.
Next time you are in Lucknow, don’t forget to take out time to visit these amazing places and enjoy a delicious plate of Biryani and kebabs. I am sure you’ll rarely find a destination as rich as Lucknow when it comes to celebrating the food culture.