Lucknow’s Vegetarian Food – A Delight For True Connoisseurs
- Sidharth Bhan Gupta
Updated : September 14, 2022 06:09 IST
Lucknow hosts diverse regional influences, and the discerning palate of the foodies out there has resulted in many new hubs sprouting in every corner of the city
‘Lucknawi Cuisine’, the mere mention of it and we anticipate ‘kebabs, biryanis’ and Nawabi Awadhi Cuisine; but the gastronomes would be in for a Pleasant delight when they try the variety and depth of vegetarian food in Lucknow; just how it left me enraptured, during my two weeks long gustatory exploration.
Early Morning, the chai walas gear up to serve hot chai in clay cups ‘kulhad’ along with crispy samosas and their signature ‘bun makhan’ to those queuing up for craving rather than hunger. Start your culinary exploration with the Legendary ‘Sharma Ji Ki Chai’ and enjoy the tea, snacks, as well as bustling environment at this must-visit tea shop in Lucknow.
At Durga Khasta Corner, up goes the diametrically humungous kadhais on the stove dishing out piping hot Khastas and Kachoris; as the jugalbandi of accompaniments harmonise, you pledge to yourself, “Don’t count calories-Yeh Dil Maange More!”
‘Khasta is different; Kachori is different!’ claims Sanjay as he turns the crusty, golden twin of kachori in the pan. You are ready to challenge the claim until it crumbles in your mouth, revealing its authentic flavour. The soporific delicacy, partnered with spiced peas or mattar, spicy crispy ‘chunke hue Aloo’, ‘pyaaz’, And ‘Hara Mircha’ is what differentiates it from kachori.
Long queues of foodies at the city’s famous Bajpayi Kachori Bhandaar testify to the delicious breakfast one can enjoy in the heart of the city, Hazratganj. Piping hot kachoris are served along with spicy aloo sabzi; it tastes so good that you would be bound to make a revisit soon. Enjoy the tea, a variety of snacks like Samosa, Khasta, Bun Makhan, and the soft and sweet gulab jamuns at the shop next door called ‘Prem’s Tea Point’, run by the same Bajpayi family.
“Hing is the king!” Be it kachoris, sabzis, or even the famed chaat of Lucknow, it’s the superior quality of hing to which most chaat walas credit their success.
The basket Chaat is the showstopper on the red carpet of chaats. Your gastronomic tour is incomplete without a visit to Royal Cafe to savour this scrumptious amalgamation of different chaat dishes, with flavours ranging from good, great and astonishingly great! Don’t miss out on meeting Mr Hardayal Maurya, ‘The Chaat King Of Lucknow’, working his magic of flavours at the royal café.
At legendary chaat stalls such as Shukla Chaat, King Of Chaat, and Jain Chaat, one can try the piquant and tongue-tingling Paani ke batashe (Golgappas), crispy ‘Aloo Tikki’, ‘Palak Patta Chaat’, ‘Kesari Dahi Bhalle’, and ‘Mattar Tikki’.
Being Vegetarian and not wanting to miss Awadhi flavours? - Why should you, when you can visit Baba Ka Dhaba & Deva kebabs for mouth-watering and ambrosial vegetarian ‘Galawati kebabs with Mughlai Paratha’ & the ‘Biryani’, which pack all the magic of spices, the Lucknawi cuisine is famed for.
All said & explored, it’s the sweet tooth where Lucknow punches a gratifying effect on our culinary memory of the city. The lassi at Om Shiv Bhandar at Qaiser Bagh, the ‘Malai Paan’ at Ram Asrey Sweets, ‘Kulfi Falooda’ at Prakash Kulfi, Moti Mahal & Chappan Bhog will enthral you. The unbricked and unexampled Kulfi at Chanakya Ladoo at Parivartan Chowk bowled me over and became my instant favourite.
The Paan culture of Lucknow concludes your vegetarian tour with a royal touch as each pan wala garnishes the extraordinary flavour with some neighbourhood gossip. The paan lovers should not miss the shop next to the SBI headquarters at MG Road for an exclusive taste.
Lucknow being the capital city, hosts diverse regional influences, and the discerning palate of the foodies out there has resulted in many new hubs sprouting in every corner of the city. A visit to Lucknow is a must for any food lover, and if someone tells you Lucknow is only known for its non-vegetarian food, it is misleading. With the plethora of delicious vegetarian food offerings Lucknow has, your culinary exploration of the city of Nawabs will bring a pleasing smile, and why not? As the saying goes, ‘Muskuraiye, Aap Lucknow Mein Hai’!
Sidharth Bhan Gupta is a Hospitality/F&B Consultant travelling across India exploring regional cuisines.