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Hungry in Hyderabad!

A city cocooned in its exotic past and dynamic present – Hyderabad offers culinary delights that are a tribute to its eclectic history and a celebration of its vivacious today.

From cloudy haleems, lip-smacking biryanis, crumbly dosas to aromatic kebabs, spicy Mirchi Ka Salan, flavoured Paaya and heavenly fruit ice-creams — Hyderabad offers a mix of Andhra cuisine fused with rich Nizam culinary offerings.

With its flawless ability to merge the old with the new, this regal city offers a perfect blend of both. While the lanes and bylanes of the Charminar smell of the unmistakably famous biryanis that cut through all sorts and genres, there is a touch of contemporary in and around the Hitech City. So, if you are a foodie in heart and spirit, Hyderabad is bound to satisfy you.

In those days, the guests of the Nizam staying at Chowmahalla Palace enjoyed their tea with Osmania biscuits (another royal legacy named after Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan) while viewing the very charming Charminar. Nimra Cafe, next to Mecca Masjid, serves delicious Osmania biscuits with Irani tea.

For early morning breakfast, Govind's Bandi is a good option. The joint serves one of the best butter dosas of Hyderabad, coupled with butter idlis and tawa idlis.

You must also try the lukhmi — a typical mince savoury which is one of the most popular starters in the Hyderabadi cuisine. The snack is the city's answer to the good old samosa, except that it is stuffed with minced meat, which only makes it so much better.

For a sumptuous lunch, Hyderabad's very own Shadab serves one of the best dum biryanis in town.

The gosht pasinde is one of the most classic and popular Hyderabadi dishes, loved both by locals and tourists alike.

How can you miss out the paaya? This food culminates from a stew made of animal trotters. The Hyderabadi paaya is cooked with trotters of goat and sheep, along with chunks of meat. The lip-smacking gravy is cooked in spices like fennel seeds, dry ginger, nutmeg, dhaliya and khas ki jad.

All this heavy dose of meat needs some balancing out and what better way other than the burani raita. This quintessential aspect of the Hyderabadi cuisine is most craved for its garlic-infused flavour. The locals enjoy the burani raita with biryani and pulao.

Another unique dish is the famous haleem that was introduced in Hyderabad during the rule of the Nizams. It is an Arabic dish that has been localised with the addition of indigenous spices, eventually evolving into the famous Hyderabadi haleem. This stew consists of lentils and meat along with pounded wheat and is made into a thick paste – most common during the months of Ramzan.

Shadab's nihari and paaya are legendary. The very famous sherwa can be eaten with sheermal/roti naan. Shadab's gurda bhaji and kheema roti are absolutely heavenly.

Adding to the list is the maghaz masala, prepared by tossing fried chunks of brain in a spicy sauce. Also known as Bheja Fry in colloquial lingo, this dish may be had both for breakfast as well as for dinner and is best enjoyed with lachha parantha or roomali roti. Goat brain is most frequently used for the maghaz masala preparation.

Similar to Lucknow, this twin city is a paradise for kebab lovers. According to a food blogger, among the kebabs prepared as a patty from minced meat are Galouti from Lucknow, Chapli from Pakistan and Shaami from Delhi, Hyderabad also boasts of its own variety of such a kebab known as Shikampur or Shikampuri, which is soft and delicate in texture. Shikampur is sometimes served for Muslim wedding feasts in the city but the best versions of these kebabs are sampled at Hyderabadi homes, especially on Fridays where it is enjoyed with khatti dal and rice.

In the evenings, a number of street food stalls open up to sell snacks. Akbar Food Corner's Chicken 65 is the best in town, served with warqi paratha and chutney.

You can even drink your weight in the most incredible malai lassis and kesar pista lassis in the Old City.

Another must-try is the Double ka Meetha – a dessert very common to Hyderabadi Muslim weddings. It's a kind of a bread pudding dessert made of bread slices soaked in saffron and cardamom laid milk. Famous Ice Cream shop, as the name suggests, is quite famous among the locals and the tourists too gather around the place every evening for perfect scoops of delicious fruit ice-cream.

The list is endless. But, it is definitely not complete without mentioning the Karachi Bakery. Dishing out Hyderabad's most famous biscuits, the bakery was established by a Sindhi family.

Hence, this city, retaining its rich legacy, offers the most appealing flavours for the stomach – each displaying a unique history of their own that was brought to this land by the many rulers who established their kingdoms here and introduced their own language and culture, alongside their cuisine. Over generations, an exciting admixture of the ancient and the contemporary has unravelled – be it on a mouthful of morsel or on a slice from the past!

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