Step into Chowk bazar and you will feel as if the whole city is out here, shopping and eating. Meandering through the alleys, you have a long list to choose from – pakoras, parathas and bakharkhans, kebabs, kofta, korma, haleem, sharbat, and many other items. To try the Boondi Chura, you have to go to Chatori Gali.
At Matia Mahal, the lane opposite Jama Masjid’s gate number 1, you will be spoilt for choice, with shops selling biryani, kebabs and rotis. If you are confused by the presence of innumerable kiosks and carts, head straight for Karim’s. You can also explore the area around the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah.
The city of the nizams is the only competitor that Lucknow has to fear, especially where biryani is concerned. The Hyderabadi biryani, unique to the city, is a foodie’s delight. And then of course comes the haleem, an Arab dish that was introduced to India during the reign of the nizams. Going by foodie reviews, Pista House is the best place to eat haleem. Explore the area around Char Minar if you want to taste the street food.
If you are in a hurry, try the roadside shops around Tipu Sultan Mosque in the Esplanade area. For a leisurely meal, especially the various kinds of haleem and biryani, head for the area spreading outwards from Nakhoda Mosque. Aminia, on Zakaria Street, serves six types of haleem during the month of Ramzan.
The rest of India is indebted to the nawabs of Lucknow and their kitchens for formulating and introducing a large number of dishes. Head to Aminabad for kulcha, nahari, paya, gond-ka-halwa, kebabs, shahi tukra, and more. Stalls pop up along the Nazirabad Road and if you want to explore further, walk in the direction of Kaiserbagh. Try the city’s special kebab at Tunday Kababi; other than the one in Aminabad, there is another shop at Chowk. You can also check out the food stalls in the Akbari Gate area.
The famous Bhendi Bazar is where multiple shops spring up during the month of Ramzan. The rows of stalls along Mohammed Ali Road and the crowd of people around them has to be seen to be believed. One of the restaurants that is a year-round favourite is Bade Miya, near the Gateway of India.