Bhopal’s great love for non-vegetarian food stems from the era of the nawabs and begums. The city’s cuisine borrows heavily from the kitchens of the Awadhi and Hyderabadi nizams. Sample these local specialities on a food crawl.
No Bhopali breakfast can be complete without the light and flavourful poha accompanied by a sinful mawa-jalebi and a cup of piping hot chai. All of these things can be found at Raju Tea Stall, an always busy street-side tea joint that has become a Bhopali institution. Get there early, they often run out of poha by 9am.
Tuck into Murgh Rizala – a delicate chicken curry in a silken, mildly spiced coriander gravy. The Bhopali speciality is surprisingly hard to come by in the city. Sample it at the Noor-Us-Sabah Palace hotel’s Awadhi restaurant Za-aiqa, where the cuisine of the Bhopali begums is preserved in traditional recipes including this one.
An indulgent dish of mutton keema with large chunks of liver in a rich, spicy gravy, Keema Kaleji is a Bhopal speciality best eaten at the iconic Hakeem Hotel. Every meat-loving Bhopali will recommend heading to New Market to sample the mince dish, slow-cooked with whole spices, and scooped up with soft Roomali Rotis.
Delicate, melt-in-the-mouth roundels with a perfectly fried crispy exterior, kebabs in Bhopal are nothing like the standard starters you are used to. At Hakeem Hotel, four gigantic Shammi Kebabs arrive on a platter, each one the size of my face. Packed with the flavour of spices, they go perfectly with the fresh green chutney served on the side.
Another place to head to to relish the cuisine in Bhopal is MP Tourism-run Minto Hall’s rooftop restaurant called ‘1909 – The Crown of Bhopal’. The ambiance and the food will surely leave you content.
Raju Tea Stall
Timings: 6am to Midnight
Address: 123, Anapuran Building, Ground Floor, Sultania Road, Bhopal
Timings: 11am to 11.30pm
Address: 5A, New Market, TT Nagar, Bhopal
Timings: 7.30pm to 11pm
Address: Noor-Us-Sabah Palace, VIP Road, Koh-E-Fiza, Bhopal
1909 – The Crown of Bhopal
Timings: 12 noon to 11pm
Address: Jahangirabad, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462008