Why do you need Food Tour?
We all love to visit new places, know about its tradition, learn about the culture, relive the history and cherish the secret that it holds. Well, what better way is there to know about a place than through its food? We are not talking about the 5 star hotels or the restaurant foods, we mean the street foods. Especially, in India, you will get hundreds of variety in street foods which are yummy in taste and sells like hot cakes.
Food in India is not only a mean of sustenance, but also a symbol of culture and tradition of a place, handed down from generations after generations. That is why you will always find a difference in taste for the same food in different parts of the country. The best way to explore this food is always with a guided tour.
You can enjoy the mouthwatering delicacies while strolling down the streets of a city, enjoying its history. A food tour will always help you find the most delicious, hygienic and pocket friendly eateries. You won’t have to worry about “What to eat in a new place?” after a day-long tour.
You can enjoy the exciting Cooking classes with the locals at their home and learn about the secret behind the delicious home-made meals. You will get to know all about the place and its stories as these local people can give you information about the place in much detail than any encyclopedia. Also, expect a gift of spices to try the new recipes back home.
Apart from these, guided tour also helps you select from the wide range of options. You can choose from the custom made tours, well in advance. Advance booking and confirmed tours will make your food experience hassle free and fun. You won’t have to worry about go searching or getting lost in the streets of the city. All in all a guided tour will make your travel experience way better.
Dining Ettiquetes in India
Dining etiquette in India is quite different to Western countries. There it is considered proper Indian etiquette to eat with your hands; this is how the majority of the Indian people eat. It is tradition and part of the Indian culture; it is also an accepted part of Indian etiquette. Although, people mostly prefer cutlery while dining in the 5 star hotels, but it is good to fit in with the culture of the place wherever you are.
Since India is a vast country, there are many different ways to consume food in various parts of the country. However, irrespective of that, there are few basic etiquette which is followed by every Indian. We bring you a list of the same for better understanding:
- One is expected to wash hand before and after the meal, irrespective of whether the food was consumed with hand or using cutlery.
- One must wait until everyone is settled down. It is considered rude to start off with the food until everyone is served.
- One must consume food with right hand. The left hand is not used for eating, (even if one is left-handed,) this is considered offensive and unclean.
- It is necessary to share food with anyone who wants it; however it should not be shared from one’s plate. Anything coming with contact with your saliva, or anything that is on your plate is considered “jootha” (contaminated) in Indian culture, hence is considered offensive.
- One must ask for any food item if he/she wants it again, but should not reach out directly or point at the food.
- The host must offer the food multiple times to the guest. It might look a bit persuasive, but its rude not to do the same.
- It is not mandatory to consume each of the items that is prepared, but one should finish all that is thee on the plate. Food is considered sacred in India, and thus should not be wasted.
- One should not play with the food. Eating in a medium pace is considered to be the correct way of consuming the food.
- In South India, the meal is generally served on banana leaves; it is customary that one folds the leaf from the top at the end of the meal. Folding from bottom indicates bad relationship with the host.
- One should not leave the dining table before the host or the eldest person of the house. However, in some parts of India, one can leave to wash off the hands, but he/she must return to the dining table after the same.
Why Indians prefer hand over Cutlery While Eating
In India, we consider food as a much more than the basic necessity of life. We consider it to be a blessing from the God and our elders. This is the reason, why having food is a kind of ceremonious to us. We always prefer to sit down in a relaxed mood with our family members or friends and have food together.
The practice of eating with one’s hands started from the Vedic times when people used to believe and respect food. They believed that our bodies are in sync with the elements of nature. Ayurvedic texts teach that each finger is an extension of one of the five elements. Through the thumb comes space; through the forefinger, air; through the mid-finger, fire; through the ring finger, water and through the little finger it is earth. The joining of all fingers while eating was believed to improve our consciousness of the taste of the food we eat.
There is a Sanskrit verse:
Karaagre Vasate Lakssmih Karamadhye Sarasvati
Karamuule Tu Govindah Prabhaate Karadarshanam
At the Top of the Palm, or the fingers (i.e. Palm) Dwell Goddess Lakshmi and at the Middle of the Hand Dwell Goddess Saraswati,
At the Base of the Hand Dwell God Govinda; Therefore one should Look at one’s Hands in the Early Morning and contemplate on Them.
Since, in India, food is considered to be the blessing of Goddess Lakshmi, Indians prefer to eat with the hands.
Well, culture apart, our food is of such a way that eating with cutlery does not help much. Try eating a Vada Pau, Panipuri, Dosa, Bhelpuri etc with spoon. Even if by miracle you manage to do that, it will surely leave you in a mess and dissatisfaction.
Let us tell you a short incident: The then Indian president, Dr. Radhakrishnan, met Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill and they sat down for lunch. Before sitting, Dr. Radhakrishnan washed his hands and as the meal was served, he used his hands in eating the meal. Churchill told Dr. Radhakrishnan, “Why are you using your hands? Use spoon and fork, they are more hygienic“.
Radhakrishnan’s repartee was, “Since nobody has used my hand to eat before, my hand is more hygienic than any spoon you can find.“
10 most popular street foods of India
Though originated in Punjab, this dish has made its way to the streets of the Capital city and spread to the rest of the country. Soft and fluffy Bhature along with spicy hot Chole will lift your mood up any time.
This is the simplest yet delicious food from the kitchen of Bihar. Hot and soft Litti made from gram flour is served with spicy and tangy Chokha made from smashed potatoes , brinjals along with other ingredients along with pure ghee. It’s a yummy dish to have in breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Spicy, tangy Poha made of a certain variety of rice served with sev and nukti and to compliment it is the hot or cold sweet jalebis dunked in sugar syrup is a great idea to have a street side healthy and tasty breakfast.
Everyone’s favourite Alu or potato is presented in a whole new style. This dish is made up of smashed boiled potatoes along with other vegetables and spices and served with various sauce or chutney.
It is called the Indian version of burger- only more tasty and more cost effective. The piping hot alu vada sandwiched inside a pav with onions, green chilis, spicy chutney and other condiments is sure to make you want for more.
Kachori is famous food of Rajasthan. This crunchy treat stuffed with rich gravy and hot spices, served with chutney and curd is sure to tingle your taste buds.
The most popular street food originate from the Kutch region of Gujarat and travel across street of Mumbai, Pune and other cities of India. Dabeli is a very popular and fantastic spicy snacks item made by boiled potatoes with a special dabeli spices and putting the mixture between the pav.
Kati rolls: Kolkata
Kati rolls are the famous street food of Kolkata. It comes in Egg, chicken and mutton Variety or a combination of two or more. The spicy preparation of fried egg, chicken or mutton is rolled in a paratha along with onions and other spices and thus resulting in a on the go meal.
The most favorite south Indian dish, common as breakfast item and served with combination of chutney and sambar. Sambhar which tastes so good with idlis and vadas is made with tamarind and pigeon peas. Idlis and vadas sambhar are the best food in the streets of Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
A Nawabi meal in Lucknow
Lucknow- The land of Nawabs and heavenly Awadhi food is a total foodaholic’s paradise. From the famous Lucknowi biryani to soft tasty kebabs to the cold paan this place is a foodie’s wonderland.
Take a stroll around the city and discover the narrow alleys that will take you to food heaven. The taste, the aroma and the air of the city has a magical effect! Though the list of delicacies is endless, we bring to you the most famous food of this place.
This delicious dish is straight from the streets of Lucknow. The technique of making this biryani is quite different from that of other variety. The rice is cooked separately in garden-fresh spices and the marinated chicken is added later.
This technique ensures that just the right amount of flavour infused in the dish and the outcome is something irresistible.
Galawati Kebab or Galauti Kebab is a special meatball delicacy which was once made exclusively for a Nawab in Lucknow. Galawati means something which melt in your mouth, and the dish does exactly that.
Finely ground meat, along with unripe papaya is cooked along with various spices to give you that heavenly feeling and taste. A must have for all the meat lovers.
Tender pieces of meat are heated under intense heat to produce these mouth-watering delicacies. This is an original Mughlai recipe. Take a plate of these kebabs for the starters.
Tunday means handicapped and these Kebabs got this name because the person who made them first was handicapped. Over a 100 masalas go into the making of this royal kebab, to give you that wonderful taste.
These kebabs melt in your mouth like ice cream and are best served with rumali roti.
This is one of the dishes straight from the kitchen of the nawabs. Soft meat is cooked and served in spicy curry. Get a bowl of this delicacy and enjoy.
Paya Ki Nihari
Paya ki Nihari is a dish of lamb troterrs broth. This dish is slowly cooked for six to seven hours usually overnight over a low flame. Nahar is an urdu word which means morning and this is usually served in the mornings for breakfast.
Tokri means basket. This chat is literally served in edible small baskets made of gram flower sev. This basket is then filled with chaat made of smashed potatoes, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas and various other ingredients. Take a plate of this chat and enjoy the crispy baskets.
Malai Ki Gilori
This sweet dish is made up of thick creamy malai and adorned with grated dry fruits. Take a bite of these soft sweets and feel it melting in your mouth within seconds. If you a sweet lover, you won’t be satisfied with just one.
These are sweet naans, which are baked in tandoor and tastes well with anything spicy! These are made with boiling milk slowly solidified with sugar and flavored with saffron. This sweet is really worth it.
A sweet betel leaf is folded and stuffed with patta, supari, gulkand, saunf and other mouth fresheners. Lucknowi Paan is the traditional treat to everyone in this city. Generally served cold it is a must have after the meal.
Spices of Kerala
The spices of Kerala dates back to thousands of years. Musiri, the ancient port of Kerala became the base of world spice trade, almost ages ago. Today, the major chunk of the spice cultivation and trade comes from Kerala itself. These spices not only add flavors to the dishes but also have medicinal properties. Some of the popular spices are:
Black pepper is a flowering vine. Cultivated for its fruit, which is dried and then used as spic. It has a soft spicy taste and can be used as a substitute for chilies. Dried ground pepper has been used for ages as a taste enhancer in the food. It also has a medicinal effect on cold.
Cardamom or Elaichi is a spice made from the seeds of this plant. This spice has a sweetening taste and a heavenly aroma. It can be used in a variety of food ranging from tea, veg and non-veg dishes, rice dishes and any sweet dish as well. It is the world’s third-most expensive spice, surpassed in price per weight only by vanilla and saffron
Cloves are one of the highly prized spices, widely recognized all over the world for their medicinal and culinary qualities. The spices actually are the “flower buds” of evergreen trees. It has a spicy taste and oil made from the clove buds is good for sore throat.
Cinnamon is a spice that is obtained from the inner bark of few selected species of trees. It has a sweet taste and used for enhancing the aroma and taste of any dish. It also helps benefit those who are suffering from diabetes and cholesterol.
The curry tree is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India and Sri Lanka. Its leaves are used in many dishes in India, Sri Lanka, and neighbouring countries. Curry leaves are also used as home remedies to treat many illnesses like digestion problems, urinary disorders, morning sickness, chronic anemia much more.
Sweets of Bengal
Bengal or West Bengal is one of the beautiful states of India. With its lush greenery, tropical climate and thousands of varieties of food to dive in, it makes a wonderful destination for the travellers and foodies. Bengal has recently won the title of being the sweetest state of India, with its varieties of lip smacking and mouthwatering sweets. You are bound to get a sweet tooth once you have tried out the sweets of Bengal.
Roshogolla or rasgulla is the most famous sweet of this city. They say a Bengali is not a Bengali until he/she has tasted one. These white, soft, round balls of delicacy dunked in the sugar/jaggery syrup are bound to quench your thirst for sweets.
Malai Chom Chom
These golden brown sweets made of chenna and kesar is a must for all the celebration. The dense texture and the trapped sweetness in them are best enjoyed when chilled.
The deep brown sweets with a crisp outer layer and a soft core are a must have. These small balls of sweets are deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup to give you that heavenly taste.
Kalo Jaam or Kala Jamun, call them whatever you like. Made up of cottage cheese and Khoya, these soft, juicy balls of sweet will surely satisfy your taste buds.
This is a fried sweet dish, made up of pure milk cream. The preparation is very tricky and tedious process, but the sweet is worth the effort.
If you are not satisfied with a single sweet at a time, there is always a Kheer Kadam to bite into. These sweets are made up of mini Rasgullas with an outer covering of grated khoya and powdered sugar.
Payesh is the Bengali version of Kheer. Made up of rice, milk and sugar it is prepared in every household especially during any auspicious occasion. Garnished with raisins, almonds and nuts, this is an all-time favorite for the Bongs.
Nolen Gurer Payesh
This is a winter delicacy and is prepared in every household of Bengal. Made from scented rice, milk and a special gur or jaggery, which is available only in winter, this dish is a piece of heaven and a must have.
This is another delicacy of the winter. A filiing of grated coconut and jiggery rolled into a thin crepe made from Maida, sooji and rice flour, this sweet dish is yummy in taste and easy to make as well.
Finally, any Bengali sweet list is incomplete without the mention of Misti Doi. Made from blended youghurt, milk and course brown sugar, this is a quintessential sweet dish in Every Bengali food menu.
Food trucks: Meals on Wheels
Food trucks are large vehicles which are well equipped to cook, heat and sell food. The variety ranges from small trucks selling burgers and ice-creams to large trucks selling foods that are cooked in front of you as per your choice. Basically, these trucks are what we can call: “Meals on Wheels”.
Individuals facing difficulty finding work in formal sectors, will often venture into this industry, as it allows entire families to involve themselves in the preparing and cooking of foods sold to the public. Food trucks appeal to consumers in that they are often an inexpensive means of attaining quick meals. Location and word of mouth promotion has been credited for their widening success.
This concept has recently started in India and is quite a success. On 19th May 2016, Mumbai hosted the first ever Food truck festival – titled ‘Food Truck Square’ at High Street Phoenix. A joint initiative by The Food Truck Association (TFTA), co-curated by Mumbai Foodie and OPA hospitality, the foodies’ event featured live graffiti art by an artist who created an installation to serve as a reminder of the city’s upcoming street food culture.
“Our idea behind co-curating this festival was to bring the best food of this city to your doorstep — one food truck at a time,” said Ashish Sajnani, director, OPA Hospitality and co-curator of the event.
Some of the lip smacking food items that the Food trucks offer are: Keema Pau, Vada Pav, Daveli, Tawa Pulao, Grilled sandwiches, Sheek Kabab, Indian burgers, Vadas and Momos. To beat off the spicy food, they offer various coolers such as Aam Panna, Cold Coffee, Kokum Juice and many more. These are easy to make food items and are prepared within a span of max. 5 minutes. So now you can enjoy a meal on the run.
Check out more about the food truck concept below: