India is highly regarded across the world for its fine, vibrant and energetic cuisine, but we really wanted to figure out where exactly in India you’ll get to eat the meal of your life. Expectedly, the answer is everywhere.
Each state in India is brimming with exquisite food, whether they be found in high end restaurants or along the bustling streets and pathways. But, as we cannot really look at every dish available in each state (as much as we would like to), we’re going to delve into the native and/or favourite dishes of each of the five regions of India. We’ve explored the sweet, savoury and succulent and will now share what we at Expedia, feel to be the number one, must-have Indian dish.
North Indian Food
For us the winner of this region is the signature dish of Kashmir: Rogan Josh. This meat-based dish consists of beautifully, slow-cooked lamb (or goat), braised amongst a thick gravy made with onions, yoghurt, garlic, ginger and of course, a huge array of intensely aromatic spices. The name literally translates to red heat or passion, so expect a hot and spicy dish.
Other notable dishes that the Northern states of India are famous for are listed below, and we recommend you give them all a try (as soon as possible…seriously, go now!).
- Haryana – Kachri ki Sabza
- Himachal Pradesh – Sidu
- Jammu and Kashmir – Rogan Josh
- Uttarakhand – Aaloo Gutke
- Punjab – Makki di Roti with Sarson Ka Saag
- Uttar Pradesh – Kebabs
North East Indian Food
The number one spot for North East India goes to the Chakhwi of Tripura. If you’re a fan bamboo shoots and moist, sliced pork, stir-fried together to produce a juicy, smoky dish, guaranteed to leave you licking your lips for more, then this is for you.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a huge special mention to the Momos of Sikkim; these glorious little balls of steamed greatness, are great for a snack or as a meal aperitif.
- Arunachal Pradesh – Apong
- Assam – Masoor Tenga
- Manipur – Iromba
- Meghalaya – Jadoh
- Mizoram – Zu
- Nagaland – Rice Beer
- Sikkim – Momos
- Tripura – Chakhwi
East Indian Food
If you’re a fan of fish, then West Bengal’s Bhapa Ilish will not fail to entertain your senses and leave you feeling full and satisfied. The dish combines the soft texture of a steamed Hilsa fish, with a tangy green chilli and mustard paste, that sends you into an aromatic wonder-filled state.
- Bihar – Litti Chokhar
- Jharkhand – Dhuska
- Odisha – Fish Orly
- West Bengal – Bhapa Ilish
South Indian Food
If you ever fancy trying a dish that tastes as good as we imagine relaxing on a white sandy beach feels, then perhaps Andhra Pradesh’s native dish is right for your taste buds. The dish, Hyderabadi Biryani, is usually made up of chicken or goat, infused with zesty lemon and creamy yoghurt, and our favourite part: lashings of fiery, vibrant saffron.
- Andhra Pradesh – Hyderabadi Biryani
- Telangana – Gongura Gosht
- Kerala – Avial
- Tamil Nadu – Uthappam
- Karnataka – Bisi Bele Bhaat
West Indian Food
Pav Vada is a popular street food snack regularly consumed by most Maharashtrians…regularly. This Indian burger consists of two parts: the bun and the filling. The Pav is a soft, thick bun that blankets the scrumptious, spicy and deep fried potato patty that makes up the filling of this delectable dish. Usually, people will add their own mixture of chutneys and sauces to elevate this dish to sky-rocketing taste and enjoyment levels.
- Goa – Vindaloo
- Maharashtra – Pav Vada
- Rajasthan – Daal Baati Choorma
- Gujarat – Thelpa
Central Indian Food
Okay, so there are only two here, so we reserve the right not to choose and just tell you about both! First of all there is Bafauri: a sweet delicacy, made using Chana Daal that usually comes out around times of celebration or during festival, much to everyone’s happiness and joy!
Then there is Poha. Poha is effectively rice, which doesn’t sound too exciting until you hear what is then done to this base ingredient to turn it into a wondrous dish. Kanda Poha is a protein packed breakfast dish, including ingredients such as boiled potatoes, peanuts, and obviously onions; spices usually include turmeric and chilli powder, with a little lime juice on top to bring it altogether.
- Chhattisgarh – Bafauri
- Madhya Pradesh – Poha
What’s Your Favourite Food in India? Let us know in the comments below.