Lucknow, almost never, figures in a traveller’s list when looking for getaway options from Delhi. I wonder why. It has everything for an ideal short weekend travel options, especially from the capital city.
About a century ago, there lived a Nawab who was a kebab aficionado. As age caught up with him and he lost his teeth, he announced a contest under which whoever made the softest and most luscious of the dish would be awarded royal patronage. The victor in this contest was Haji Murad Ali, who used 160 spices to make the award-winning kebabs. Apparently, the man had only one hand and hence the dish came to be known as the famous tunday kebabs.
Hundred years hence, the name lives on and is almost synonymous with Lucknow and the recipe, a family secret, is still considered award-winning. It is primarily this name that has made kebabs and Lucknow inseparable.
If you are a vegetarian or not a kebab fan, fret not. There is a lot in store in Lucknow’s kitchen that makes it a foodie’s paradise. As I walk around the streets of Lucknow, I wonder why the city never made it to my list of weekend-getaway destinations before. Just an overnight train journey away, the city is an ideal spot for a gastronomical holiday.
If you are a mutton or beef fan, your best bet is to head to Gol Darwaza area and start your day with Nihari Kulcha. Originally a beef preparation, it is now mostly made with mutton cooked in thick spicy gravy and served with kulchas (bread). However, if you do not like meat in your breakfast then choose poori aloo from the menu. End the meal with hot and fresh ghee jalebi.
To allow the delicious meal to settle in and to get a taste of history, it is a good idea to take a tour of the fascinating Bada
Imambara and Bhool Bhulaiya (Labriynth). Tunday Kababi is undeniably the best place to savour the delicacies. There are two outlets — one in Aminabad and the other in Gomti Nagar. The former requires you to meander through the narrow lanes of the old city; the latter is located in a far lesser crowded area.
Tunday are essentially galawati kebabs, best savoured with sheermal or ulte tawa ka parantha. Other good choices can be shami kebab, boti kebab, majlisi kebab, reshmi kebab and kakori kebab. For dinner, visit Dastarkhwan in Hazratganj where you can get a taste of authentic Mughlai food. Or go to Naushijaan for some more kebabs. The best way to end the meal is with the famous sweet shahi tukda. A close second is paan, which is available in incredible varieties.
Your visit to the city will be incomplete without relishing the local chaat too. So during your stay, in between sam-
the rich delicacies do leave some evening time and appetite for crispy aloo tikki, batashas (gol gappas) and matar chaat. Shukla Chaat Stall on Shanazaf Road tops the list of the best shops.
There are options in this culinary heaven. Whatever there is an eatery for you in the city — range restaurants Hazratganj to star hotels street food and coffee shops. You will, in fact, be left wanting for more of the delightful local delicacies even after you leave
Shopping tip: What’s a trip to Lucknow without a bagful of chikan clothes. I got good deals at a small shop called Shri Sewa in Hazratganj. Bewarned, some markets are closed on Sunday. The popular areas are Chowk, Sadar, Aliganj, Indira Nagar and Gomti Nagar.
Best way to reach: Train is the best option from Delhi; it’s an overnight journey. (The station is disgustingly horrible but don’t judge the city by its station!)