Experiencing Food In Lucknow

Once the land of Nawabs, the city of Lucknow still retains the essence of delicacies it used to serve up to the Mughals. The culture of food in Lucknow, having its own identity, is known to be unparalleled in India. It's the birthplace of superior culinary delicacies like kaliya, sheermal, zarda, nihari-kulchas, kormas, warqi parathas, roomali rotis and more importantly, the various types of kebabs.

The Mughal Emperors' deputies, the Nawabs of Awadh, were from Persia. They were used to a certain diet like dry fruits, vegetables native to the country, grains, and meat in different forms. The preexisting cuisine of the Mughals, known as Mughlai cuisine, was further tweaked by adding the imported dry fruits and flavors of saffron which lead to creating new methods of cooking. According to Nawabi culture, adding dry fruits like apricots, almonds, pomegranates and figs to food symbolized prosperity and royalty. More importantly, the Awadhi style of cooking altered with every season and the festivities that were held.

  • Awadh Dastarkhwan
  • Mutton Biryani
  • Galouti Kebab
  • Nihari And Kulcha
  • Handi Chicken
  • Satvik Thali
  • Basket Chaat
  • Nimish
  • Kulfi

Awadh Dastarkhwan

When the Nawabs ruled the province of Lucknow, they quite liked their feasts (dawats). The Awadh dastarkhwan or the 'dinner served on the floor' in Lucknow would be incomplete without side dishes like kebabs (pounded meat that is either roasted or fried on charcoal fire), keema (minced meat), korma (thick gravy of braised meat), salan (either meat or vegetable gravy), pasinda (gravy of tender fried meat), daal (lentil soup) and bhujia (cooked vegetables), to go with rice either cooked as chulao (fried rice), pulao (pea rice) or plain.

All of this goes along with different types of bread like paratha or sheermal. Finally, dessert includs kheer (rice cooked in a thick consistency of milk), sheer birinj (a sweet dish of rice in milk) and gulati (rice pudding). In case you want to give this high-calorie yet perfect meal a try, you can visit The Mughals Dastarkhwan or the Dastarkhwan Restaurant. Both locations specialize in Awadh dastarkhwan.

Also Read: Lucknow Travel Guide

Mutton Biryani

Lucknowi biryani may come across as bland to many who have savored the taste of biryani from places like Hyderabad. The background to Lucknowi food has pulao much more than biryani, and the usage of fewer spices than in other cuisines. This is why it isn't surprising that the taste of mutton biryani might lean towards that of a pulao.

To savor a proper plate of Dum Biryani, cooked slowly in an earthen vessel and with the right amount of spices, visit Idris Dhaba. The dhaba was started by Mohammad Idris in the year 1968 and has mouthwatering Lucknowi biryani. It follows a secret recipe that includes herbs, milk, and saffron, and is cooked in the Dum style on charcoal stones. Wahid's Biryani is another place to get a seat to devour this dish.

Galouti Kebab

Keen for some kebab? Sink your teeth into galouti kebab, first made for a toothless Nawab in the same place that is now famous for serving it. Galouti is a meat patty made with aromatic spices and other ingredients. What makes galouti stand out is the various use of spices like star anise, black pepper and cardamom. All these spices add flavor to a batter of gram flour, yogurt and thick papaya paste. Minced meat is added in and made into patties which are then fried on a girdle of smokey charcoal.

The best place to taste this mouthwatering dish is at Tunday Kababi. Galouti isn't the only type of kebab available there; you can tryother types of kebabs like kakori kebabs, shami kebabs and boti kebabs. Another popular spot for kebabs is at Shekhawat's and NaushiJaan.

Also Read: The Ultimate Itinerary: 48 Hours In Varanasi

Nihari And Kulcha

Nihari comes from the Urdu word nihar that was derived from the Arabic word nahaar, translating to 'morning'. It was the breakfast dish of the Nawabs after their morning prayers. The dish is a stew which is made out of various types of meats like lamb, chicken or goat.

It is slowly cooked with a lot of spices packing in loads of flavor. This stew is served with a kind of fluffy bread called ghilaaf kulcha. Raheem’s Hotel, also known as Rahim Ke Kulche, is the most popular place to try this.

Handi Chicken

The term handi means earthen pot, and the name of the dish refers to how it's cooked. Chicken is cooked slowly in an earthen pot one meter inside a charcoal fire. Cooking the chicken this way ensures that all the flavor from the spices and herbs seep deep into the meat.

The spicy gravy is served hot along with the bread sheermal to go with it. To give this a try you can visit places like Badshah Nagar, Kalika Hut in Azamgarh, and Gomti Nagar. The streets in these places have the aroma of the slow-cooking gravy in the air,  indicating its existence to the foodies who seek it.

Satvik Thali

It's a misconception that Lucknow with its countless delicious meat dishes doesn't cater to the vegetarians. People who are vegetarians can also go on finger-licking and tasty food tours around the city, tasting the many delicious vegetarian dishes. One such fulfilling meal is the satvik thali that is prepared without mustard oil, garlic, or onion.

five best culinary experiences in india

The meal includes several dishes like puri kachori (bread made of lentils), a curry of potatoes and pumpkin, boondi ka raita (a refreshing savoury dish made out of fried chickpea flour in curd), and saunth ki chutney (spiced powdered ginger mixed with ripe mango). You can taste this meal in places like Madhurima Veg Restaurant, Moti Mahal Restaurant, Shree Rajbhog and Netram Ajay Kumar.

Also Read: Experiencing The Street Food In India

Basket Chaat

The Tokri Chaat or the Katori Chaat in Lucknow is a must-try. The terms tokri or katori translate to 'basket. Although it isn't a full-fledged meal like the dishes listed above, it's definitely a snack that must be tried. The spicy yet tangy dish incorporates a mix of papdi (crispy dough wafers), bhujia (crispy snack made from moth beans and gram flour), lentil fritters, aloo tikki (potato patties), and chickpeas topped with khatta chutney (a sauce made out of tamarind and chili) and yogurt.

This mix is garnished with sev (crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour), pepper, pomegranate, grated carrots and coriander leaves. It is served in small 'baskets' made with fried grated potatoes. Royal cafè at Hazratganj is just the right place to try this.


A dessert delicacy, Nimish is also referred to as makhan malai (milk pudding). Nimish is made with thick milk, cardamom, saffron, rose water and pistachio. It is quite light, creamy, and refreshing to taste. Additionally, it is adorned and sold with a silver leaf (chandi ka warq) on top. The right place to try nimish would be on Chowk street. Also try the Ram Asrey for nimish and many more sweet-and-sour desserts from their menu.


A slice of paradise for people with a sweet tooth, kulfi is a dessert made with a blend of malai (clotted cream), milk, kesar (saffron) and dry fruits. It's made by mixing the ingredients and freezing them to serve it fresh and chilled. The avant-garde way of making kulfis is to not use freezers anymore, and instead churn the ingredients in a matka (steel vessel made in a cylinder shape) filled with icicles.

Kulfis are available in many flavors like black forest, dark chocolate, rose, custard apple, strawberry and many more. Among these, kesar (saffron) kulfi is the oldest, most authentic, and most evergreen flavor. Prakash Kulfi at Aminabad has made quite the name among locals and tourists for their amazing kulfi.

Other places where you can try it are at Chanakya Ki Kulfi at Parivartan chowk, Moti Mahal, and Chhappan Bhog at Sardar Barazar with their fruit-flavored kulfis.

Honorable Mentions: Street Food In Lucknow

Tasting food in Lucknow would be considered incomplete without indulging in street chaats like papdi, ghugni, dahi vada, bhujia, chutneys, and the one and only pani-batasha that is available in a total of 5 flavors.

A few of the crowd favorites to taste these at are Radhey Lal in Aliganj, Royal cafè, Neelkanth in Gomti Nagar and Pandit in Aminabad. While you're at it, don't forget to get your hands on the matar ki chaat that is quite a local favorite at Shukla Chaat House.

Honestly, there are over 150 types of kebabs and several more dishes than anyone can count that are delectable in Lucknow. This brief list doesn't even skim the list of culinary masterpieces that need to be tasted in Lucknow, but it sure makes a good place to start.


What Is The Speciality Of Lucknow?

Lucknow is famous for its traditional embroidery style, called chikan embroidery. It attracts travelers from across India and the world, particularly those interested in textiles. Chikan embroidery can be found in Lucknow’s markets, each with a charm of its own.

What Is A Famous Sweet In Lucknow?

Apart from nimish and kulfi, Lucknow is known for its ‘kali gajar ka halwa’ (black carrots sauteed in ghee) enjoyed in winter, and shahi tudka (a rich sweet made with bread, ghee, sugar, milk and nuts).

What Is The Famous Food Of UP?

Uttar Pradesh has a range of famous dishes including Batti Chokha (wheat bread with vegetables), Bedhai (wheat puris with potato curry), and petha (pumpkin cooked in sugar syrup).

Is Lucknow Safe?

Yes. Lucknow is as safe as any other city in India. You can get around the city without a lot of issues. However, keeping an eye out for bad apples is recommended.

What Is The Famous Food Of UP?

Onw of the most famous food preparations in UP is the Uttar Pradeshi thali. It consists of dal, raita, naan, and shahi paneer. This state is also known to be big on snacking, with samosas being a staple.

What Is The Culture Of Lucknow?

The culture of Lucknow is something to experience. In fact, it is a huge factors as to why visitors enjoy a trip to Lucknow there so much. It is one that will make you feel warm, welcome, and at ease with a flair of sophistication.

What Is A Nickname Of Lucknow?

Lucknow is often called the Golden City, owing to its affinity towards the finer things in life like poetry (shayari), music, food, and the sophisticated mannerisms that are evidence to the Nawabi of this city.

What Is The Famous Dance Of UP?

Kathak, one of the six oldest dance forms in India, originates from Uttar Pradesh.

  • Region
    North India
  • Type Of Experience
  • Food You Must Try
    Awadh Dastarkhwan, Galouti Kebab, Tunday Kebab, Mutton Biryani, Nihari Kulcha, Nimish, Kulfi, Handi Chicken, Tokri Chaat
  • How Much Will It Cost Me?
    INR 100 Onwards
  • Exploring The Food In Lucknow
  • Street-Food In Lucknow
  • Awadh Cuisine In Lucknow