Travel and taste: 15 unique things you must try in India. My Indian stories continue! Life in India gives me a lot of new experiences and inspirations. I try to learn, see or taste something new each day. It is the taste part that I want to share with you today. What are the unique tastes in India that you shouldn’t skip? And if you have visited India already, did you try them all? Or maybe, that’s a perfect reason to return one day? Check this list!
15 UNIQUE THINGS YOU MUST TRY IN INDIA
I have written a lot of blog posts about India so far. All of them from a perspective of a foreigner living in India. What is different this time? I am not a foreigner anymore! 🙂 Now I am a citizen of India! Just recently, my OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card was issued. So this time, I am writing this article as a citizen of India!
Life is like Indian food. Both are tasteless without spices.
It is said in India that aloo parathas are ‘the best things to wake up to’. Parathas are one of the most popular unleavened flatbreads in India. Aloo means potato. Now imagine also melted butter and coriander chutney with it. One is sure: during your visit to India, do not skip aloo parathas for breakfast. One of a kind! Where did I have the best parathas? Two places: at home in Bangalore and in Delhi in Paranthe Wali Gali. Must try in Delhi.
My favorite breakfast in India? Dosa! I miss dosas whenever we travel to Poland. Dosas are thin pancakes or crepes originating from the south of India. They are made from a fermented batter, a mixture of lentils and rice. There are so many types of dosas! My favorite ones are onion dosa or paper plain. Try also masala dosa. Or if you are more hungry, paper masala one! My favorite dosas? Number 1: at home 🙂 I recommend MTR dosas (legendary name in South of India) or Shiv Sagar Veg Restaurant in Bangalore.
Dharwad peda is an acquired taste! I would never say before that I would fall in love with them!
Very yummy sweets, unique to the state of Karnataka. The history of Dharwad peda is over 175 years. It has won GI (Geological Identification) tag, number 80. Paneer, milk, and sugar are the main ingredients of this sweet.
Best Dharwad pedas? You can head to the city of Dharwad, which is 440 km northwest of Bengaluru. Pedas originate from there. I wish we could go there!
Alternatively, try Dharwad pedas from the Anand Sweets & Savouries. Too yummy and addictive! 🙂
Garlic naan is an Indian flatbread, well-known globally. You might have tried it outside of India, in the Indian restaurants. Of course, the yummiest and the most authentic garlic naan you can find in India! I love the traditional version of the naan. It is made in a tandoor (clay oven). Usually, people at home eat rotis and parathas. The naan is mostly eaten in restaurants. Where is it best? In any Indian restaurant with a tandoori oven.
I love jalebi sweets. What makes me smile about them the most? That I had tried jalebi for the first time: at my marriage in India! In my previous ten years of travels to India, I missed it! Yet, I ate it during my marriage reception party, and since then, I truly like it.
When eating jalebi forget dieting for a moment. Why? It is made by deep-frying maida flour batter in circular shapes. Then they are soaked in sugar syrup. People eat jalebi both warm or cold. I like it most warm, dipped in yogurt. Where to find the best jalebi? In some small streets of India!
Tip for eating the best jalebi: have it when it is freshly made, still warm. To make it even yummier, have it together with cold yogurt.
Mangoes! What is so unique about eating mangoes in India? If you visit India during the mango season (usually April to July), you will understand! In India, there are around 300 varieties of mangoes! A real ‘mangoes paradise’! Explore the street stalls or local fruit shops to enjoy these yummy fruits. And if you are hungry for more, check one of my recent articles dedicated to The Best Fruits in Asia You Can’t-Miss.
Masala chai (masala tea) is a classic drink in India, the most popular one (next to water :-)). So just like mangoes, you might have tried it in different corners of the world. Yet, the best taste is here, in India! If you happen to visit India. Try masala chai in various places as the taste can change a lot depending on the masala (spices) mixture that is added while making the tea. And if you can’t wait to travel to India, try this great Hebbarskitchen recipe. Make your own masala chai at home!
MEALS / thali
South Indian Meals, also known as Thali, are an experience for any foreigner. Meals are a combination of many dishes served together. A typical Thali includes rice, lentil, vegetables, roti, papad, yogurt, chutney or pickle, and a dessert. A few great things about meals! They are often served on banana leaves or a steel plate with many small bowls. When eating meals you can also ask for an additional portion of anything you want to eat more. Meals are cheap! Pay once for it, no matter how much you eat. You can find them in the South of India or south Indian restaurants across the country.
Moong dal namkeen is a mung lentil snack, light and tasty. It is a crispy fried snack made from split green gram, tossed with dry spices. Yum! I need to warn you first: it is so good that you might not stop the entire package at one go. Plus, these packages of moong daal are available nearly in every single shop. 🙂 So the risk of falling in love is really high! My favorite brand is the Halidram’s.
Palak Murukku, also known as Palak Chakli, is an Indian snack made with spinach (palak), rice flour, and chickpea flour. These are green-colored spiral snacks, loved by kids and adults. It is perfect for a munching snack with a cup of masala chai or a glass of beer. Yummy one? Try the Kozhi Kodens, available in many shops.
PAAN KULFI ICE CREAM
The most specific taste of an ice cream that I have tried so far: paan kulfi. So unique and so amazing! It is a frozen milk-based dessert. It is flavored with gulkand (rose jam) and paan (betel leaves). Kulfis are traditional Indian ice creams made from sweetened reduced milk. Where can you try the best paan kulfi? At the Barbeque Nation restaurant. And if you want to enjoy them at home, then try the NIC Natural Ice Creams.
I love pani puri (also known as golgappa, puchka) for two reasons: taste and experience! So delicious!
This yummy snack is s one of the most common street foods in India. Golgappas are crispy fried dough balls (puri). They are stuffed with potatoes, sprouts, spicy-tangy water (pani), and sweet chutney.
What about the experience? Pani and puri are usually served separately. Just before eating them, you need to pour the spicy-tangy water inside the crispy dough balls. And then eat each ball at once. That’s when the experience starts to compete with excellent taste. You can see golgappas in many Bollywood movies, for example, Queen or Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
Another classic dish: paneer tikka! Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese made from cow or buffalo milk. It is a non-aged and non-melting soft cheese. Paneer tikka is made from pieces of paneer cheese marinated in spices and grilled in a tandoor. It is so yummy! A must-try dish in one of the local Indian restaurants while in India. Tip for eating the best paneer tikka: sprinkle a bit of lemon and salt on the top. Yum!
Papdi chaat is a popular North Indian snack. It is delicious, as it has nearly all the flavors in each bite: spicy, sweet, and tangy.
Papdi chaat has crispy papdi or puri (crispy flour crackers). They are topped with boiled potatoes, crunchy onion, black chickpeas, tangy and spicy chutney, yogurt, and spices.
When I discovered it a few years ago, I kept on eating it nearly every second day. 🙂 Best papdi chaat? I would say one more time: Anand Sweets and Savouries.
Tip for eating the best papdi chaat: based on your spiciness level taste, papdi chaat can be easily adjusted. It is enough to mention it in advance so that less chutney and more yogurt can be added.
The last item is one more classic from India and the love of My Better Half: samosas! A samosa is a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling. Samosas can be prepared in different forms, usually triangular. However, depending on the region, you can also find cone or half-moon shapes. The most popular type is aloo samosa (spiced potatoes filling). Other varieties might include onions, peas, meat, or lentils. One thing to watch out for: when buying samosas, try to buy the less oily ones. And remember! ‘Keep your friends close and your samosas closer!’ Enjoy India! Enjoy Indian food!
Indian culture is the most complex and colorful culture on the planet. The way people look, their language, their food, their way of dressing, and their music and dance – everything changes every fifty or hundred kilometers in this country.Sadhguru
Moments that matter, no matter how unique.