Best Food in India

A trip to India is an opportunity to discover a world of cuisine beyond tikka masala and onion bhajis. India should be thought of more as a continent than a country, each region offering a markedly different culture, and thus cuisine.

Following the compass points: to the west Amritsar, the spiritual centre of Sikhism, with its buttery parathas and sticky-sweet jalebis; and to the east the City of Joy, Kolkata, famous for its Bengali fish curries, lavish desserts, and mouth-watering kathi rolls.

To the north and south we heartily recommend a guided food tour in Lucknow: the City of Nawabs, world capital of kebabs; or a foodie tour of Hyderabad, City of Nizams, its dum biryanis arguably the finest on the Subcontinent.

South Indian cuisine, largely invisible on our takeaway menus, is an unknown quantity to many. As a general guide think less bread, meat, and sauce; more spice, rice, and fish. Keralan food is very much linked to the coast: lots of fresh seafood, and a notable influence from Arabic traders, particularly in northern Kerala where you can take a mopillah cookery class.

Across the Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu is renowned for its banana leaf meals: rasam, sambar, dhal, and fresh vegetables served on piles of rice.  Amongst this simple but hearty fare a couple of enclaves stand out: the richness of Chettinad chicken is not to be missed, while Pondicherry is unique in India for its café culture and tantalising French-Tamil fusion cuisine.