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Beyond Biryani: 8 Must-Try Local Delicacies in Hyderabad & Where To Find Them

Searching for must-try local food in Hyderabad? From savoury paaya to creamy Irani chai, here's a mouthwatering list of dishes to savour on your next trip to Hyderabad!

Beyond Biryani: 8 Must-Try Local Delicacies in Hyderabad & Where To Find Them

Nestled amidst the whispers of history and the fragrance of spice, Hyderabad unfurls itself as a hub of culture. In this City of Pearls, each street corner tells a story, each scent an ode to a bygone era.

The culinary delights of the city are known worldwide, with the famous Hyderabadi biryani leading the way. As the sun sets, the city becomes even more vibrant with twinkling lights and delicious food places. The aroma of kebabs, biryanis, and paaya engulfs the city, sending its visitors into a food coma.

If you are visiting this city of coma-inducing aromas of food, what you’ll need is a fool-proof guide of what not to miss eating in the city. Well-known for its biryani, The Better India has gathered a list of foods you should try other than the epic biryani. Some of these suggestions are even backed by some of the biggest foodies in the country.

1. Irani Chai

Pride of every citizen of Hyderabad, Irani chai is something that you cannot miss. Originating from Persian immigrants who settled in the city, this tea carries with it a legacy that spans generations.

Served in small cups, the tea is a blend of strong, aromatic black tea infused with spices like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, with cream simmered to perfection. Usually paired with crisp, buttery Osmania biscuits or decadent Irani samosas, sipping Irani chai in the bustling city is an experience you cannot miss.

Chef Sarash Goila, a lover of this creamy tea, took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his love for the chai and recommended Cafe Bahar. He recommends sipping the creamy tea with “Osmania biscoot”.

2. Lukhmi 

Lukhmi, a culinary gem originating from the royal kitchens of Hyderabad, is a savoury pastry that embodies the city’s rich gastronomic heritage. A breakfast dish, it will be perfect to start your day with.

Lukhmi is typically made by enclosing a spiced minced meat filling, often lamb or beef, within layers of thin, flaky pastry dough. The small squares or triangles pastries are deep-fried to golden perfection!

According to Chef Ranveer Brar, Hotel Nayab is the best place to try this delicacy. In a YouTube video, he is seen exploring the city and visiting the decades old iconic eatery.

Lukhmi is a savoury pastry with a royal history.
Lukhmi is a savoury pastry with a royal history

3. Osmania Biscuits

Osmania biscuits over the years have become synonymous with the culinary identity of Hyderabad. Named after the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, these biscuits have a unique buttery texture to them.

They are typically made with a combination of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs, resulting in a crumbly yet melt-in-your-mouth texture. They can be found in bakeries and tea stalls across Hyderabad, where they continue to delight locals and visitors alike with their irresistible charm and timeless taste.

4. Paaya

If you have not tried Paaya yet, then you are missing out on a whole new culinary experience. The preparation of paaya involves a meticulous cooking process, where the trotters are first cleaned and then simmered for several hours with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaves.

This slow cooking allows the flavours to meld together, resulting in a hearty and nourishing broth. Local food blogger and YouTuber Bhukka Nawab, with over 56.7k followers, suggests visiting Hotel Misken for the best Paaya in town. Besides, you can also visit Shah Ghouse, Maqdoom ke Paya and Nayab Hotel for paaya.

5. Khubani-ka-Meetha

This list would be incomplete without mentioning this delicacy from the city. The name “Khubani-ka-Meetha” translates to “Sweet made from Apricots”, reflecting its key ingredient. This dessert is typically made from dried apricots, which are soaked overnight until they become soft and plump.

As per a Lifestyle Asia article,  “Legend has it that Mughal emperor, Babur, loved this simple preparation that originally came from Ferghana in Uzbekistan, that was supposed to have been his native land.” The article suggests to try Meethe Miya ‘s Qubani ka Meetha in Film Nagar.

Hyderabad's beloved Khubani-ka-Meetha
Hyderabad’s beloved Khubani-ka-Meetha.

6. Jauzi Halwa

Another traditional dessert of Hyderabad, Jauzi Halwa also known as Jauziya Halwa or Jauziyana Halwa, is a delectable dish that holds a special place in every resident’s heart. It is made with Jauzi or Jowar, which is also known as Sorghum, a nutritious and gluten-free grain widely cultivated in India.

To prepare this halwa, the Jauzi grains are first soaked overnight to soften them. Then, they are ground into a coarse paste, which forms the base of the halwa.

Jauzi Halwa
Jauzi Halwa

The ground Jauzi paste is then cooked with ghee (clarified butter), sugar, milk, and aromatic spices such as cardamom, saffron, and nutmeg. In a food interview for Times Foodie, chef Ranveer Brar takes his guest to the iconic Hameedi confectionery to try the delicacy. 

7. Haleem

Haleem is a savory and hearty stew that is immensely popular in Hyderabad, as well as in other parts of India, Pakistan, and the Middle East. The dish is made by slow-cooking a mixture of lentils, usually a combination of wheat, barley, and sometimes rice, along with meat (typically lamb or chicken), until it reaches a thick, porridge-like consistency.

This slow cooking process, often lasting several hours, allows the flavours to meld together, resulting in a rich and velvety texture.

With over hundreds of people visiting the place everyday, you should try Pista House’s haleem at least once in your life. Garnished with fried onions, fresh cilantro, mint leaves, and a squeeze of lemon, Pista House Haleem is a feast for the senses, captivating diners with its irresistible aroma and sumptuous taste. 

Haleem - a must-try dish of Hyderabad.
Haleem – a must-try dish of Hyderabad.

8. Pathar ka Gosht

If you are in Hyderabad and have not tried the delicious Pathar Ka Gosht, your trip is incomplete. Pathar ka Gosht, which translates to “Meat cooked on stone”, is prepared by cooking marinated meat on a hot stone, infusing it with a unique smoky flavour and tender texture.

As the meat cooks on the hot stone, it absorbs the heat, resulting in a seared exterior and a juicy, succulent interior. If you are looking for the perfect place to try them, then Bade Miyan Kabab is the answer. According to a News18 article, the place is one of the best in Hyderabad and “they (the restaurant) have been following the recipe since 1954, encompassing two generations. The tradition of making Patthar Ka Gosht is said to date way back to the Nizam era.”

Pathar Ka Gosht
Pathar Ka Gosht

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)

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