Food and travel go hand-in-hand. There is probably no better way to experience the soul of a place than through its food – how better to do that than to attend a food festival, where one can attend hands-on cooking demos, meet upcoming chefs, interact with fellow foodies and sample local specialties?
In the past couple of years, food festivals in India have come a long way. Cities across the country have become ‘foodie centrals’ with an exciting lineup of food festivals that will leave you spoilt for choice.
So, celebrate all things delicious with a visit to at any of these 15 fabulous food festivals. Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, learn about the latest health food fads, or simply sample the goods, these epicurean extravaganzas are sure to be an experience you will remember for a long, long time!
1. National Street Food Festival
Be it chaat, momos or the spicy chole kulcha, Delhiites just love their street food. The NASVI National Street Food Festival brings much-loved street delicacies from different regions of India to one place. Little wonder the foodies in the capital are gung ho about hosting this festival!
Where: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
2. Mei Ram-ew
A little-known ethnic food festival of Meghalaya, Mei Ram-ew is an effort by North-East Slow Food and Agro-biodiversity Society (NESFAS) to preserve and promote the various forest-foraged and locally-grown foods that are cooked and served by indigenous communities of the Northeast India.
Where: Sacred Grove, Mawphlang, Meghalaya
3. Asian Hawkers Market
Spread over three days, the Asian Hawkers Market is a unique, one-of-its kind al fresco food festival with sights, sounds, smells and tastes that could easily be mistaken for the streets of a busy Southeast Asian market. With food stalls serving a variety of dim sums, sushi rolls, tempura, stir fries and seafood platter, this fiesta brings the best of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines under one roof.
Where: Select Citywalk, Delhi
4. Great Indian Food Festival
With over 75 food stalls from over 12 states – from paranthas to butter chicken, halwas to ice creams, galouti kebabs to a multitude of chaat – the Great Indian Food Festival has enough variety to send you straight into a culinary coma. The festival also hosts exciting competitions such as golgappa-gulping competitions and vada pav-eating competitions!
Where: Dilli Haat, Delhi
5. The Grub Fest
The Grub Fest is a perfectly enthralling assemblage of food, fun and entertainment. Along with culinary workshops, an organic food market, music performances and a host of popular restaurants, the festival also has a special arena for mini-food trucks called the Grub Mile. To top it all, they also screen films about food – imagine slurping up some spaghetti while watching Ratatouille!
Where: New Delhi, Pune, Mumbai
6. Goa Food and Cultural Festival
A Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) initiative, Goa Food and Cultural Festival is a celebration of the sunshine state’s authentic cuisine, rich heritage and vibrant folklore. With over 70 stalls serving much-loved traditional delicacies, the festival showcases why Goan cuisine is much more than just fish curry and rice.
Where: DB Bandodkar Grounds, Campal, Panaji
7. Palate Fest
A much-awaited three-day food and music festival, Palate Fest brings together some of the most loved restaurants, food stalls and even some embassy kitchens from across Delhi. There is also a Palate Fest Mini, a smaller version of the main festival, that sees Delhites coming over in huge numbers for a high dose of fun, food and frolic, in no particular order.
Where: Nehru Park, Delhi
8. Ahare Bangla
Food is a subject that evokes extreme passion in Bengalis. A five-day food festival organised by the West Bengal government, Ahare Bangla is a great place for foodies to get a taste of classic Bengali dishes (like bhapa ilish and kosha mangsho) alongside unique delicacies that they had never tried before (like emu steaks and aromatic tulai panji rice).
Where: Milan Mela Grounds, Kolkata
9. Foodistan, 10 Heads Festival
A miniature gastronomic fiesta, Foodistan is a part of a massive super-festival, the 10 Heads Festival. The name 10 Heads owes itself to the fact that this actually a constellation of 10 different festivals, created by 10 handpicked curators! From high-end restaurants and quirky food trucks to street food proprietors from Chandni Chowk, they all come together at Foodistan to take visitors on a memorable culinary adventure.
Where: Dhanchiri Camping Resort, NH-8, Gurgaon
10. Bengaluru Food Fete
The city’s biggest food festival, Bangalore Food Fete brings together the city’s top cafes, restaurants, bars and food trucks. Other than creating a platform to help home chefs, amatuer bakers and aspiring restaurateurs, the fest also play host to stand-up comedians, flamethrowers, live music and dance performances. This year, it will stage the city’s biggest Zumbathon!
Where: Karle Infra Cricket Grounds, Bengaluru
11. Bhukkad Flea
A unique meeting ground for foodies from every part of Mumbai, Bhukkad Flea is exclusively organised for home chefs, food start-ups, small eateries, street vendors and women entrepreneurs. At this awesome fest, one can taste 100 different types of food in one platter while enjoying some great live music!
Where: Corona Garden, Bandra West, Mumbai
12. Sattvik Food Festival
Organised by the NGO Sristi for the past fourteen years, Sattvik Food Festival has over 75 stalls selling healthy, delicious and innovative dishes from across the country. Popular specialities include oats tikki chaat, makai na paania, soya cutlets,spinach roll, beetroot halwa, dates biscuits, pineapple jalebi, tomato halwa, aloe vera pickle, red bhindi juice and organic soya paneer.
Where: AES ground, Ahmedabad
13. Itsy Bitsy Food Festival
India’s first zero-wastage food festival, Itsy Bitsy allows customers to enjoy a wider spread of dishes while reducing food wastage. At this unique festival, over 30 food stations (set up by some of Mumbai’s most popular eateries) serve bite sized portions of regular dishes. After the festival, all non-reusable material from each food station is donated to the Roti Bank team and Robin Hood Army, an organisation that supplies surplus food to the underprivileged.
Where: High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, Mumbai
14. Restaurant Week
A celebration of the finest culinary experiences at formal fine dining restaurants across India, Restaurant week is currently held across Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. It showcases specially- curated, prix fixe, three-course menus priced at a fraction of a la carte rates, allowing foodies to partake of cuisines as varied as Vietnamese and Persian.
Where: Across India
When: Get more info here.
15. Food Truck Festivals, Across India
Food truck festivals are taking over Indian cities big time, with Delhi recently hosting its first ever food truck festival – Horn OK Please. The Bangalore Food Truck and Music Festival is being organised for the last four years while Mumbai and Ahmedabad hosted their first food truck festivals last year. With scrumptious meals on wheels, foot-tapping music and a lively ambience, it’s not surprising that this festivals are huge crowd-pullers!
Note: Dates and venues vary for food truck festivals