Culinary diversity is one of India's most important treasures. Each region has its distinctive culinary characteristics and numerous traditional dishes. Celebrating World Food Day, &TV artists list down their favourite street foods in their hometowns. These include Neha Joshi (Yashoda), Aayudh Bhanushali (Krishna), Anita Pradhan (Malti Devi) from Doosri Maa, Kamna Pathak (Rajesh Singh), Charrul Malik (Rusa) from Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, Aasif Sheikh (Vibhuti Narayan Mishra), Vidisha Srivastava (Anita Bhabi) and Saanand Verma (Anokhe Lal Saxena) from Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai.
About Maharashtrian cuisine, Neha Joshi, as Yashoda in &TV's Doosri Maa, shares, “Maharashtra's food culture is very diverse. Despite its diversity, Maharashtra cuisine features a strong presence of spices, tamarind, coconut, and kokum. Do not forget to indulge in the various delectable delights in the state. Vada Pav, my favourite Mumbai delicacy, is the most enticing. The shallow-fried vadas with extra green spicy chutney inside are a divine combination with an unusual flavour. Misal Pav is another popular pav preparation that I enjoy. Spicy, tangy lentil curry with pav (bread) is delicious. In Maharashtra, you will find different types of Misal Pav depending on where it's from, such as Nashik Misal, Mumbai Misal, and Puneri Misal, and believe me, I have tried them all. However, my all-time favourite is homemade delicacies like Varan - Bhat with toop (Ghee) and lemon, Puran Poli, ukhadhche modak and chicken rassa, mutton rassa with bhakri and fried fish.”
About Madhya Pradesh’s street food, Kamna Pathak, as Rajesh in &TV's Happu Ki Ultan Paltan says, “Madhya Pradesh’s cuisine has a lot of variety. People start their days with tasty poha and jalebi, available in every city. The Khatta Samosa, Moong Bhajiya, and Indori Namkeen are delectable. The food court at Sarafa Market is exceptional. The mildly spiced Churmura should not be missed on your next visit to the city. Sweets are my weakness, and whenever I visit my hometown, I cannot stop myself from gorging on amazing gulab jamuns and Kulfi Faluda.”
Talking about Delhi’s cuisine, Aasif Sheikh, as Vibhuti Narayan Mishra in &TV's Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai, shares, “Delhi is a melting pot of various cultures that enrich the variety of the gastronomic range in the city. The city has some of the best types of cuisines and iconic places to eat. Delhi is famous for its Parathas, Chaat, Butter Chicken, Kebabs, Chole Bhature, Biryani, Rolls, Nihari, Momos, and a wide variety of traditional sweets. I am a big foodie, and I eat everything I crave whenever I am in Delhi. To start with, Chicken Haleem Biryani with caramelised onions and green chillies is something I never miss. Also, the halwa paratha from Nizamuddin Lane in Delhi is my all-time favourite. It combines sweet and savoury halwa paratha topped with candied fruits (tutti frutti). But your visit to the city will be incomplete if you don't try the chole kulcha, aloo tiki chaat, gol gape, and the variety of parathas they serve. The list is endless. There are so many places that it is difficult to list down everything. I miss Delhi food and make it a point to indulge in an ambrosial meal whenever I visit the city.”
About Gujarati cuisine, Aayudh Bhanushali, as Krishna in &TV's Doosri Maa, says, “We Gujaratis always welcome people with open arms and a platter of food. Gujarat has a wide range of authentic and delicious foods that satisfy your taste buds. There's the famous Kutchi Dabeli, my favourite due to its filling on the inside. The pav is stuffed with potatoes, fried masala peanuts, and pomegranate seeds, then topped with sev and served with chutney. There's also seva khaman, which my mother and father prepare. It's a dish in which Dhoklas are mashed and seasoned with chat masala and sev, which I occasionally bring to Doosri Maa sets. In addition to thepla, my favourites are khakhra, chura, and khandvi. However, I recommend that people try Gujarati Thali whenever they visit the state because it contains amazing delicacies like Undhiyu, Rotlo, Kadi Khichdi, Aam Ras, and Ghugra with a variety of farsans and chuteny that are only available in Gujarat.”
Talking about her favourite foods in Chandigarh, Charrul Malik, as Rusa in &TV's Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, shares, “Blending the best of both Punjab’s and Haryana’s food, Chandigarh has a thriving culinary scene and is famous across the country. Khalsa Dhaba is one of the most popular dhabas in Chandigarh and offers delicious stuffed paranthas, Dal Makhani, Paneer butter masala, chana masala, and matka kulfi. It is a heavenly treat for all food lovers like me. Then there is mashed saag and crisp roti in a perfect blend. It is a must-try. Each bite and the extra butter on your plate define Punjabi Pride and elevate the dish to new heights (laughs).”
Talking about Uttar Pradesh’s cuisine, Vidisha Srivastava, as Anita Bhabi in &TV's Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai, shares, “Uttar Pradesh has a wide range of chaat options to choose from while visiting the city. It's the Batti Chokha dish, which is popular worldwide. It is a traditional dish that consists of a round wheat baati and chokha made of mashed potatoes, brinjal, and tomatoes served with chaat masala, green chutney, and desi ghee. The battis are baked in mud ovens, giving them a distinct aroma and flavour. It is my all-time favourite, along with Baati Chokha, Aloo Poori, Khasta kachori, and Banarasi tamatar chaat. I am from Varanasi, and the city has a delectably rich cuisine tradition – from steaming kachoris and jalebis to refreshing lassi and thandais. One dish you only get in Varanasi is Maliyoo garnished with saffron and pistachios at Godowlia market, and it is a must-try! The city has one of the most fantastic places to eat, and I make it a point to visit these places with my friends and family whenever I am here.”
Talking about Rajasthani cuisine, Anita Pradhan, as Malti Devi in &TV's Doosri Maa, shares, “The Pink City is also known for its mouthwatering cuisine, and people are frequently perplexed by such a diverse menu of dishes. Savouring the dishes in Jaipur is more than just a culinary experience; it is also cultural. Pyaaz kachori from Rawat Mishtan Bhandar is my favourite. You will always be tempted for more after tasting this delectable dish. Also not to be missed is the street food in Jaipur's famous Jawahar Circle or Birla Mandir; the various chaats, such as sev poori, bhel poori, and Dahi puri are the hearts of Jaipur. I want to say "Khao Jee Bhar ke" on this World Food Day.”
Talking about Bihari cuisine, Saanand Verma, as Anokhe Lal Saxena in &TV's Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai, shares, “Whenever I visit Patna, I make sure I have Litti Chokha, which is slow cooked on firewood, giving it an exceptional smokey taste. Dal Pitha is another dish that I cherish when I am in my hometown, Bihar. It looks like a dumpling but is made of rice flour with spiced lentils as the stuffing. Chana Ghughni, Dal Peetha, Khajuria, Kadhi Badi and Sattu Sharbat are also there. Balushahi, Khurma And Laktho, Pantua or Kala Jamun, Tilkut, Laai, Gur Anarsa, Parwal ki Mithai for traditional sweet lovers, Naivedyam, Chandrakala/ Pedakiya to a special type of Kheer named Rasia, Laung-Latika, Khaja and Malpua. One cannot just stop at one! Though I avoid sweet dishes, Kheer Makhana is something I would love to have, and Rabdi with dried fruits also makes for a heavenly combination. Lastly, I enjoy my mother's made Khajuri, Thekua which is very famous in Bihar. Happy World Food Day”.So, if you have not tried these local cuisines across different states yet, you are truly missing something!