What is the Food Capital of India: Delhi or Mumbai?

Harnoor Channi-Tiwary, NDTV  |  Updated: March 12, 2018 12:05 IST

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What is the Food Capital of India: Delhi or Mumbai?
Highlights
  • We did a Twitter poll to find out what people think
  • Delhi and Mumbai jostle for the No.1 position
  • However, Amritsar, Hyderabad and Lucknow also are in the running
If you have grown up in either of these cities, there is a chance that you will feel (very) strongly about it. Especially about its superiority to the other. Born and brought up in Delhi, I recently moved to Mumbai for a while. It came as no surprise that majority of the discussions I had there revolved around this topic. We Indians are a passionate lot. We like to take a stand and even more than that, we like to defend it till the cows come home. Thus, the moment I would tell anybody that I am from Delhi, the age-old debate would start off yet again. Delhi’s safety issues would be thrown into the discussion as would Mumbai’s lack of infrastructure.

After a point, I stopped taking part in these debates. To my mind, they were futile. Each city has its own nuances, and it really is the fact that they (and the thousands of other cities) are so distinct, that makes India such an incredible country.However, when it comes to food, cricket or Bollywood, we find it extra-difficult to be unbiased, so close are these topics to our heart. So when we went out and asked foodies across India which city deserves the crown of the Foodie Capital of India, answers flowed in freely. Here’s what we found.
 
Delhi's chole bhature, anyone?

The Poll
 
We asked food lovers on Twitter as well as food enthusiasts, bloggers, food consultants and critics for their opinion. The winner was not unanimous. Infact, there were many nominations of smaller towns across the country known for their culinary heritage. Hyderabad was a popular one, as was Lucknow. Known for their Nawabi food, both got the nod from us too.

Kolkata Tales

When we spoke to food experts, a third name that kept cropping up was Kolkata. As much as we love Bengali food, we tried to delve deeper into why the city deserved the top slot. Our columnist and head of Equus Advertising, Swapan Seth, who has grown up in Kolkata and now lives in Delhi, insists that there can be no other winner but Calcutta. The rolls, the devilled eggs and kosha mangsho, all justify the claim, he proclaims. Surprisingly, food blogger and columnist Kalyan Karmakar agrees. Even though he now lives in Mumbai and blogs about his food journey there, he strongly believes that Kolkata is the Food Capital of India. His reasoning is sound too. “Eating is serious business here”, he says. “People here have been obsessed with food way before food became sexy. The love for food is unabashed and unapologetic. Even working lunches here run into 10 courses”. It is tough to argue with that logic.
 
Devilled eggs

Other Cities – Bhopal, Indore and Ahmedabad

Other cities that came up in our poll were Bhopal and Indore. Madhya Pradesh has always been the neglected child, so as to speak and we agree that there is much to explore in these cities. We were surprised to see that Ahmedabad did not figure in the list. Whenever we have traveled there, we have been witness to the obsession with food in local households. Ahmedabadis love food so much that on weekends the kitchen is usually shut and families choose to eat out and enjoy.

But, as expected, the final battle was between Mumbai and Delhi.  

Runner-Up

With 28% votes, Mumbai was a strong contender. The Pav Bhaji dished out in the city is unparalleled as is Misal Pav and some of the Koli fare. We love watching sunsets on Carter Road chomping away on a gyro or spend time with friends in Prithvi Café. Matunga is a no-brainer when you’re craving some food from down south and don’t even get us started on Chota Kebab at Hindustan Hotel, Minara Masjid. Mumbai has sky bars for glamourous evenings and Candies for a relaxed morning.
 
The undisputed hub of mouthwatering pav bhaji, misal pav, vada pav and other Maharashtrian delicacies.

And The Winner Is…

The clear winner, however, is Dilwalon ki Dilli. With 39% votes, foodies professed their love for the city and how. And we tend to agree. There is nothing to beat the chole bhature at every street corner, no one makes a better butter chicken than us, the chaat corners are a ready option for mid-meal snacks and Jama Masjid area the perfect place to indulge your taste buds. It is the city where state bhawans dole out fuss free and authentic meals and stalls at Dilli Haat offer regional indulgence. We have fancy restaurants like Lavaash and Q'la overlooking the Qutub Minar, a recent sprout of terrace restaurants and food for every budget. There would hardly be any cuisine which is not represented, and represented well, in the city. And the flavours are all exceptional. Authentic when you want them to be and customized to your palate like at Big Chill Café, if that is what you prefer.
 
An all-time hit: Delhi's street food

India has spoken and crown for the FOODIE CAPITAL OF THE COUNTRY goes to – New Delhi.

CommentsNow, let’s feast!

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