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Hazratganj is the hot-pot of Lucknow’s famous Nawabi-Awadhi culture and the fast paced life Lucknow has recently been introduced to. Knowing a city and knowing a city through its food are two completely different things. If you want to truly explore the city, it’s culture and it’s past and present delve into its food. Look at what people eat on a daily basis, which food joints are popular and which restaurant chain is mushrooming the most and you would know the city inside out.

Much like any other city, Lucknow’s food culture too tells a tale about it and if you truly want to hear all the gastronomical stories Lucknow has to offer, go to wise Hazratganj and she will tell you tales that you won’t hear anywhere else. This is where you will find the true Awadh, the basket chat eating, chai slurping, noshing on delicious biryani Awadh who won’t be found elsewhere in the city.

Kebabs and Rolls

If you come to Lucknow or live here, it is almost impossible to ignore or not fall in love with the delicious kebabs the city has to offer. We fall a little more heads over heels with the delectable juicy and meaty bites of heavenly goodness and flavour. If you too are looking for some, read on:

Dastarkhwan is not a name we are unaware of, it is an icon of a restaurant in Lucknow and we absolutely adore it. They are known for many things but we cannot seem to have enough of their juicy kebabs, chargrilled to perfection! Open-Air Restaurant is another favourite when it comes to kebabs, you cannot go wrong with a delicious mutton seekh or a tangdi here.

For perfectly wrapped rolls, we suggest the good and dependable Rollarappa, the rolls chain has had us smitten from the beginning and we would suggest you try their classics: chicken tikka, paneer tikka, mutton seekh and egg masala. TBH we love them. Sahu in Hazratganj is the perfect place to grab some deliciousness rolled up in a paratha, we would like to give them props for keeping is simple, classic, yet oh-so delicious!

Special Mention: Now we know a chaap is not a kebab, but the one at Sahu is so beautifully made, it’ll make you tear up. So, if you looking to indulge into a delicate piece of meat, that has been tenderized and cooked to perfection, head to Sahu.

Mughalayi Essentials: Tandoori Chicken, Gosht and Biryani

Okay, so when we talk of tasting the city’s culture how can we leave the age old Mughlayi behind. If you’re looking for some flavourful, aromatic and succulent dum biryani, which is layered to perfection, head to the classic Dastarkwan, Naushijan or Royal Cafe. The subtle art of making the classic Awadhi biryani with fluffy rice and soft succulent mutton/chicken pieces, can be thoroughly enjoyed at the said restaurants. Make sure to ask for your extra saalan, raita and onions, because what is an Awadhi biryani without the side of extra salan.

If you’re a fan of the charred tandoori chicken, beautifully grilled on open flames and marinated to softness or the spicy gosht that’s swimming in a thick-rich gravy, make your way to Dastarkhwaan, Open-Air, Naushijan and Sahu. You will not go wrong with the classics, they are called classics for a reason.

Cooling Milk Shake/Thandai/Milk Badaam

Summers are officially upon us and nothing helps more than a chilling beverage that takes the edge off and helps us cool down a bit. To help quench your thirst as well as satisfy that sweet tooth, head to Raju, Chhedilal, Chaudhari Shakes for the necessary cooling down. Raju is known for their Thandai and Milk Badaam, they are the absolute king of flavours and you cannot go wrong here.

Whereas Chhedilal and Chaudhary shakes are known for their cooling fruity and classic milk shakes. Be it a vanilla, chocolate, coffee, mango or strawberry you’ll find it all here. And you know they’re good because they were here before the likes of keventers and milkshake factory graced the city.

Chat

How can we even mention a food tour and leave chat out of our list. People of Lucknow love their chats, from the evergreen paani ke batashe, aaloo tikki and matar to the more exotic basket chat, papdi chat and palak patta chat, we’ve had and loved them all. So it would be absolutely obnoxious to not talk about chat when we talk about Hazratganj.

At King of Chat, Moti Mahal, Jain, Shukla and Dixit (we know they are all surnames but believe us they are amazing AF) you’ll find the best of everything you’re looking for. From crispy aaloo tikki to tangy matar and spicy paani ke batashe, these people have a plethora of options. We recommend King of Chat, Shukla and Dixit’s aloo tikki, matar and papdi chat while Moti Mahal and Jain’s paani ke batashe.

And we all know, if you’re looking for basket chat you beeline to Royal Cafe and won’t be disappointed.

Chai

Chai drives Lucknow, if you see us all high and happy, know that we’ve had a steaming cuppa awesomeness. You’d probably go straight to Sharma if you hear ‘Chai’ and Hazratganj in the same line, but honestly we are over the entire Sharma gimmick. The tea here WAS the talk of town, it was the staple, it was, was being the keyword here-Sharma today has simply lost its way.

So if you are looking for a great cup of tea and/or a buttery bun, we’d recommend Shukla, Prem, Kevval (behind Royal Sky) to satisfy your chai craving. These places do justice to chai, tea leaves brewed in a giant pot, hissing-bubbling and simmering away to make us go cray-cray over it.

Khasta-Kachori-Poodiyan

Khasta-kachori is a breakfast staple of this city, especially for vegetarians. People love them some deep fried oily goodness in the morning. The heavy breakfast keeps us going through the day. Bajpayee, Shukla, Ajay Gupta who is better known as “GPO ke paas wale cycle wale bhaiya”, Parampara and Neelkanth should on top of your list when you’re looking to find spicy aaloo, crunchy khasta, spice filled kachoris and deep fried golden poodiyan.

We are absolutely in love with Neelkanth’s khasta, paneer pakoras and Bajpayee poodi bhandaar’s aaloo-poodi.

Chinese/Asian

Since, we are writing about a food tour, we cannot overlook our obsession with oriental cuisine. If like us, green chicken curry, hot garlic, soy vinegar and dumplings are a staple of your diet, head to Wok to Remember, Jone Hing, Royal Cafe and Chopsticks.

Wok to Remember is our top pick, the way they make Chinese and Asian is beyond us. It is just pure bliss in a box, you can customize things, make them healthier or simply go for the classics. Wok will not disappoint you. We recommend trying their Chicken dimsums (best in town) and the Kung pao Chicken for an experience you will not forget easily.

Jone Hing is another gem of a place that does justice to the cuisine and makes us all warm and comfortable with the many soups, noodles and stir fries. They are the definition of comfort food.

Royal Cafe and Chopsticks are right there with the other two, though a tiny bit Indianised, their versions have us hooked, we are the addicts and they- the dealers.

Jalebi

Jalebi is an answer to every food question. Need breakfast? Have jalebi. An afternoon snack-get some jalebis. Need a dessert? Well you know by now. Get a jalebi already.

For a deep fried orange jalebi, that is not just crispy, but sweet enough, pretty enough and dainty enough, head to Neelkanth, Parampara or Moti Mahal and you will have the jalebi of your dreams.

Honourable Mentions

Hazratganj is full of good food and great food places to try. Some though, didn’t find their way into specific categories, we would like to make a special mention for the classic restaurants that have forever made Ganjing a much more fun experience for us.

Marksmen’s South Indian, CCD’s iconic colourful exteriors and the dependable coffee, Rovers’ thali and mutton burger, Cool break’s Chinese and GPO ke dahi bade, will forever have a place in our heart and our stomachs.

So before we come up with another guide, head to Hazratganj and make a food-trip out of your day. Keep a watch on this place for more.

Happy Eating.

Tom Junod once said, "You don't have to love cooking to cook, but you have to do more than love baking to bake. You have to bake out of love." And these home bakers of Kanpur are doing exactly the same! If you believe life is too short to say no to calories and cake, read on about these dynamic bakers who are baking deliciousness out of love.

A dessert lover would understand the importance of quality baked goods and if you are one of them, we have compiled a list of some of the best home entrepreneurs in Kanpur:

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Fighting against hunger, THESE 5 NGOs are a silver lining for the needy in Lucknow!

This World Food Day, get to know about these 5 NGOs fighting against hunger in Lucknow

There is an abundance of food-delivery apps in the market today that have managed to reduce the gap between your homes and restaurants. However, there is no such modern solution to bridge the long-prevailing gap between a one-time meal and the underprivileged. No matter how developed any city in India is today, the issue of hunger is a prominent one everywhere, and Lucknow is no exception.

But keeping intact our faith in humanity, are certain groups and individuals who're working round the clock to ensure that each day, the number of people going to sleep hungry, reduces significantly. This World Food Day, get to know about 5 NGOs working towards this cause and provide them with your support however you can. A little help goes a long way!

Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation spread across India that operates a school lunch programme (Mid-Day meal). Established in the year 2000, the aim of this organisation is to counter classroom hunger and aid in the education of children. Reportedly, it feeds more than 18 lakh children every day, across the country. With its presence in several cities including Lucknow, the Akshaya Patra Foundation also worked to distribute food among the migrant workers during the COVID crisis last year. Donate to this noble cause by clicking on the website link attached below.

Contact: 097924 48359

Website: The Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Robin Hood Army

The Robin Hood Army is a volunteer-based organisation that was established in 2014 by Neel Ghose and Arushi Batra. This establishment works to get surplus food from restaurants and the community, to serve less fortunate people. The idea behind the conception of this NGO is to create self-sustained chapters across the world, that will look after its local community. Like all the other chapters, Lucknow Chapter of this volunteer-based organisation conducts various drives across the city. If you wish to become a part of this group log on to their official website now!

Contact: Send a mail on info@robinhoodarmy.com

Website: The Robin Hood Army

Roti Bank

Roti Bank is a citizen led organisation who's primary aim is to provide food to the needy. To attain this goal, Roti Bank has a team spread across the country including a bunch in Lucknow that is purely dedicated to the cause. Roti bank collects left-over and excess food from homes and events and distributes it among the needy. One can donate in cash or kind or even volunteer to become a part of this thoughtful initiative. Click on the website link to know more about this organisation.

Contact: 7905881802

Website: Roti bank Lucknow

Vijay Sri Foundation

Vijay Sri Foundation is a non-government organization, that was launched in the year 2009 in Lucknow. The main objective of this organisation was the distribution of food to the needy poor in hospitals. Initially, home-cooked food packets were distributed among attendants of poor patients admitted in various wards of Lucknow's King George Medical College. Gradually, the operations grew to other hospitals in the city as well. Currently, around 900 patients are served food everyday, under its "Prasadam Sewa" campaign. To join their team or contribute monetarily, log on to their official website.

Contact: 099358 88887

Website: Prasadam Sewa

Feeding India

Found in the year 2014, Feeding India was formed to solve the complex challenges of food wastage, malnutrition and hunger in India. As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Zomato acquired this organisation in 2019 to deal with these issues. With its presence in Lucknow, Feeding India by Zomato designs interventions to decrease hunger among the communities that are underserved. If you wish to donate or know more about this organisation check out their official website.

Contact: Write to them here

Website: Feeding India

Knock Knock

Even though these organisations are working hard to improve the situation, it is upon all of us to make sure that we don't waste food and do whatever we can to help and feed the poor. To fight and beat the global problem of hunger, a collective effort is a must!

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