The people of Lucknow are known for their culinary skills and their love for food. What started as a means to satisfy the culinary desires of the opulent rulers has trickled down the levels of the society and has become a way of life for the city.
A true Lakhnawi’s finds immense pleasure in add-ons that are otherwise not considered significant enough to the recipe. For example, a Lakhnawi will prefer not to skip the overnight simmering of Paye over slow fire—the dum style of cooking native to the city. They will not have the “shabdegh”, a traditional Lakhnawi dish for dinner because it is meant to be had for lunch.
The people of Lucknow are very particular about the type of oil, spices, the material and the type of utensil to be used for cooking various dishes. They settle for nothing less than perfection!
The city is famous for its Mughlai cuisine. Kebabs in Lucknow only got refined and developed to perfection during the reign of the Nawabs who were particularly keen on this dish. The unique taste of the ‘melt in the mouth’ kebabs of Lucknow can be attributed to the eccentricities of the Nawabs who were so fond of good food that they had hundreds of royal bawarchees and rakabdars who were asked to dish out the most extravagantly rich and scrumptiously delectable dishes every day.
After the fall of the Nawabs, these royal chefs were rendered jobless and many of them had no choice but to open small road side dhabas or café to earn their livelihood.
The love for Lucknowi kebabs is not limited to the city. Lakhnawi kebabs have made it to national as well as international good food guides.
Lucknow’s most famous kebab joint, Tundey kebab is a century old shop and has successfully maintained the taste through the years with the same blend of secret spices. Started by the Late Haji Murad Ali, the shop was named so because the owner who lost one arm during an unfortunate kite flying accident later took to making kebabs using just one hand. The kebab shop has been visited by various Bollywood celebrities and political leaders and is the undoubtedly the best in terms of taste. The outlets of Tundey Kebab are present at Khurram Nagar, Gomti Nagar, Neelgiri in Indira Nagar and Sapru Marg in Hazratganj.
Those who would like to try out galauti kebabs, shami kebabs, boti kebabs, patilike kebabs, Kakori kebabs, Ghutwa kebabs and other varieties of kebabs the city is famous for, must visit Sakhawat, a local restaurant set off the main streets in a lesser known alley just behind the Oudh Gymkhana Club. The great grandfather of the current owner was a royal chef who later opened a small shop outside the Oudh Gymkhana.
Delectable kebab varieties are also served at Naushejaan (near Press Club), Daal mein Kaala, Dasterkhwan, ChoteNawab, Mughlai mahal, and the likes. Those who do not mind spending a little more may also try the kakori kebabs at the Oudhyana, Taj Residency, Falaknuma in Clarks Avadh, or the sizzler delights at Pavillion at Park Inn.
Lucknow’s love for food is unparalleled. Your trip to the city of nawabs is incomplete without trying out the delicious kebabs it offers!