India is famous for many things: its vast population, breathtaking geography, and largely Hindu population. Its most famous export of all, however, is its cuisine. Indian food can be found in every corner of the world, whether it be a Rajasthani restaurant serving-up traditional Safed Maas in central London or a Keralan cookhouse dishing out Thalassery Biriyani in California. While the food in such establishments is often prepared with excellent quality, nothing can compare to the authentic experiences you will be offered with the best food tours to the mighty subcontinent itself.
India is a country of contrasts. The cities of Delhi and Mumbai are particularly striking, where poverty and wealth rub shoulder to shoulder. When you stop at traffic lights, for example, it is not uncommon to see a limousine pull up next to a man pulling a cart. This contrast permeates every aspect of life here — from the hectic city centres to the sprawling calmness of rural tea plantations, from the Himalayan Mountains to the Indo-Gangetic Plain, and from the great Thar Desert to the mazy waterways of the southwestern coast.
The sharpest and most delicious contrasts, however, can be found within the millions of kitchens — both amateur and professional — that feed the nation. Every one of India’s states boasts a unique culinary identity. As such, one of the finest ways to experience the colorful and varied culture of India is with a food tour. From street-side samosas in Udaipur to fancy restaurants in cities across the country, India always has something delicious to offer. It is the perfect place to discover the best food tours in the world. A vegetable curry in Goa will not taste the same as one made in Gujarat. And the residents of the Punjab make theirs differently compared to those from West Bengal. It is a culinary adventure full of spices and surprises. And it’s not all about destination eateries — some of the finest thalis can be found in roadside cafés and bus stops: simple, filling and flavoursome food served-up to a standard. They certainly beat a drive-through that’s for sure!
One important thing to bear in mind is the vastness of India. While a food tour exploring the country would certainly be the trip of a lifetime, one would need a couple of years to do it. As such, pick a route that offers a number of non-culinary attractions on your bucket list and fit the food around it. A trip that features wandering the streets of Delhi, visiting Taj Mahal, and a train to Goa, for example, can be completed in just a couple of weeks and mixes cultural intrigue with excellent culinary options!
It is also worth remembering that while meat is readily available across India, a large proportion of the population doesn’t eat it. As such, many of the best dishes are vegetarian. Cows are also considered sacred, so you won’t be eating much beef. Fear not, you won’t even notice — the food is that delicious!
Bon voyage and bon appétit, or kripyā bhojan kā ānnaṅd lijīyai, as they say in Hindi!