It's the first
day of Ramzan and I've just landed in Lucknow; the best time to be in the city
when the streets of the old town are extra bright and teeming with
people especially in the evenings. The restaurants and nanbais (traditional bread makers) fire
up their grills and tandoors in the evening and stay open all night, churning
out kebabs, kormas and fresh breads till the time of sehri (the meal consumed before dawn before the fasting begins).
It's the time when the legendary
Rahim's in Phool Wali Galli is the most
crowded. The Rozadars (those who observe the vigorous Ramzan fast) walk in for
nihari and kulcha; the slow-cooked mutton eaten with fluffy and crispy kulcha
keeps them fuelled for the rest of the day. Another lesser known spot for
Raja Ki Nihari in Chowk .
Also Read: Ramzan-A Month of Fasting and Feasting
The markets start flooding with people for the Iftar meal in the evening. Traditionally, most people open their fast at homes. While dates are symbolic, there's also a range of (mostly vegetarian) light snacks cooked at home. Matar ki chaat (white peas boiled and topped with spices), kala chana (stir-fried and seasoned with spices), dahi phulki (moong dal fritters soaked in dahi), kachaloo (fruit chaat of seasonal fruits), maash ki dal (a dry preparation made with urad daal) are the mainstays on the dastarkhwan.
On the streets of old Lucknow (Chowk and Aminabad), you'll find stalls selling sut feni or sutar feni—thin, ready-to-eat vermicelli, which is usually available only during Ramzan. It’s pre-fried and can be just dipped in milk to be eaten instantly. Wade through the sea of people to find a spot at
Mubeen'swhich is packed through the evening. Settle with a plate of beef pasanda—thin, ribbon-like cuts of meat, which is pounded to be flattened further, marinated in spices and cooked on charcoal. Best way to have it is with sheermal, a saffron flavoured flatbread.
A little ahead of Mubeen's, you'll find an
old nameless shoprolling out a variety of breads and slapping them inside an earthen oven. Here you'll find all kinds of Awadhi breads—naan, sheermal, kulcha and the likes. You can pick a few breads from here, korma from Mubeen's and make a meal of it.
Make a quick stop at
for the famous beef galawati and paratha. A little ahead of Tunday, close to
Haji Abdul Shakur is a tiny shop that makes the best phirni. Also try
their habshi halwa made with milk and ghee.
Alamgiris where you'll find the old-timers. The restaurant is famous for its brain masala and bund gosht where mutton mixed with spices, sealed and cooked for hours. Mop up the kormas and stews with roomali roti. For the taste of Awadhi biryani, head to
Wahid,one of the oldest in Lucknow. Wrap it up with kulfi at
For a post-dinner stroll, head to Rumi Darwaza and Bada Imambada. The monuments are lit up once the sun goes down and make for a beautiful experience.
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