Inspiration Destinations India A Culinary Guide to India's Golden Triangle

A Culinary Guide to India's Golden Triangle

A delicious spread of North Indian delicacies like butter chicken, palak paneer, jeera alu, specially found in India's Golden Triangle – Luxury Escapes

From buttery, tandoor-grilled goodness to saffron-scented perfection, discover food at its culinary best in India’s Golden Triangle. 

Teeming with history and brimming with culinary gems, trace your way along India’s Golden Triangle - the city triad of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur - to discover a gastronomic heaven. Here, the shops sell sizzling melt-in-the-mouth kebabs, the aroma of freshly made sweets wafts in the air, simmering spicy curries and savoury snacks beckon. With an abundance of delectable, flavour-packed options, choosing when and where to begin can get overwhelming.

Read on to discover our favourite food picks from each city in the Golden Triangle and experience the best of the Golden Triangle’s foodie delights for yourself on Luxury Escapes’ exclusive India Signature Series tour, designed by Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan. 

What to eat in New Delhi?   

Besides being the country's capital, many foodies often crown New Delhi as the capital of great culinary discoveries. From hole-in-the-wall eateries in the city’s old quarters to glitzy establishments serving up innovative fusion fare, Delhi has it all. For the dedicated foodie, Delhi offers an invitation to experience and deep-delve into its kaleidoscope of flavours. Start by savouring the widely popular butter chicken. Simmered to a silky perfection, the rich, buttery texture of the gravy with tender pieces of smoky chicken is hard to resist, especially when paired with naan slathered with more butter (why not?) – this is a match made in the food heavens. Next, step up your palate game by trying the Punjabi classic dish, chole bhature – a fluffy deep-fried bread served with a delicious curry made out of chickpeas and topped with ginger juliennes and onion rings.

Delhi is also popular for its street food – called chaats, so be sure to try a variety, ranging from sweet, tangy, and spicy, to savoury and coming in myriad vegetarian combinations. Those with a sweet tooth can reward themselves with a bowl of shahi phirni – a lightly saffron and cardamom-scented rice pudding.

Food to try: butter chicken, chole bhature, dahi bhalla chaat, shahi phirni 

What to eat in Agra? 

Agra may be most well-known for the world-renowned Taj Mahal but its culinary clout is just as enthralling. Wander the ancient alleys of this city, teeming with history and towering forts and monuments, look beyond the Taj and you’ll be surprised. Start your discovery journey by trying agra ka petha – translucent jewel-sized cubes of ash gourd bathed in flavoured sugar syrup. Also in Agra are flavourful Mughal curries like the shahi qorma, influenced by Turkish, Persian and Afghan cuisine, and made with either meat or vegetables and braised with ground cashews, yoghurt, whole spices and topped with golden-fried onions - an unmissable taste of the city.  

For vegetarians, Agra promises options aplenty with a prominence of all-vegetarian Braj cuisine. Dig into the city’s breakfast favourite bedai, a fluffy, deep-fried pastry stuffed with lentils, served with spicy potato curry and a dash of yoghurt for a start to your day that’ll leave you wanting more. Also popular here are crispy reddish-brown jalebis – a scribbly-circular deep-fried flour batter, bathed in ghee and sugar. 

Food to try: agra ka petha, shahi qorma, bedai and aloo ki sabzi (potato curry), tikkis (cutlets)

What to eat in Jaipur? 

Tucked away in the country’s desert state of Rajasthan, Jaipur's vibrant ‘Pink City’ reveals a treat for all senses. There is much to unpack here, from dusty pink palaces, imposing forts, and vibrant bazaars specialising in jewellery to the city’s ever-evolving hearty culinary scene.  

Ready your palate for a plethora of robust flavours, beginning with the traditional Rajasthani staple, dal bati churma – a combination of lentils, baked wheat balls smothered in ghee, and coarsely crumbled jaggery-sweetened wheat. For those seeking even more delightful adventures, bite into a fresh-off-the-pan pyaaz ki kachori – a deep-fried pastry stuffed with savoury onion filling and served with generous helpings of coriander and mint chutney.  

If you are a meat lover, don’t miss out on sampling the laal maas, literally translating to ‘red meat’, and be ready for the welcome punch of flavours. Traditionally made with wild game meat from a royal hunt, this Rajasthan speciality now commonly uses mutton and is cooked to perfection with a special mild chilli to impart a deep red hue. Finish things on a sweet note with ghewar – a circular, honeycomb-like dissolve-in-your-mouth dessert produced by a harmony of desi ghee, flour and sugar, topped off with a glossy spread of sweetened milk.

Food to try: dal bati churma, pyaaz ki kachori, mirchi bhaji (batter fried whole chillis), laal maas, ghewar 

Ready to pack your bags and go eat? Read 7 Reasons a Food Tour is The Best (and Most Delicious) Way to Travel.

Featured image: Shutterstock.

About Sohinee Basu
Rolling around in word muddles and hopping across inky puddles, this teeny-tiny adult kid can be found downing dumplings with fiery sauce and daydreaming about faraway beaches while keeping her fingers crossed during Roger Federer's matches. Like a cloud, she can't be pinned down (she'll judge if you don't get this reference); she lives for her love of all things artfully poetic and overwhelmingly beautiful.

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