Top 10 meals of my life

My wife Aditi and I tend to talk about food a lot. Generally, it’s a plan for our indulgence in the next meal or not that infrequently, what we’ll eat on our trip to x which might be a few weeks away.

Last night, this conversation went to what’s the best food we’ve ever had and I started creating a top 10 list. Sorting this list was hard because the stomach wants what it wants at any given time but the selection is fairly sorted.

  1. Raheem’s nihari kulcha, Lucknow

Raheem’s Nihari Kulcha (PC: Link) Raheem’s Nihari Kulcha (PC: Link)

I’ve said this often that I want this to be the last meal of my life. Nihari (urdu word Nahar means morning) is meat slow-cooked overnight eaten by legends and gods at breakfast with this super-flaky kulcha. Both these melt in the mouth in an explosion of flavours. I’m having to tilt my head back as I type this to avoid drooling all over my laptop.

2. Katz’s pastrami on rye sandwich, New York

Pastrami on Rye ❤️(PC: Link) Pastrami on Rye ❤️(PC: Link)

How good can some pastrami between two layers of rye bread and a little mustard be, right? Man, this shit is da bomb! I was very sceptical as I picked up this plate of an oversized sandwich but the first bite converted me for life. It’s unbelievable how good something so simple can taste.

p.s. Having this with the local IPA is highly-highly recommended!

3. My Mom’s rajmah chawal, Chandigarh

Rajmah Chawal (PC: Link) Rajmah Chawal (PC: Link)

Mummy is a pretty solid cook in her own right and her Rajmah Chawal is to die for. While we’re on the topic, there’s only one Rajmah: Kashmiri (the dark red one). WTF is that light red speckled goat’s dung peasant-mah? Her Rajmah with jeera rice, mango chutney and curd can make life seem like it can pass 10x slower!

4. Garg Chaat golgappe, Chandigarh

Golgappe 💣(PC: Link) Golgappe 💣(PC: Link)

On day 1 after marriage, Aditi told me she doesn’t like these. Now look, her being awesome and all is one thing but this is heresy and grounds for divorce. I grew up feasting on these and I stand by my statement. This is by far the best golgappe on the face of this earth. Tikki chaat in Lucknow is admittedly better but it doesn’t make this list. Haters gonna hate 😝

5. Taaza Thindi masala dose, Bangalore

Masala dose 😍 Masala dose 😍

Choosing the best dosai is hard. There’s the crispy variety with Taaza Thindi, Bangalore Cafe and CTR giving a stiff (no pun intended) fight to each other and then there’s the soft melt in the mouth variety where Mysore Mylari just wins hands down. Taaza Thindi is the overall winner and the only dosai on this list because in the 3 years I’ve been eating there, I’ve never once been let down and that crrrunchhh is 😍

6. Brik Oven smokey marzano pizza, Bangalore

Smokey marzano pizza (PC: Link) Smokey marzano pizza (PC: Link)

We spent 20 days last October roaming through the north of Italy and tried pizza at so many places in Florence, Rome and Dolomites. The only pizzeria that came remotely close to Brik Oven’s awesomeness was Bonci in Rome. Maybe we need to visit the south and Naples once to firmly establish Brik Oven’s supremacy. That tangy, smokey tomato sauce, perfect crunchy crust and heavenly cheese need no more toppings.

7. Kulwant Singh amritsari kulche and lassi, Amritsar

Amritsari kulche and lassi (PC: Link) Amritsari kulche and lassi (PC: Link)

The eatery shares a name with my dad and does him proud! Amritsari kulche is the best use case for owning a Tandoor. The spicy, crunchy kulcha with a choice of mouth-watering paneer, gobhi, aalu, pithi fillings and the tangy chole makes a meal capable of multiple foodgasms. That towering glass of sweet lassi and 25gms of butter they casually throw on the plate can put you to sleep before you walk out of the shop.

8. Al Camin beetroot gnocchi, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Gnocchi and mushroom in beetroot sauce (Source: Link) Gnocchi and mushroom in beetroot sauce (Source: Link)

We casually walked over for dinner to this restaurant since our Airbnb host in Cortina said Al Camin is amazing, only to realize it was a Michelin star. A star that I might add is well deserved. Pasta across Italy is at another level altogether but this one for me defined how good al-dente can be and how badly the rest of the world butchers that phrase. Also, the level of flavour in those mushrooms and beet gnocchi is still fresh in my mouth 🙌

9. Yauatcha edamame truffle dimsum, Mumbai

Truffle edamame dumpings (Source: Link) Truffle edamame dumpings (Source: Link)

I’m a big-fat lover of south-east Asian cuisine and the plate after plate of mango sticky rice and pad Thai that we disgorged in Bangkok was divine. However, I’d have to say the winner dish with a very tiny margin here has to be Yauatcha’s truffle edamame dumplings closer home in Mumbai. That lingering umami aftertaste makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.

10. (erstwhile) Khan Chacha mutton seekh roll, Khan Market, Delhi now called Rule the rolls

Mutton Seekh Rolls (PC: Link) Mutton Seekh Rolls (PC: Link)

In 2009, I used to go for a jog every morning at Lodhi Gardens, Delhi. Occasionally, I went for a second one in the evening as well. It was always to have the best-ever mutton seekh rolls at Khan Chacha. I just had to smile at Javed in a very crowded shop for my order to start prep. I’ve never had better mutton seekh in life. Unfortunately, with the ownership fight and a name change to Rule the Rolls, the legendary taste has disappeared. I doubt I’ll have another person match up to those juicy, spicy delicacies again.

This has been an emotional roller coaster to write. Now let me go fetch my Simba stout and plan for the next meal. Ciao!


◀️ Go Back