The Food of Lucknow

Lucknow has a long history of being a strategic point for rulers of Northern India. The Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals and the British Raj, all considered Lucknow and the surrounding Awadh region to be of great importance. But no dynasty has had a more lasting impact on the culture of Lucknow than the Nawabs of Awadh who ruled from the 18th to the 19th century. They transformed the city by patronising arts and culture and paving the way for Lucknow to become the cultural capital of North India. But the most lasting legacy that all these rulers left was the food. Lucknow had, and still has some exquisite dishes worth travelling long distances for! Travelling to the city without devouring the most famous Lucknow food and dishes are a sin you must not commit!


Taken the entire world by its alluring aroma, biryani is synonymous with Lucknow. Its ubiquitous influence has rendered several versions of it, respective to different regions of the country, like the famous Calcutta biryani and Hyderabadi biryani. The origins of biryani are unknown, but it arrived in Lucknow from Afghanistan. During the Mughal rule, the recipe was worked upon and eventually Lucknowi biryani was born. It instantly became a favourite amongst the crowd, not just in Lucknow, but also in the rest of the country. It is the most popular Lucknow traditional food that travellers must definitely order!

Lucknowi biryani


Another staple of Lakhnavi food is the wide variety of kebabs available throughout the city. From street vendors to fine dining restaurants and home cooks, everybody has their own version of the kebab. Two versions that we think you need to try out are Galouti kebab and Shammi kebab.

It is said the Galouti kebab, which translates to melt-in-the-mouth, was first made for a Nawab who did not want his deteriorating dental health to get in the way of eating meat. So he asked his royal chef to prepare a meat dish that could be eaten without chewing. And so, this delectable speciality was born!

Shami kebab also has a similar origin as the Galouti kebab. It saw its inception when a Nawab wanted his chef to prepare a meat dish that could be enjoyed even by the toothless. We may not know if the story is true, but what we do know is that they are delicious and worth trying!



Sheermal is a flatbread that originated in Iran and was brought to India by the Mughals. In Persian, sheermal translates to 'rubbed with milk'. It is flavoured with saffron, milk and ghee. Its mouth-watering taste quickly won the hearts of the crowd and soon became the most famous Lucknow famous food. It also pairs perfectly well with the famous kebabs!

For vegetarians who do not want to feel left out of the wonders of the various kinds of Lucknow cuisines, we offer the irresistible kaju curry. A speciality dish made from the humble cashew nut, it is the perfect vegetarian alternative for guests who have gorged on kebabs and biryani. It is a mixture of various ingredients like creamy cashew nuts, mawa, poppy seeds and milk that present itself to be a delightful dish, a favourite amongst both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Lucknow has several fine-dining restaurants across the city that allow guests to experiment with these phenomenal authentic dishes. Clarks Avadh, Lucknow, one of the best hotels in the city, offers three dining outlets that curate Lakhnavi dishes as well as impeccable rooms for a comfortable stay. So embrace a restful sojourn while feasting on the native cuisine!