10 Must-Try Traditional Food Delights in Hyderabad

February 25, 2024

When someone says, “What is the popular traditional food of Hyderabad” the first thing that comes to any foodie or food connoisseur is Biryani. There is obviously no other dish as iconic and scrumptious as Hyderabadi biryani, but the City of Pearls has so much to offer that’s full of meat, nuts, and spices. Be it Keema samosas, Haleem, or Qubani ka Meetha; the city is a paradise for epicure to enjoy. 

The traditional food in Hyderabad goes beyond the usual, with a strong focus on native cooking techniques and age-old recipes handed down through the ages. The city’s cultural heritage and traditional roots are deeply embedded in its dishes. Whether you’re savouring the famous Hyderabadi Biryani or enjoying the zesty Pachi Pulusu, exploring its Hyderabadi cuisine is a delightful adventure. So, whether you are planning a trip to Hyderabad or curious to try something new, we will take you on a journey of authentic delicacies that you do not want to miss out on. 

A Glimpse into the Hyderabadi Traditional Food That You Must Try 

1. Hyderabadi Biryani 

Hyderabadi Biryani 

Let’s start with the crown jewel and delicious dish that Hyderabad is renowned for- Hyderabadi Biryani. This iconic delicacy is cooked with a blend of long-grain rice, a special mix of aromatic spices like saffron, cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and tender chicken/meat. The Biryani is slowly cooked in the traditional “dum” style, where the pot is sealed with dough to trap its flavours. Try it once; you will definitely come back for more! 

2. Mirchi ka Salan

Mirch Salan

For those who enjoy spicy kicks in their culinary delights, Mirchi ka Salan is the perfect choice. It is a Hyderabadi traditional food where the gravy is made with a base of coconut, peanuts, and sesame seeds, while the main ingredient is green chilies. Mirchi Ka Salan is often served as a side dish with the legendary Hyderabadi Biryani to complement its incredible flavours. 

3. Haleem

This traditional food in Hyderabad is particularly popular in the month of Ramadan. Haleem is a delightful blend of slow-cooked meat, typically mutton, along with wheat, lentils, and aromatic spices, which is made into a thick stew that gives it a distinctive Hyderabadi touch. Topped with crispy fried onions, fragrant herbs, and a splash of zesty lemon, Haleem is a culinary masterpiece that brings people together to break their fast and celebrate the essence of togetherness. Delve into this meal to enjoy the era of Nizams!

4. Irani Chai and Osmania Biscuits

Irani Chai

Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the steaming cup of Irani chai. This was brought to the city by Persian immigrants and now become an essential part of Hyderabad’s culinary heritage. Served in small glasses, the tea is prepared with a perfect blend of milk, tea leaves, and sugar. To make this experience even more delightful, pair the chai with crispy and buttery Osmania biscuits. You can find more than 13 varieties of these buttery cookies that complement the tea perfectly. 

P.S. Our Must-Try recommendation is to head on to Nimrah cafe, where you can enjoy Irani chai with the view of Charminar and feel like a Nawab!

5. Boti Kebab

Boti Kebab

Kebabs are one of the popular dishes when we talk about Hyderabadi traditional food. These Boti kebabs are prepared with mutton chunks marinated with refreshing herbs, making this truly mouthwatering. If you prefer spicy, ask for extra green chilies to add that zing. Highly recommended for every non-veg food lover and a perfect traditional starter to leave your finger licking! So, visit your nearest Boti Kebab stall for happy food to uplift your crappy mood. 

6. Pachi Pulusu

Pachi Pulusu

A unique and refreshing dish from the list of traditional foods in Hyderabad- Pachi Pulusu, which means “raw tamarind soup” in Telugu and is served unheated. It perfectly balances sourness and spiciness, making it a great refreshing drink on hot summer days or can be enjoyed after your meals. The key ingredient in this dish is fresh tamarind pulp, giving the soup its signature tangy taste. To prepare it, the tamarind pulp is mixed with water and infused with a medley of spices like green chilies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and curry leaves.

7. Qubani ka Meetha

Qubani ka Meetha

Qubani ka Meetha is a delicious dessert that holds a special place in Hyderabadi’s culinary heritage. It’s made with dried apricots that are soaked until soft and then cooked with sugar and cardamom. The result is a rich syrupy mixture with sweetness and bursting with fruity flavours. You should try this once, as Qubani ka Meetha is a real treat for your taste buds. 

8. Sarva Pindi 

Sarva Pindi 

Sarva Pindi is the traditional food in Hyderabad, which is a tasty and crunchy rice pancake. This is made with rice flour, spices, vegetables, and herbs, creating a thick batter. Then, the batter is spread evenly like a pancake on a hot pan and cooked until it becomes crispy. This is a wonderful breakfast or snack option, showcasing the city’s love for rice-based dishes. 

9. Gutti Vankaya Kura

Gutti Vankaya Kura

Gutti Vankaya Kura is a luscious stuffed eggplant curry. It’s a culinary marvel that highlights the region’s love for brinjals and their skill in making flavourful curries. It features small, tender brinjals that are slit and filled with a mixture of ground spices, onions, peanuts, and coconut. These stuffed brinjals are then cooked in a thick, tangy gravy made with tamarind pulp, tomatoes, and aromatic spices. Try it now, this rich and flavorful curry that will surely tantalize your taste buds.

10. Hyderabadi Chicken 65

Hyderabadi Chicken 65

Last but not the least yummy! The Hyderabadi Chicken 65 as a spicy deep-fried appetizer is super amazing. Chunks of chicken garnished with coriander leaves and onions. It is undoubtedly the perfect way to start your 3-course meal, making it an irresistible choice for food lovers. 

To sum it up!

These are just a few of the many traditional foods in Hyderabad to truly experience its rich flavors. Visit the local eateries or order food online from Swiggy to treat yourself to some excellent flavorsome dishes. 


1. What makes Hyderabad’s traditional food unique and special?

The use of red chillies, coconut, and tamarind, along with other spices, makes the Hyderabadi traditional food more unique and special. 

2. What are some traditional food items that reflect the city’s rich culinary heritage?

Hyderabadi Biryani, Kebabs, Haleem, Irani Chai, and Osmania Biscuits are the few worth-mention traditional food items that reflect the city’s rich culinary heritage.

3. What is the significance of Hyderabad’s traditional cuisine?

Hyderabadi traditional cuisine has a royal history from the time of the Nizams in Hyderabad. It blends flavours from Mughlai, Turkish, Arabic, Telugu, and Maharashtra cuisines, creating a diverse culinary experience. The dishes feature a mix of rice, wheat, and meat with aromatic spices like tamarind, coconut, cardamom, saffron, and cloves. Also, Hyderabadi traditional food stands out with its use of dried coconut and tamarind.

4. Are there any specific spices or ingredients that are commonly used in traditional Hyderabadi cuisine?

Chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, coconut, cumin powder, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves are some of the specific ingredients that are usually used in traditional Hyderabadi food. 

5. Are there any traditional desserts or sweets unique to Hyderabad?

Yes, there are numerous traditional desserts or sweets unique to Hyderabad. These include Qubani Ka Meetha, Double Ka meetha, Hyderabadi Lauki Kheer with Mini Rasgullas, Phirni, Sheer Khurma, and Gajar Ka Halwa. 
Read more: The best healthy food joints in Hyderabad

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