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Jan
16

What You Should Eat at an Indian Airport

yum

yum

Eating airport food in India has never top on my list of promising meals. I’ll never forget the large swarm of flies that circled the pot of dal at the airport at Madras that quelled my appetite until we landed in Singapore. Lucky for me, our flight took off and we got out of there. But many people were forced to eat the food there, because—surprise, surprise— there are tons of delays there.

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But guess what? Great news on the horizon. According to my most recent research, airport food in India has gotten a whole lot better.

The new terminal 1C at Mumbai domestic airport has a very swanky new food court serving up hand-tossed pizzas, spicy curries and gourmet sandwiches. It also has a coffee shop.

mumbai domestic

mumbai domestic

Indian airports have made modern food courts with global cuisine to match their new population as well as their position in the global marketplace.  And there seems to be something for every kind of traveler—for the junk food eater who wants a beer and a plate of fries, to the sandwich guy, to the true gourmand.

crepes, anyone?

crepes, anyone?

According to the true Indian chef experts, here’s what you should try the next time you fly through India.

Bangalore

Rice-Pongal

Rice-Pongal

At its departure terminal stands a small restaurant that serves the most delicious pongal, a vegetarian rice dish baked with herbs in a small earthenware cup. Spiced with fresh broken black pepper and served with thick coconut chutney, this steaming hot, rice dish can be eaten any time of the day. And the critics agree that the pongal served at the Bangalore airport is as good as it is in the narrow streets of Madurai, which is where it is from.

Mumbai

 vada paav

vada paav

The signature dish of the city is the iconic and also vegetarian vada paav. This snack is basically mashed potato and herbs deep friend and put between two pieces of bread and slathered with green chutney. Said to be developed at a tube station, this is what everyone eats here and once you try it you’ll see why.

Chennai

Sri Krishna Sweets

Sri Krishna Sweets

The Chennai airport has something no other airport has—Sri Krishna Sweets. A well-known Chennai food and sweetmeat chain, it has an amazing variety of homemade foods. Try the cashew nut pakoda, onion pakoda, kind of like an onion fritter. You can ask for a free taste at the stall.  Go for a bag of each.

Hyderabad

try this...

try this...

At Hyderabad’s plush new airport, hit the iconic Paradise Hotel for dinner or lunch before you depart.  in face get there early, the food here is out of this world. Did I mention I gained 15 pounds when I went to India? Well, I did. Here they are famous for their biryani and their rice, which you will notice is cooked to perfection. Variations of the famous biryani, with chicken or vegetable, are available. Make sure to drink chilled beer with the biryani—it’s an unbeatable combination.

Leh And Kochi

Leh

Leh

Good news for you hard core India travelers, some of the smaller airports in non-metro locations offer good food as well. At Kochi’s Nedumbassery airport, head to a small canteen within the airport parking lot which serves a typical breakfast from Kerala as well as a sweet chai—always a great drink to fall back on when thirsty, tired and in need of comfort. Even at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airport in Leh—the highest passengers airport in the world—there’s something unusual and delicious to try: Leh-Ladakh berry juice, a local favorite.

So the next time you hit the road, don’t despair, there are wonderful foods to eat wherever you go. Just be open to them.

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