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-Meghana Harikumar (email@example.com)
Hyderabad, often referred to as the “City of Nizams,” is renowned for its rich culinary heritage, where traditional dishes like Biryani and Haleem have long reigned supreme. The ageless appeal and cultural importance of traditional Hyderabadi foods might be credited for their lasting popularity. The city’s signature dish, Hyderabadi Biryani, is still a cherished classic. With careful stacking of marinated meat, fragrant rice, and long cooking over dum (steam), a symphony of flavours is created that continues to enthrall food lovers.
Hyderabadi Haleem is a beloved food, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan. It is a substantial porridge prepared with wheat, barley, and beef. A nutritious and comfortable dish is produced by the dish’s slow cooking technique and spice mixture. The tasty minced beef and surprising yogurt and spice filling of the succulent Shikampuri Kababs are evidence of the city’s mastery of the kebab.
Health and Sustainability, a priority
However, the city’s food scene is in a perpetual state of evolution, embracing new tastes and trends while holding onto its roots. Over time, the culture surrounding food has changed. While many people like to explore new foods, other people are content eating meals that they make themselves. According to a recent study, the post-COVID food trends will be significantly influenced by the rediscovery of cultures, healthy snacking, improved cleanliness, and a greater emphasis on diet-conscious meals.
“Hyderabad’s dining scene is adapting to health-conscious preferences. Restaurants now offer more vegan, gluten-free, and low-calorie options, responding to a demand for healthier choices. The farm-to-table movement is growing, promoting locally sourced, organic ingredients. Smoothie bars provide nutrient-rich drinks, while keto, paleo, and Ayurvedic offerings cater to specific dietary needs. Sugar-free and low-sugar desserts have also become common. These trends reflect Hyderabad’s evolving food culture and a growing awareness of healthy eating, providing a range of nutritious and delicious options,” said VH Suresh, Corporate Executive Chef, Platform 65.
Naveen Nagaraj, Culinary Head, Tatva said, “The health and wellness trend is not limited to the West but is also gaining momentum in India. As more people become health-conscious, there is a growing demand for healthier food options. The industry is witnessing a shift towards healthier and organic food products. The move to healthier options is very visible in India. From online food delivery services to smart kitchen appliances, technology is playing a significant role in the food industry’s growth. I should also say, the growth of regional food has gained more momentum. There is a myth that only western food is demanded by most Gen-Z crowd. But on the contrary, we notice Indian foods, especially the regional foods, have more impact in the market.”
“Health-conscious dining is on the rise, with a focus on organic, gluten-free, and vegan options. Restaurants are adapting to these trends by offering health-focused menus, featuring dishes like quinoa biryani and vegan kebabs, to cater to the evolving dietary preferences of Hyderabad’s residents, added Rizwan Khader, Corporate Chef, Telangana Spice Kitchen.
The Influential Social Media
When asked about the key factors influencing the current food trends in Hyderabad, Chef Kailash Gundupalli, Director Culinary, Novotel said, “Several factors are currently shaping the food trends in Hyderabad. Firstly, globalization has introduced diverse cuisines to the city, sparking a culinary curiosity among residents. This has led to an increase in fusion dishes that combine global ingredients with traditional Hyderabadi flavors. Secondly, the growing health-consciousness among diners has pushed restaurants to offer more nutritious and dietary-friendly options. Vegan, gluten-free, and organic menus are becoming commonplace.
Additionally, sustainability is gaining momentum. Restaurants are increasingly sourcing ingredients locally and adopting eco-friendly practices to reduce their environmental footprint.
Lastly, social media plays a significant role in influencing food trends. The visually appealing presentation of dishes and instant sharing of culinary experiences on platforms like Instagram have led to an emphasis on the aesthetics of food.”
“Several key factors shape food trends in Hyderabad. Globalization has introduced diverse flavours, while health-conscious dining has driven demand for vegan and gluten-free options. Social media and bloggers influence aesthetics and presentation. Emerging chefs experiment with fusion cuisine, and sustainability gains importance. Street food culture remains vibrant, and food delivery apps expand choices. Celebrity chef collaborations, food festivals, and customer feedback further influence trends. Additionally, the rise of experiential dining and fine dining has added a new dimension to the culinary scene.” said Suresh.
“Hyderabad’s food trends are shaped by a combination of factors, including its historical roots, local produce, and the cosmopolitan palate of its residents. The growing awareness of health-conscious eating, a penchant for fusion cuisine, and the use of innovative cooking techniques have all contributed to the evolving food scene in the city,” added Rizwan.
Evolution of Global Flavours
Hyderabad’s culinary landscape has witnessed a delightful fusion of traditional dishes with global flavors in recent years. When asked about the same, Chef Kailash said, “For instance, “Hyderabadi Tacos” have emerged, where biryani is used as a filling in soft tortillas, offering a unique blend of Indian and Mexican influences. “Biryani Pizza” combines the beloved biryani with the familiarity of pizza, resulting in a fusion dish that appeals to a diverse palate. “Haleem Burgers” incorporate the rich, savory flavors of haleem into a burger, creating a mouthwatering fusion. All of this is to cater to the global food lovers and tourists in Hyderabad. This fusion trend showcases the city’s culinary creativity and willingness to embrace global ingredients and techniques while staying true to its roots. It caters to a generation of food enthusiasts who appreciate innovative combinations of flavors and textures, making Hyderabad’s culinary scene a hub for experimentation and gastronomic exploration. These innovative dishes are gaining popularity not only locally but also attracting attention on the national and international culinary stage.”
“Hyderabad always has tourists and localities traveling across the world. To cater to their palettes, and experience healthy ingredients like Millets are used in most of the dishes, these days. Something like Quinoa and Avocado are the stars of every kitchen now, whereas they were not known to us a few years back. To cater to the vegans, we have Junnu made with nut milk. We are catering to the needs of trends without forgetting the roots,” added Chef John Biswas, Culinary Experience Curator, Radisson Blu.
Street food with a twist
While Hyderabad has always been famous for its street food, the concept has received a gourmet makeover. Street food vendors are elevating traditional favorites like Golgappas and Chaat with gourmet ingredients and presentations, providing a delightful blend of flavors and aesthetics.
“Street food is an integral part of Hyderabad’s vibrant culinary landscape, offering a diverse range of flavours that satisfy both locals and visitors. Some cherished street food items include the iconic Hyderabadi Biryani, Irani Chai, Pani Puri, Haleem, Dosa, Mirchi Bajji, Samosa, Kebabs, Punugulu etc. With the development in the city, we also see snack items like Shawarma and Momos gaining popularity among the young crowd. These snacks reflect Hyderabad’s culinary journey and the love for bold flavours that define the city’s food culture,” said Suresh.
“Hyderabad’s street food scene is a culinary adventure in itself, with favorites like the iconic “Irani chai,” “Osmania biscuits,” and “Hyderabadi pani puri.” Lately, we’ve seen modern twists and gourmet versions of these classics, such as “stuffed kulchas,” “gourmet kebabs,” “Haleem Shots” and “Dum Ka Chicken Wraps reflecting the city’s evolving tastes,” added Rizwan.
Chef John added, “I have worked in the Middle East for over 14 years and nowhere I have never seen so many Shawarma innovations like in Hyderabad. To cater to the local palette several flavours and innovative twists are made. Burgers, Pizzas and Kulfis with twists are making their way in the market.”
Food Delivery Revolution
The convenience of food delivery apps has sparked a revolution in Hyderabad’s food industry. From traditional Hyderabadi fare to global cuisines, residents can now enjoy a wide range of culinary delights in the comfort of their homes, giving rise to cloud kitchens and virtual restaurants. When asked about food delivery at the comfort of a customer’s home, Chef John said, “A foodie will always want to experience food and not just eat it. Food delivery is good for business but also, when we give a certain experience (taste and freshness) to the customers, they will definitely return for the experience.”
“Technology, encompassing food delivery apps and social media, has fundamentally reshaped the way people explore and savour food in Hyderabad. Food delivery apps have streamlined the process of ordering from a wide range of restaurants, providing menu access, reviews, and real-time order tracking, making dining an effortless experience. Influencers and bloggers also play a key role in promoting restaurants and dishes, amplifying their popularity. Beyond that, technology has made food discovery more interactive, enabled online reservations, and fostered transparent dining experiences through online reviews and ratings. Consequently, technology has not only simplified food exploration but has also cultivated a vibrant and interconnected food community, enhancing the entire culinary journey in Hyderabad,” said Suresh.
“Technology, especially food delivery apps and social media, has transformed how people discover and enjoy food in Hyderabad. Customers can explore a wide range of cuisines and order food conveniently. Social media platforms have become crucial for restaurants to showcase their dishes and connect with food enthusiasts,” added Chef Kailash.
How the next generation is gearing up?
Speaking about the way the next generation is gearing up for the traditional food, Ramesh Reddy, Principal of Regency institution from Hyderabad opines that the regional food is the way ahead. “Even today, when we say food most of the students relate only to the regional or micro-cuisines. Not just only consuming, but also while cooking also, students are keen on cooking on regional food”, says Ramesh who also part of the team that curates the syllabus in Osmania University. Ramesh also feels that hotel management institiutions should give importance for regional cooking during the course.
In conclusion, Hyderabad’s food scene is a dynamic blend of tradition and innovation. While it continues to pay homage to its culinary heritage, the city’s openness to experimentation and its embrace of global trends have given rise to a vibrant and diverse food culture. As the city evolves, Hyderabad’s food trends will undoubtedly continue to surprise and delight the palates of its residents and visitors alike. With the rise of health-conscious dining, Hyderabad’s culinary scene has adapted to cater to a wide range of dietary preferences and requirements. While traditional dishes like Hyderabadi Biryani and kebabs still reign supreme, there is a growing emphasis on offering healthier options.