Famous Food of Indian States

by Roisin Gibbons
Delicious samosas and pakoras - famous food of Indian states

Are you ready to embark on a culinary journey through the diverse and flavorful traditions of Indian cuisine? From the spicy flavors of the north to the tropical tastes of the south, India’s famous food of Indian states offers a tantalizing array of dishes that reflects the country’s rich history, cultural diversity, and regional influences.

India is a land of culinary contrasts, where each state boasts its own unique food traditions and iconic dishes that have become renowned around the world. From savory curries and aromatic spices to sweet desserts and indulgent street food, Indian cuisine is a treasure trove of flavors waiting to be discovered.

In this article, we will delve into the famous food of Indian states, exploring the distinct culinary identities of different regions across India. We’ll take a closer look at North Indian cuisine, South Indian cuisine, East Indian cuisine, and West Indian cuisine, highlighting the most beloved dishes from each state and uncovering the stories behind their creation.

But our exploration doesn’t stop there – we’ll also venture into the world of street food, where bustling markets come alive with an array of tempting snacks and small bites. And for those with a sweet tooth, we’ll indulge in traditional desserts that have been passed down through generations.

Beyond just discussing specific dishes, we will also examine the use of spices and unique flavor profiles that define Indian cooking. Additionally, we will explore how geographical landscapes and cultural influences shape each region’s culinary traditions.

So get ready to satisfy your cravings as we take you on a virtual tour of India’s diverse and delectable gastronomic landscape. Whether you’re an avid foodie or simply curious about exploring new flavors, this journey through India’s famous food is sure to leave your taste buds tingling with excitement.

North Indian Cuisine

Punjabi Cuisine: A Flavorful Feast

Punjab, known as the “Land of Five Rivers,” is renowned for its rich and flavorful cuisine. One cannot mention famous food of Indian states without highlighting the iconic dishes of Punjab such as butter chicken, sarson da saag and makki di roti. The robust flavors of Punjabi cuisine are characterized by the use of ghee, butter, and an array of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and garam masala.

Uttar Pradesh Delicacies: A Blend of Flavors

Uttar Pradesh, with its diverse cultural heritage, offers a melange of mouthwatering dishes such as kebabs, biryanis, and chaats. The world-renowned Awadhi cuisine from cities like Lucknow is known for its rich Mughlai influences and complex flavors. One must also try the melt-in-your-mouth galouti kebabs or the fragrant Lucknawi biryani when sampling the famous food of Indian states.

Royal Rajasthani Fare: A Culinary Journey

Rajasthani cuisine presents a vibrant tapestry of flavors that reflects the royal heritage and arid landscape of the region. From dal baati churma to gatte ki sabzi and laal maas, Rajasthan’s culinary offerings are a delightful blend of rustic simplicity and royal indulgence. The traditional method of cooking using desi ghee imparts a distinct richness to Rajasthani dishes that sets them apart from other regional cuisines in India.

These North Indian states offer an extensive variety of mouthwatering dishes that showcase the rich culinary heritage deeply rooted in their culture. Each dish holds its own unique significance as part of India’s diverse gastronomic tapestry. Whether it’s indulging in the meaty delights from Uttar Pradesh or savoring the spicy Rajasthani curries, North Indian cuisine is an exploration into a world full of bold flavors and traditional cooking techniques.

South Indian Cuisine

Kerala, also known as the “Land of Spices,” is famous for its use of coconut, curry leaves, and an array of spices in its dishes. One of the most iconic dishes from Kerala is the traditional fish curry, made with a spicy and tangy coconut-based gravy. Another popular dish is appam, a fermented rice pancake that is often served with a coconut-based stew or curry.

Tamil Nadu boasts a rich tradition of vegetarian cuisine, with dishes like sambar (a tangy lentil and vegetable stew) and dosa (a crispy fermented crepe) being staples in many households. The region is also known for its spicy non-vegetarian dishes such as Chettinad chicken and Madurai mutton biryani.

Moving on to Karnataka, this state offers a unique blend of flavors influenced by both coastal and inland regions. One notable dish is Bisi Bele Bath, a hot lentil rice dish cooked with tamarind and spices. Another popular item is Ragi Mudde, which is a staple food made from finger millet flour and usually eaten with sambar or meat gravies.

The famous food of these South Indian states reflects their diverse landscapes and cultural influences. Whether it’s the use of coconut in Kerala, the vegetarian specialties of Tamil Nadu, or the blend of coastal and inland flavors in Karnataka, South Indian cuisine offers a wide range of delectable options for food enthusiasts.

It’s no wonder that South Indian cuisine has gained popularity not only within India but also internationally. The distinct flavors and aromatic spices have made dishes from this region favorites among food lovers worldwide.

Finally, when either visiting or exploring South Indian cuisine locally or internationally do not forget to try some classic South Indian sweets – Mysore Pak from Karnataka; Pal Payasam & Kappa Durvada from Kerala; Pongal & Murukku from Tamil Nadu are all worth trying.

State Famous Dish
Kerala Fish Curry
Tamil Nadu Dosa
Karnataka Bisi Bele Bath

East Indian Cuisine

In West Bengal, fish is an integral part of the cuisine due to its proximity to rivers and the Bay of Bengal. One cannot talk about Bengali cuisine without mentioning the iconic dish, “Maach-Bhaat” which translates to fish and rice. This dish typically consists of lightly spiced fish curry served with fragrant rice. Another famous delicacy is “Shukto,” a bitter-sweet vegetable stew that perfectly captures the balance of flavors in Bengali cooking.

Tasty biryani and dosa - famous food of Indian states

Moving on to Odisha, one cannot miss out on trying the famous “Pakhala Bhata,” a traditional dish made with fermented rice known as “Pakhala.” This dish is often accompanied by side dishes such as fried or mashed vegetables, fish fry or bhaja (fried vegetables) – creating a wholesome meal rich in flavor and nutrition.

In Assam, one must indulge in the staple food known as “Assamese Thali” which typically includes various types of rice – bora saul (glutinous rice), bhoja saul (non-sticky rice), kumol saul (aromatic short grain rice), along with many other savory items such as ‘Khar’, a signature alkaline preparation made with raw papaya or pulses.

The influence of climate and agriculture can also be seen in the diversity found within East Indian desserts. From West Bengal’s famous “Rasgulla” to Odisha’s mouthwatering “Chhena Poda,” a baked cheese dessert, it seems that every corner you turn in East India holds another sweet surprise waiting for you.

Overall, East Indian cuisine offers a delightful blend of ingredients and cooking styles that are deeply rooted in tradition and culture. Each state showcases its unique flavors through its traditional dishes while also being open to incorporating new elements into their culinary repertoire. The famous food of Indian states has played an integral role in establishing India’s rich gastronomical landscape.

West Indian Cuisine

Maharashtrian Cuisine

Maharashtrian cuisine is known for its bold flavors and diverse range of dishes. One of the most famous foods of Maharashtra is Vada Pav, often referred to as the Indian burger. This popular street food consists of a spicy potato fritter sandwiched in a bun, and is a must-try for anyone visiting the state.

Another iconic dish is Misal Pav, a spicy curry made from sprouted lentils and topped with crunchy farsan and served with pav (bread). The coastal region of Maharashtra also offers delectable seafood dishes such as Bombil Fry (fried Bombay duck) and Kolambi Bhaat (prawn rice).

Gujarati Cuisine

Gujarati cuisine is known for its vegetarian fare and the unique combination of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors. Dhokla, a steamed savory cake made from fermented rice and chickpea flour, is one of the most famous Gujarati dishes. Another popular dish is Undhiyu, a mixed vegetable curry that is traditionally cooked in an earthen pot during the winter season.

Gujarat’s love for snacks is evident in delicacies like Fafda, Khandvi, and Thepla. These snacks are perfect for those who want to explore the diverse flavors of Gujarat.

Goan Cuisine

Known for its rich blend of Portuguese and Indian influences, Goan cuisine offers a tantalizing array of seafood and meat dishes. One cannot talk about Goan cuisine without mentioning the iconic dish – Fish Curry Rice.

This simple yet flavorful dish consists of fish curry served with steamed rice and makes for a staple meal in many Goan households. Another popular Goan dish is Pork Vindaloo, a spicy and tangy pork curry that showcases the fusion of flavors brought by Portuguese settlers centuries ago.

From these three states in West India, it’s evident that each region has its own unique culinary traditions that reflect their distinct cultural influences and geographical landscapes. Exploring the famous food of Indian states offers an exciting journey into the diverse flavors and rich culinary heritage that define India’s gastronomic landscape.

Street Food

India is known for its rich and diverse culinary traditions, with each state offering its own unique flavors and dishes. One of the best ways to experience the local cuisine is by trying the famous street food of Indian states. Street food in India is more than just a quick snack – it’s a cultural experience that brings people together to savor the delicious flavors and aromas.

North Indian Street Food

In North India, street food is a blend of savory and spicy flavors that tantalize the taste buds. Some famous street foods include chaat, which consists of crispy fried dough wafers served with boiled chickpeas, boiled potatoes, yogurt, and tamarind chutney. Another popular dish is samosa, a deep-fried pastry filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes meat. North Indian street food also includes tangy golgappa (also known as pani puri or puchka) and spicy aloo tikki.

South Indian Street Food

Southern India offers a delectable array of street food that reflects its vibrant culinary heritage. Some must-try dishes include dosa – a thin pancake made from fermented rice batter and lentils – served with coconut chutney and sambar. Another favorite is vada pav – a spicy potato fritter sandwiched in a bun – which originated in Maharashtra but has become popular across all of India.

East Indian Street Food

The eastern part of India boasts a unique variety of street food that highlights the region’s distinct flavors. For example, West Bengal is renowned for its mouthwatering kathi rolls – skewered kebabs wrapped in paratha bread with onions and chutney. The state of Odisha offers delicious snacks like aloo dum (spicy potato curry) paired with fluffy puris (deep-fried bread), while Assam features tasty momos (dumplings) stuffed with different fillings.

Spicy chaat and butter chicken - famous food of Indian states

West Indian Street Food

Western India has its own share of delectable street food offerings. Maharashtrian vada pav – also known as Mumbai’s very own burger-takes precedence along with misal pav-a dish primarily consisting of sprouts; usal(a preparation using groundnuts).

Overall, the famous street food items reflect not only the diverse culinary traditions but also give an insight into India’s rich history, culture and traditions making them always worth trying when visiting different parts of this country.

From savory chaats to indulgent sweets to flavorful spices, street food in various Indian states presents an unmissable opportunity to dive into the heart of Indian cuisine.

Traditional Desserts

India is not only famous for its savory cuisine but also for its delectable array of traditional desserts. Each state in India offers a unique variety of sweet treats that are loved and cherished by locals and visitors alike. From the syrupy indulgence of Gulab Jamun to the spongy goodness of Rasgulla and the crispy sweetness of Jalebi, Indian desserts are a celebration of flavors and textures.

One cannot talk about traditional Indian desserts without mentioning Gulab Jamun, which hails from North India. Often served at weddings and special occasions, Gulab Jamun is made from solidified milk or khoya, which is then rolled into soft dough and deep-fried to golden perfection before being soaked in a sugary rose-water syrup.

In South India, one cannot miss out on trying Rasgulla – a spongy dessert made from chhena (Indian cottage cheese) balls cooked in light sugar syrup. The texture and subtle sweetness of Rasgulla make it a favorite across the country.

Jalebi, with its intricate coil shape and bright orange color, is another beloved dessert that can be found throughout India. Made from fermented batter that is deep-fried in circular shapes and then soaked in sugar syrup, Jalebi’s crunchy exterior gives way to a sweet and juicy inside – making it an irresistible treat for those with a sweet tooth. These desserts represent the rich tradition and cultural wealth of India’s culinary heritage.

The diverse range of traditional desserts across India reflects the country’s vibrant cultural tapestry and regional culinary traditions. From creamy rice puddings to nutty confections to aromatic cardamom-scented sweets, each state has its own signature dessert that showcases local ingredients and cooking techniques. Whether it’s the Mysore Pak from Karnataka or the Malpua from Rajasthan, these desserts are an essential part of any dining experience when exploring different Indian states.

To fully appreciate the famous food of Indian states one must indulge in these traditional sweets which have been passed down through generations as expressions of love, celebration, and hospitality. It is through these delightful concoctions that one can truly understand the depth and complexity of Indian cuisine while satisfying their cravings for something sweet after enjoying all those spicy flavors.

Traditional Dessert Origin
Gulab Jamun North India
Rasgulla West Bengal
Jalebi Rajasthan/Uttar Pradesh

Spices and Flavors

India is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, and cuisines, with each state offering a unique and flavorful culinary experience. When it comes to Indian cuisine, spices and flavors play a crucial role in creating the distinct taste that people have come to love and appreciate. The use of spices and herbs has been an integral part of Indian cooking for centuries, with each region having its own special blend of seasonings.

In North India, particularly in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, the cuisine is known for its bold and aromatic flavors. Spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon are commonly used in dishes like biryani, tandoori chicken, and paneer tikka. These spices not only add depth to the dishes but also contribute to their rich and vibrant colors.

On the other hand, South Indian cuisine from states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka is characterized by its use of coconut, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and dried red chilies. These ingredients are often used in traditional dishes such as dosa, idli sambar, and avial. The combination of these spices creates a harmonious blend of flavors that is both comforting and satisfying.

Moving to East India where West Bengal, Odisha, and Assam are located; mustard oil plays a prominent role in their cooking along with panch phoron – a blend of five whole spices including fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds. Fish curries from West Bengal are incomplete without the use of mustard oil while dishes from Odisha feature a hint of sweetness from jaggery or sugar alongside pungent mustard paste.

In the western part of India comprising Maharashtra, Gujarat,and Goa; the cuisine is influenced by its coastal geography leading to the usage of seafood like prawns,fish etc.The flavors here are tangy,sour owing to tamarind,mustard seeds,bay leaf,cloves,dried red chillies alongside regional spice blends like goda masala(kokum,fenugreek)in Maharashtrian cuisine which gives it unique aroma.

Lastly,the famous food from different Indian states reflects the influence of various cultures,histories present there. Each dish offers an opportunity to embark on an exciting gastronomical adventure through India’s vibrant cities,villages. It would be remiss not journey across this vast subcontinent until you have savoured at least some iconic regional delicacies depicted above.

Regional Influences

The culinary traditions of India are heavily influenced by the geography and cultural diversity of each state, resulting in a wide array of unique flavors and cooking techniques. The regional influences play a vital role in shaping the famous food of Indian states, contributing to the country’s rich and diverse gastronomic heritage.

Aromatic curry and tandoori dishes - famous food of Indian states

In North India, the cuisine is greatly influenced by the use of dairy products such as ghee, milk, and paneer due to the abundance of milk-producing animals in the region. The fertile plains of Punjab have led to an emphasis on wheat-based dishes like naan and roti, while the arid climate of Rajasthan has given rise to a tradition of using dried ingredients like gram flour and lentils in their famous dishes such as dal baati churma.

In South India, the coastal geography has resulted in a heavy reliance on seafood in states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Coconut, tamarind, and curry leaves are staple ingredients that impart a distinct flavor to dishes, showcasing the impact of regional resources on culinary practices.

East Indian cuisine reflects the influence of Bengal’s coastal location with its abundance of fish-based dishes flavored with mustard oil. Odisha’s traditional recipes often feature rice as a staple ingredient, reflecting its status as a major rice-producing state. Assam’s cuisine is known for its use of simple yet flavorful ingredients such as bamboo shoots and pigeon pea.

In West India, Maharashtra’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its coastal location with an array of seafood delicacies. Gujarat’s predominantly vegetarian cuisine is shaped by its Jain and Hindu populations’ dietary restrictions. Goa’s history as a former Portuguese colony has resulted in a fusion of local flavors with Portuguese culinary practices, giving rise to iconic dishes such as vindaloo.

The street food culture across India showcases the varied regional influences with popular snacks like vada pav from Maharashtra, kachori from Rajasthan, idli from Tamil Nadu, and puchka from West Bengal offering a taste of each state’s unique culinary identity.

Ultimately, understanding how geography and cultural influences shape Indian culinary traditions provides insight into the diverse flavors that make up the famous food of Indian states. By embracing these regional influences, one can truly appreciate the richness and variety present in Indian cuisine.

Must-Try Dishes

When visiting India, one of the most exciting aspects is the opportunity to explore the famous food of Indian states. Each region offers a unique and diverse culinary experience that is not to be missed. From North Indian cuisine to South Indian delicacies, there are numerous must-try dishes that showcase the rich flavors and traditions of each state.

To make the most of your culinary adventure in India, here are some top dishes to try when visiting different Indian states:

1. Punjab: When in Punjab, be sure to savor the iconic dish of Makki di Roti and Sarson da Saag, a delicious combination of maize bread with mustard greens. Also, indulge in the delectable flavors of Butter Chicken and Amritsari Kulcha.

2. Kerala: In Kerala, treat your taste buds to traditional favorites like Appam with Stew, a fluffy rice pancake served with a creamy vegetable stew. Don’t miss out on indulging in the spicy and tangy flavors of Kerala Fish Curry as well.

3. West Bengal: When exploring West Bengal, be sure to try the mouthwatering Bengali sweets such as Rosogolla and Sandesh which are popular not only in India but also worldwide. Additionally, don’t leave without tasting Kolkata’s famous street food item – Kathi Roll.

4. Maharashtra: A trip to Maharashtra is incomplete without savoring Vada Pav, a spicy potato fritter served in a bun and Pav Bhaji which is a spicy mashed vegetable curry served with buttered rolls.

5. Gujarat: In Gujarat, be sure to try Dhokla – a savory steamed cake made from fermented rice batter and Khandvi – an appetizer made from gram flour seasoned with mustard seeds.

6. Goa: Indulge in the flavors of Goa by trying their famous seafood dishes such as Prawn Balcḥo or Fish Recheado along with Feni Рa potent liquor produced exclusively in Goa.

In India, every state has its own distinct cuisine and flavors which makes it a truly rewarding experience for any food lover. The famous food of Indian states reflects both cultural diversity and heritage through its rich variety of ingredients and cooking techniques.


In conclusion, the culinary traditions of India are as diverse as the country itself, with each state offering a unique and delicious array of dishes. From the hearty and robust flavors of North Indian cuisine to the spicy and aromatic dishes of South India, there is something to satisfy every palate. The famous food of Indian states represents not only their geography but also their rich history and cultural influences.

The traditional desserts of India, such as Gulab Jamun, Rasgulla, and Jalebi, are a testament to the country’s love for indulgent and sweet treats. These desserts have become popular not only within India but also around the world, showcasing the global appeal of Indian cuisine.

Furthermore, the use of spices and flavors in Indian cooking adds depth and complexity to its dishes. Each state has its own unique blend of spices that contribute to the vibrant and distinctive flavors found in Indian cuisine. The regional influences that shape these culinary traditions highlight the importance of preserving and celebrating India’s diverse heritage.

As travelers explore different regions of India, they are encouraged to try the must-try dishes of each state to fully appreciate the depth and variety of Indian cuisine. Whether it’s Punjab’s butter chicken or Maharashtra’s vada pav, there is no shortage of delectable options to sample.

In essence, Indian cuisine is a celebration of flavor, tradition, and culture. As we continue to embrace international cuisines, it is important to recognize and preserve the authenticity of famous food from Indian states. Whether enjoyed at home or experienced during travel, Indian cuisine offers a treasure trove for food enthusiasts seeking new and exciting flavors.

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