Headed to India? You’re in for a (literal) treat! As an extremely diverse country with over 1 billion people, India boasts a cuisine that’s as varied as it is delicious. Put your taste buds to the test and try these seven regional favorites as you travel through the country.

1.) Traditional Goan Vindaloo

Paul_Brighton / Shutterstock

Paul_Brighton / Shutterstock

Hails from: Goa in Southwest India
When to eat it: For lunch or dinner
Goa cuisine is heavily influenced from its days as part of the Portuguese colonies. In fact, the name “vindaloo” comes from the Portuguese words meaning vinegar and garlic. This should give you some idea of what to expect with this dish, a spicy curry usually made with pork.

2.) Dhokla

espies / Shutterstock

espies / Shutterstock

Hails from: Gujarat in Central India
When to eat it: For breakfast or as a snack
Made from rice and chickpea batter, Dhokla makes for a perfect light meal. To get its unique texture, the batter is fermented for up to five hours and then steamed for about 15 minutes. It’s then cut into squares and often garnished with mustard seeds and coriander leaves.

3.) Macher Paturi

Tigergallery / Shutterstock

Tigergallery / Shutterstock

Hails from: West Bengal in Eastern India
When to eat it: For dinner

This baked fish creation, usually made with rahu, carp, or hilsa fish, is considered a royal dish in Bengal. It’s made by marinating the fish in mustard paste and then steaming it in banana leaves. Those who enjoy a bit of spice with their fish will appreciate Macher Paturi.

4.) Gajar Halwa

espies / Shutterstock

espies / Shutterstock

Hails from: Punjab in Northern India
When to eat it: For dessert

Who knew carrots could be so delicious? This rich dessert is traditionally made from grated red Delhi carrots mixed with sugar, khoya (dried milk), and nuts. Gajar halwa is especially popular during Indian festivals and served piping hot in the winter.

5.) Pakora

Jamie Rogers / Shutterstock

Jamie Rogers / Shutterstock

Hails from: Uttar Pradesh in Northern India
When to eat it: As a snack
This tasty appetizer is made from deep frying one or two ingredients, which may include onion, eggplant, potato, chili pepper, or cauliflower. The most popular preparation is pyaaz pakora—onion deep fried in gram flour. Visitors used to eating fried snacks in bars will feel comfortable chowing down on this simple dish.

6.) Kashmiri Gushtaba

Fanfo / Shutterstock

Fanfo / Shutterstock

Hails from: Kashmir in Northern India
When to eat it: For lunch or dinner
Gushtaba is a Kashmiri meatball delicacy made from mutton minced with spices. To achieve its unique flavor, the mutton is cooked in a yogurt gravy. The result is a velvety textured specialty that is often served as part of the Wazwan, a multi-course Kashmiri meal.

7.) Bhelpuri

highviews / Shutterstock

highviews / Shutterstock

Hails from: Mumbai on the eastern Indian Coast
When to eat it: As a snack
Those visiting the beaches of Mumbai will find plenty of nearby cafes serving this chaat (Indian snack). It’s made primarily from puffed rice that’s mixed with Sev, potatoes, onions, chutney, and other vegetables. A tangy and spicy tamarind sauce is added to give it a distinctive flavor.

Which of these Indian specialties are you most looking forward to on your trip? Chow down in the comments!

 

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