There is more to see in Agra than the Taj Mahal and more to savor than the quintessential Petha. While this old Mughal capital might be the cynosure of the world for presenting it one of the wonders of the world, Agra’s eclectic culture layered in the city’s vibes over eons has only added to its flavors and aromas.
Agra’s gastronomic history
The city is indeed the birthplace of Mughal cuisine, which largely inspired by the kingdom’s Persian ancestry, But eventually, it got more influenced, or let us say, blended with the ethnic Rajputana and Hindu communities that have been living in these territories all through. And as these people handed down their best recipes through the generations, it led them to what present-day Agra has to offer in its gastronomic adventure. While the rich and the decadent Mughlai recipes will make you give in with all heart and soul, the city’s street food affair is also an experience in itself.
This ancient city nicely balances the traditional recipes and contemporary taste buds. If you want to explore the street food trail of Agra, book a local taxi in Agra to see the entire city in a single day and enjoy its different flavors from different corners.
Local hotspot: Deviram Sweets, MG Road, PratapPura
What’s ‘kachori’ in most places across India, is Bedai in Agra. The city wakes up to this lovingly greasy and crispy savory item served with spicy potato curry. The sweet-tangy taste leaves a ‘never-had-before’ taste in your mouth! Many sweet shops and eateries serve Bedai with freshly churned curd.
Local hotspot: Ram Babu Paratha Bhandar, Civil Lines
In case you thought parathas are Punjab’s trademark, then here’s a little food trivia. Paratha came into trend from the time Mughals had been ruling these lands. While Punjab turned these stuffed flatbreads into a cozy, homely breakfast dish, the parathas in Agra are quite unique. You can clearly see the difference between the flaky and crispy crust you get here, as opposed to their Punjabi or other north-Indian counterparts. You can find it in almost all variations like anywhere but albeit with a Mughlai flavor.
Local hotspot: Agra Chat House, Sadar Bazar, Agra Cantonment.
Not to be confused with the Delhi ‘DahiBhalla’, these are what AlooTikki is to the rest of the country. Little patties of boiled potatoes and spices are pan-fried to perfection and served with chhole and chutney. A local favorite, Bhalla is officially the most famous street food of Agra and you cannot leave without giving it a try!
Local hotspot: PanchiPetha Store, HariParvat Crossing.
Visit any resident in Agra at tea time and you will be definitely served a bowl of dalmoth to go with the hot cuppa. A crispy and crunchy snack item, this is a mixture of sev, gathia, nuts, lentils, and spices. Usually enjoyed with tea, you will also find people enjoying this on-the-go, or as munchies with alcohol. Pack a goodie bag for the trip back home and we promise everyone will thank you forever!
Local Hotspot: Mama Chicken or Mama Franky, Sadar Bazaar.
The actual origin of tandoori chicken is debatable. While some think it originated in Peshawar side of un-partitioned Punjab, others believe in originated here. But the main fact about this delicious chicken recipe is that cooking whole chicken in clay ovens or tandoor dates back to the Mughal culture. The tradition still continues in Agra where juicy coal-roasted chicken is served with spicy mint chutney, making this an ethnic favorite of the city.
Local Hotspot: Deviram Sweets, MG Road, PratapPura.
We don’t think there is an Indian who has a little, if not a big fancy for this crispy dessert. When in Agra, enjoy this traditional Indian sweet with a local touch. Dunk yourself in the joy of the finest, melt-in-your-mouth jalebis in Agra at the famous Deviram Sweets (the same one serving Bedai). Hot and crunchy on the outside with a gooey sugar syrup filling, these are heavens on your palate.
Local Hotspot: PanchiPetha Store, HariParvat Crossing.
Well, we were saving the best for the last. After you have tried it all and high on Agra’s flavor, it is time to close the curtains on your food adventure with its signature sweets. A dessert as old as the TajMahal, these completely vegan sweets have been pleasing the taste-buds of this city for centuries if rightly put. Made with white pumpkin or ash gourd and garnished with dried fruits and nuts, these spongy little chunks come in all colors, flavors, shapes, and sizes. Leaving Agra without at least a box of Petha is nothing but sacrilege!
Do check the timings of these eateries before going. Some of them have a weekly day off.
Book an AC cab from Delhi to Agra if traveling in summer, since these months are harsh.