Embark on a culinary journey along the NH2 at Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre’s ongoing food festival
The National Highway 2 (NH 2), which connects Delhi and Kolkata via Uttar Pradesh and parts of Bihar, is about 1,400 km — making for nearly a 22-hour drive. However, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre gives you a chance to go on a quick trip down that route without the arduous journey — at their ongoing food festival, NH2 Trail. With more than 20 stalls spread across the poolside restaurant Okra, the two-week festival finds inspiration from the local dhabas and food stalls that dot the highway.
Talking about the festival, Executive Chef Aungshuman Chakraborty, tell us how he enjoys travelling as much as he likes to whip up authentic dishes in the kitchen. It’s not a surprise that he spent three weeks with his team on the NH, trying to get the best of the street grub to Hyderabad. “We stopped by as many as 150 dhabas and local eateries to try some unique fare that one can’t find here. However, we were keen on understanding the process of cooking and using ingredients, instead of just copying the recipe from the outlets,” he shares.
On a Friday evening, we begin our journey at Kolkata with a Thukpa and Chicken Bao. The mildly hot and refreshing Tibetan noodle soup is loaded with a mix of fresh vegetables and mushroom, making it ideal for the winter evening. Unlike the usual bao, this one is in the shape of a cup with a generous filling of minced chicken. We suggest you opt for the spicy schezwan sauce to go with it.
After a great start to meal, our first pit stop is to grab popular street food option from the City of Joy, Egg Roll. The paratha, flaky yet soft and crispy with an evenly distributed filling of egg, cheese, onions and green chillis, could be a meal in itself. Before you move to the next stop, we recommend you to try spicy Fish Chop. Chaat lovers, don’t forget to stop for Jhalmuri and Puchka.
The festival menu also comprises special cocktails made with locally-sourced ingredients. We try the Desi Daaru, which turns out to be a simple and refreshing cocktail made of rum and jaggery and served in a quarter glass.
Next up is Bihar’s Murmura Mutton — mutton gravy mixed with puffed rice and toppings of chopped onion and tomatoes — a flavourful snack. Our favourite, however, is the Dal Moth Kachori. This creamy mixture of lentils, beans and crushed kachori is topped with steamed rice and mint chutney, qualifies to be comfort food, reminding you of home-cooked dal chawal served with kachori.
Before we reach the capital, we make a quick stop at Mathura to bite into Jalebi and Malpua, among other sweets. Thankfully, the sizes of the two are rather small, making it easier for us to savour one of each while getting ready for parathas from Delhi. The crispy jalebis with rabdi are the star of the meal and so, we have no regrets of having dessert before the main course.
Arriving at our final destination — New Delhi, we finally settle on a table at the Paranthe Wali Gali section, while we watch chefs make piping hot Paneer Parathas. In less than two minutes, our plate of parathas arrive. Pair them with Sithaphal Ki Sabzi and tangy achaar. We finish off the meal with Nankhatai (shortbread biscuits) with chai, saving the classic Lassi, Tandoori Kebabs and Chole Bhature for our next visit.
Priced at Rs.1,800.