Rampur food festival: UP’s lesser-known treasure trove

- May 29, 2024
| By : Ahona Sengupta |

Holiday Inn at Mayur Vihar spread the table with delicacies from Rampur, whose rich flavours and diverse heritage set its cuisine apart from the more famous Lakhnavi fare

Sheermal with minced soya and non-veg starters

The culinary heritage of Rampur, a city often overshadowed by the gastronomic fame of Lucknow, took centre stage at the month-long Rampur Food Festival held at the Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar. The festival, which concluded on May 26, aimed to showcase the rich and diverse flavours of Rampur, highlighting its unique blend of royal and street food.

For three days every week — Friday to Sunday, the hotel’s banquet hall transformed into a haven for food enthusiasts, eager to explore the lesser-known treasures of Rampuri cuisine.

Also read: From the streets of Indore to Delhi

Upon entering the festival, guests were greeted by the warm, spicy aroma of the signature Rampuri dish, Taar Qorma. This rich and decadent curry, known for its velvety texture and deep flavours, was an immediate crowd favourite. Made with tender chunks of meat slow-cooked in a blend of aromatic spices, yogurt, and a hint of saffron, Taar Qorma epitomised the royal culinary traditions of Rampur. The dish’s name, Taar, refers to the fine threads of saffron that weave through the curry, adding a luxurious touch.


As the guests savoured their Taar Qorma, they were drawn to the next culinary marvel: Rampuri Kebabs. Unlike the more commonly known kebabs of Lucknow, Rampuri Kebabs offered a distinct taste and texture.

Urad dal ki khichdi

Also read: A feast fit for royalty and the dry lands of Rajasthan

Made from minced meat, marinated with a medley of spices including mace and nutmeg, and then grilled to perfection, these kebabs were succulent and flavourful. Each bite was a show of finesse of the chefs who had mastered the art of balancing spices.

Tawa Soya Keema and Sheermal

For those with a penchant for sweets, the festival presented Adrak Ka Halwa, a dessert that intrigued many. This ginger-based halwa was a revelation, with its unique blend of sweetness and the subtle heat from ginger. Made by slow-cooking grated ginger with ghee, sugar, and a touch of cardamom, Adrak Ka Halwa was not only delicious but also offered a warming, comforting experience. Its surprising flavour profile delighted the guests and showcased the innovative spirit of Rampuri cuisine.

Adrak ka Halwa (left) and Chukandar ka Halwa (right)

Another highlight of the festival was Gobi Gosht, a delightful combination of cauliflower and meat. This dish was a perfect example of Rampur’s culinary ingenuity, where humble vegetables were elevated to royal status. The cauliflower florets, cooked with tender pieces of mutton in a spicy, tangy gravy, absorbed the flavours beautifully, creating a harmonious balance of textures and tastes. It was a reminder that Rampur’s cuisine was not just about meat; it celebrated the versatility of vegetables as well.

Gobi Gosht

The festival also featured an array of Rampuri street food, bringing the bustling, vibrant atmosphere of Rampur’s markets to Mayur Vihar. Among the offerings were Dahi Bhalla, where lentil dumplings were soaked in creamy yogurt and topped with tamarind chutney and spices, and Rampuri Tikka, skewers of marinated chicken that were grilled to smoky perfection. These street food delicacies provided a glimpse into the everyday culinary delights of Rampur, which were as enchanting as their royal counterparts.

Tawa Rampuri Machhi

Throughout the festival, live cooking stations allowed guests to interact with chefs and witness the intricate preparation of these dishes. The chefs, with their wealth of knowledge and passion for Rampuri cuisine, shared stories and cooking tips, enriching the experience for everyone present. The interactive sessions created a deeper appreciation for the culinary heritage of Rampur, emphasising the meticulous techniques and historical significance behind each dish.

Aloo Zarda

The festival concluded with a grand feast, where guests had the opportunity to sample all the featured dishes and more. The tables were laden with a variety of Rampuri specialities, each more enticing than the last. As the guests indulged in the sumptuous spread, conversations buzzed with newfound admiration for Rampur’s cuisine. Many remarked on how the festival had opened their eyes to the rich and diverse food culture of Rampur, often eclipsed by the fame of its neighbour, Lucknow.

Shami Kebab

The Rampur Food Festival at Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar was not just a celebration of food; it was a journey into the heart of Rampur’s culinary legacy. It successfully highlighted the city’s exceptional combination of royal and street food, proving that Rampur’s gastronomic treasures deserve recognition and appreciation. As the festival came to a close, it left behind a lingering taste of Rampur’s rich culinary heritage.