I am a person who traces his origins from the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. My ancestors belonged from the hill station of Almora. For we Kumaonis or generally put Pahadis (people belonging to the hills), one of the most important constituents of our daily diet is tea. Yes, you heard it correctly! I was left surprised the day when I arrived in Hyderabad from my hometown Bhopal and saw the ubiquitously present tea stalls and tea restaurants here. In this blog, I would discuss more about the ‘Chai culture’ of Hyderabad.
Hyderabad boasts of one of the maximum numbers of tea stalls anywhere in India. I read a few years back that there were almost 12,000 of them throughout the length and breadth of the city! By any means, it is a mind-boggling figure. At every nook and corner of the city, you can find these outlets serving piping hot tea along with accompaniments. The consumption of tea by Hyderabadis is also huge. We can have it at any time of the day from dawn till late in the night. The small restaurants and cafes are brimming with chats and conversations all day long. You can observe two vessels continuously over the fire; the vessels containing milk and the tea brew. Along with the tea, you can find the small tea stalls also serving boiled milk, coffee, lemon tea and what not. In case of the small restaurants, you can find some other things to satisfy your stomach like Paratha, Poori Sabzi, Gobhi Manchuria, Chicken Manchuria, Fried Rice, Omelette, Lukmi, Fruit Bun, DilKhush… I am stopping here as the complete list of food items served would take most part of this blog! The best thing in all of this is that it is very cheap and does not do much damage to your wallet.
One thing which you find at almost all of these stalls is the Irani Chai and Osmania biscuits being served. The choices amongst the biscuits tend to get an increase in the offerings of Fruit Biscuit, Chand Biscuit, and Jam Biscuits etc. Some places like the Nimrah Café and Bakery near Charminar and Hotel Alpha near the entrance of Secunderabad Railway Station are a must try. The huge crowds of people thronging these places make it a sight to watch. You can feel excited stepping amidst the constant chaos and the noises made here. No wonder these two places open so early and close late in the night. They actually have a break time of a mere few hours in their daily operations! Most of the famous restaurants in Hyderabad also have a separate section dedicated specifically for tea. So much for the love of tea!
But one destination is still elusive, the Blue Sea Café near Secunderabad. I will surely write about the same once I visit it. I have heard their Golden Tea is a thing to die for. Off late, I have been trying to restrict my tea intake but as the saying goes, it’s difficult to let go of your traditions. Kumaonis drink tea by the cups, huge steel cups, and relish it each and every time. One thing which did not disappoint me in Hyderabad was the ‘Chai culture’ of the city. A city is a heavenly place for all the people who relish a cup of good tea. As I mentioned above, the sheer number of the places to visit is an interesting feat to achieve. One single life will no doubt be less to taste the tea served at every outlet in the city!