Hyderabad is probably one of the few Indian cities that holds its heritage and culture largely through food. A city, known for its Biryani and its incredible range of food, which is not just another cuisine but a way of life, has been selected as the most creative city in the gastronomy category, officially designated as a Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy.
On the occasion of World Cities Day 2019, UNESCO had announced that Hyderabad was among the 66 cities named by the UNESCO in the list of new Creative Cities which aims at pushing the Sustainable Development Goals through innovative thinking and action. It is among two from India in list of 66 cities chosen with Mumbai being the other in the Film category.
Food historians, critics, and chefs agreed to the endowment of Hyderabad with the accolade not just for the varied range of dishes that it has to offer, but also for its use of home-grown ingredients and cooking techniques. The credit may also be transferred to Hyderabadi recipes as Yakhni, Tehri and Paya.
The Hyderabad delegation in its dossier submitted to the UNESCO stated, “Pre-Islamic Kakatiya cuisines (12th century) have interacted in an incredible fashion with the arrival of Turks in 15th century, followed by Mughal influences in the 17th century.”
As per the dossier, Gastronomy provides direct and indirect livelihood to about 12 per cent of the city’s working population. About 700 tonnes of chicken and 2,000 tonnes during festivals and 291 tonnes of meat is consumed per day in the city. “The characteristic ingredients or spices of the cuisine include curry leaves, ginger, chilli, tamarind, and all local seasonal vegetables.”