I never feel like I've totally discovered the food scene in a city until I've hit up at least one roadside shack that's a total hole-in-the-wall, where all the locals get their shawarmas in Dubai/cheesesteaks in Philly/vada pav in Mumbai/coffee in Seattle/pizza and cupcakes in NYC/tex-mex in Houston/yummy local flavor X in city Y. I want to go where the locals go for their sthttp://www.iliveinafryingpan.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1156&action=edit&message=10raight-up, no hype, no frills, simple and honest-to-goodness taste of their city.
In Hyderabad, that would mean taking an auto (tiny and super flimsy three-wheeled doorless cab) to Bade Miyan Kababs, located under necklace road in the middle Tank Bund area. Everything about it, its non-descript location (really, under the road?), cheesy tagline "Enjoy the Taste of Food," narrow bar-style tables made out of cheap tiles (which implicitly hints: come, eat, leave - we're not about the ambiance people.), groups of locals hanging around till 11pm, and a menu with 0% fancy and 100% native and dirt-cheap, all of it tells me that I'm at the right place for some authentic local flavor.
Yin and I get there around 11pm on a Friday night. They seem somewhat busy, even though they have only one or two groups seated at the table. The orders are streaming in from people who're stopping by in their cars on the road above, conveniently getting the servers to give them drive-thru service without moving an inch from their cushy car seats.
Similar to many of the typical Hyderabadi eateries, they have a 'multi-cuisine' concept, which I'd think of as random, totally incongruous food concoctions thrown together on one menu. In this case, it was a strange mix of chaat (Indian fast food), kebabs, and weirdly (though super common in Hyderabad), chinese as well. Anything that a local tastebud could crave for at 11pm at night.
We go straight for the fast-moving goods that Bade Miyan is famous for, kababs served up hot and fresh from a huge open-air grilling plate being manned by a guy who was vigorously flipping the meats over with one hand and fanning the rising smoke with the other.
Chicken Tangdi Kabab (chicken drumsticks). Super tender and smoky, the grilling marinade had seeped right through and made each bite really juicy and flavorful.
...and the Mutton Boti Kabab. This one was suprisingly a bit bland and tasteless. Strange, I'd have expected them to have had some pretty life-changing mutton kababs. But we were pretty unmoved. So unmoved in fact that we even committed the rare act of leaving a few pieces untouched on the plate.
Loved, loved, loved the fresh parathas. They were thin and light, with alternating crispy areas and soft flaky areas. The perfect way to wrap each bite of smokey kabab.
The huge chaat fanatic that I am, I couldn't resist ordering a plate of Sev Puri: crispy miniature puris stuffed with potatoes, doused in yogurt sauce and sweet-sour-spicy chutneys, and sprinkled with crunchy deep-fried strands of gram flour dough, aka sev.
Also tried their Pav Bhaji, which is basically this platter of veggies that's been pressure-cooked until they break down completely and form one gloopy, addictively awesome, veggie mush ('bhaji'), served up with super-soft buns ('pav') that have been grilled with Indian-style butter, aka ghee. Even though Bade Miyan had added a generous amount of spice to their bhaji (warning sign - potential tummy catastrophe!), I thoroughly enjoyed sopping up the potent tomato-dominated mush with the buttered pav.
I'll admit I was a bit anxious about getting a tummy upset, especially after multiple warnings from friends and family to stay away from roadside stalls and shacks in India. But the anxiety started melting away with the first juicy bite of tangdi kebab and warm paratha, and totally vanished when I woke up the next morning, feeling like my usual hungry self and with a tummy fit enough for another day of local food exploration.
Bade Miyan Kababs
Phone: +91 (40 ) 98492 86169
Middle Tank Bund, Hyderabad
2 pm to 11 pm