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Drumroll, and the best briyani is from …

Drumroll, and the best briyani is from …
Ella Tan
  • On March 19, 2015

Like many favourite local foods – chicken rice, curry debil, laksa, briyani – there will be differing opinions as to what constitutes the best. We can distinguish between the bad and the mediocre, but when it comes to the top of the heap, it becomes hard to pick a winner without an outright contest involving experts and public voting.

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Chef Devagi Sanmugam has spent a lifetime searching for her idea of the best briyani. In Hyderabad on a teaching assignment, she found it! Excerpts from her blog –

Everyone says that as a chef I make a good briyani! Yet, something in me is still craving for the ultimate one. I am still confused as to what makes a good briyani! The South Indian briyani is spicy whereas the North Indian ones are overly fragrant. The briyani sold in Indian Muslim restaurants and stalls in Singapore are too fatty for me. There are also those where the meat is cooked separately and then mixed with rice. This is called `dum’ briyani. Some rice grains are short, while others are long. Once cooked, some are either too soft or soggy. Some taste like curried rice and some like fried rice, with a ladle of curry thrown in.

Recently, I found the mother of all briyanis in Hyderabad! I was told by almost everyone I met in Hyderabad, that I should go to Paradise Restaurant to taste the best briyani in India, and perhaps the whole world.

The Secunderabad branch started as a small canteen and café in a cinema in 1953, growing into a large chain of restaurants, beyond Hyderabad. In 1978, the café had already been transformed into a 100-seater restaurant, serving Hyderabadi cuisine, including its famous briyani. There was also a bakery in the same building. In 1983 Mr Ali Hemati, chairman of the Paradise Restaurant chain, opened a multi-cuisine restaurant in the same building.

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