Hyderabad: There is food for thought aplenty. As if there is a dearth of issues, Twitterati is awash with biryani and the quintessential question - which is the best one. It all started with one Amitabh Kant stating on Wednesday that Thalassery fish biryani from Paris restaurant is the best one in the world. It's awesome and beats all other biryanis by miles, he remarked.

This post literally unleashed a war of claims and counter claims. Even the Telangana IT Minister, K.T. Rama Rao, jumped into the row with the comment that all bragging rights on the best biryani in the world belong rightfully to Hyderabad. He dared Amitabh that the rest of biryanis are only poor imitations. "Even UNESCO recognised our gourmet culture recently and conferred the title of 'creative city of gastronomy', KTR remarked.

The master chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, also supports the view that Hyderabad is the biryani capital of world. A biryani which is not Hyderabadi is not biryani at all, quips another twitterati, Obaid Ahmed. However, some like Pradeep Shenoy beg to differ. He feels Hyderabadi biryani is overhyped and the best one, as per his taste buds, is Kerala's Thalassery biryani.

Whatever, one thing is for sure. For foodies there is no love like the love of a biryani. Every region has its own brand of biryani replete with indigenous flavours and local ingredients. So you have Lucknowi biryani, Awadhi biryani, Kashmiri biryani, Malabar biryani, Mughalai biryani, Kolkata biryani, Memoni biryani. The list is endless. They all differ in the method and spices used. But the gourmets are unanimous in their opinion about Hyderabadi biryani being the best of all. It's in a class of its own, they agree.

Biryani is believed to have reached Hyderabad when Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, invaded the city in the late 1600s. The Nizam chefs mastered the subtle nuances of biryani. What sets apart the signature dish of Hyderabad is the cooking of kacha gosht (raw meat) and basmati rice together. The marinated meat flavour mixes with the rice to give that distinct lip-smacking flavour.

There are tweets and retweets. Some are awful, some witty and some plain provocative. But the ones that flashed today seem to be pretty tasty. The tweets on biryani suggest that people are in good company.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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