Irani chai mana Hyderabad lo chaaaala famous. Chai ante ishtam unna vaallu cannot resist themselves from having this delicacy. Starting from a very long time and until now, Irani chai is the culture that dug its roots permanently here. But India is not its birth place. After biryani, irani chai is the one thing that we all look for in Hyderabad.
Irani chai is the most famous in Hyderabad’s old city and also in other parts of the world. Introduced by settlers from Persia, the beverage and the places serving it evolved into an institution over time. This chai started its way to India in 1890 when Persians suffered a huge famine and hundreds of people starved to death. They left their homeland and crossed the Hindukush mountain range on foot, a distance that today encompasses four countries and two continents, to arrive in the land then known as Hindostan. These Persian immigrants came to Mumbai’s port in the last century. They have started to sell tea that they made back in their country. And Mumbai got to taste the famous Irani chai. They finally survived through the famine and starvation they faced. From Mumbai they migrated to Pune and then to Hyderabad. Along with them came the concept of Irani chai.
The process of making this chai is entirely different from the ordinary one. Faraz, the owner of Shahrah Café says, “Tea in Iran was made with tea leaves and water and contained no milk. A large granule of sugar was tucked behind the cheek, and tea was enjoyed in small sips”. There are a lot of Irani cafes in the stretch from Secunderabad’s Sarojini Devi Road to Shah Ali Banda in Old City. The best-known – apart from Paradise and Garden Café, Farasha Café and Shah Ghouse Café – are Red Rose, New Grand Hotel and a couple of other chai shops around Charminar. There are many more places too.