Chhattisgarh being one of the youngest states in India is on its way to make its own local food identity. Although people here prefer tangy recipes, cuisines here are greatly influenced by the states with which it shares its borders. Just to start with breakfast, you will find Idly, Dosa (south), Vadapav (west), Parathas (north), Puri, Samosa stuffed with Potatoes (east) etc.
Chhattisgarh is also considered the Rice bowl of central India. Maize, Wheat and Jowar form the basic diet of the inhabitants of Chhattisgarh.Arhar Dal is the clear winner among the pulses. Jalebis are immensely savored upon. Bafauri is a typical local chana dal sweet of Chhattisgarh. It is quite popular and known for its great taste. When it comes to vegetables, Potato, Ladies Finger, Cabbage and other leafy vegetables are widely used. Sugar cane juice is widely served during summers. Another popular delicacy of Chhattisgarh is undoubtedly the Tikhur Barfi. Grown in abundance in the state, its easy availability enhances the popularity of the dish. The dish also has positive medicinal properties – locals believe that it increases immunity against common diseases.
On price front, one can find good food at comparably lower prices than other cities in India, but, the service standards are a bit low. There are many hotels specifically based on “Thali” theme which typically charge 50 to 200 depending on the standards of the hotel. Roti, Rice, Dal, two different curries, Curd and Papad are common components in Thalis. I feel the reason that Thali here is so popular is because of its diversity. It has atleast two items which is liked by the people of from neighbouring states. Since the number of people immigrating from other states is higher, no wonder Thali is so popular here. Maharaja, Mahavir, Girnar, Arihant are some of the famous Thali restaurants in Raipur. You can find some more Thali restaurants here.
Even though traditional food has its preference here, the demand for continental food is also increasing at a very good rate. Dominoes already has a good presence and Subway, KFC, and Pizza Hut are starting up or growing fast. Since more shopping malls are expected to open up in the city, the demand for continental food would rise. Apart from exclusive chains, there are some local restaurants like Indian Chilly; Goody Foody chinese center, Rajdhani fast food etc which offer decent continental dishes in their menu.
One more thing that I found in Raipur is that vegetarian restaurants are clearly dominant but, there are few good restaurants for non-vegetarians too. Chicken is available in most areas with a flavour of local spices and there are many street vendors selling tandoori type Chicken. Noorjahan, Mezbaan, Indian Chilly are some of the famous restaurants for non-vegetarians. After moving around to nearby cities like Durg, Bhilai, Bilaspur etc, I found that there is not much difference in flavour or spices or taste of the food there compared to what is available in Raipur but to be sure and for expert help in locating eateries in these areas one can always contact… you know who?