Delhi is the gastronomical capital of India and street food is what keeps us ticking. Delhi is well known for its street food. Street food is popular everywhere in the world. In Thailand, you can grab a hot bowl of Ramen in the floating market, indulge in delicious Poutine drenched in gravy or bite into a fat juicy hot dog in USA.
But India, arguably, is unmatched when it comes to the variety of street food available. There is something for every season and every taste. Winters are incomplete without crispy Aalu Tikkis and Ram Laddoos. Summers are best dealt with by gorging on gol gappas and bhalla papdi.
The rains are the perfect occasion to celebrate with pakodas and even a plate of bhel puri.
Some of the well-known places to eat in Delhi are Chandni Chowk, Pandara Road, Khan Market, Dilli Haat, Connaught Place Hauz Khas Nehru Place and more.
You can get these food in the luxury of the mall too, where you can shop and eat. But the real fun to enjoy these delicacies is to go out there and enjoy. The best part is you don’t even need to shrug off extra bucks from your pocket to eat these food on the street.
If you ask anybody in the town about the place to eat or the best market where you can get the best food, then I am sure he/she will surely recommend Chandni Chowk in the first place. Chandni Chowk among Delhites is commonly known as Dilli 6. It is one stop point to find all the street food delicacies at the same place like Dahi Bhalla, Idli Sambar, Chole Kulche, Chole Bathure, a huge varieties of Paranthas, Amritsari Lassi, Non-veg cuisine, delicious local deserts, Ice-Cream, Kulfi, some local snacks, and more-n-more things to treat you all foodies.
The streets are lined up with halwais (sweet-sellers), namkeen waalas (sellers of savories) and paranthe waalas (sellers of stuffed, flaky breads which are soaked in ghee/oil). A good idea in Chandni Chowk will be to start your tour with the Paranthe waali gali. This lane has been the haunt of many celebrities of India. Though the number of shops has been reduced since the establishment in the 1870s. There are still a bunch of old school Paranthe waalas which have been serving since then, like the Pt. Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan, Kanhaiya Lal Durga Prasad’s Parantha Shop and Pt. Devi Dayal’s Parantha Shop.
You can get from a variety of Parantha’s from stuffed to plain all served with different kinds of Chutney, Pickle and Sabzi. Well don’t just fill your stomach with Parantha’s, Chandni Chowk has more to offer.
The real flavor of the Delhi’s street food lies within the chaat. The Dahi Bhalla, Gol Gapppa Aaloo Tikkki or Dahi Papdi. Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar (Open from Noon-10pm), Bishan Swaroop (Open from 10am to 10pm), Lala Babu Chaat Bhandar (Open from 11am to 10pm), Jugal Kishore Ramji Lal (Open from 10:30am to 10pm) and Natraj Dahi Bhalla (Open from 11am to 10pm).
Well that was some of the best chats you just had. So now let us head towards something different like Kachori, Rabdi Faluda and some yummy, tasty Jalebi’s. The best Kachori offered by is the Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala (Open from 10:30am to 8pm). This place is surely worth the adventure. The best place to have Rabdi Faluda is the Giani Di Hatti near the Fathehpuri Mosque and for Jalebi’s you can head towards the Dariba Kalan.
If you loved the Jalebi’s, well then you will also love the variety of sweets this place has to offer. Ghantewaala at Chandni Chwok is more than 200 years old. The sweets here are prepared in pure desi ghee. I would highly recommend you to try Sohan Halwa Papdi, Pista Samosa and Badam Burfi. If you’re are a non-veg lover then these are the places for you Chor Bizarre is one of the few restaurants to serve Kasmiri food. Among the specials are the Tabak Maaz, Yakhni, Rishta, Goshtaba and Haaq. These are some of the best non-veg dishes you can get. The nearest metro station to reach Chandni Chowk is the Chandni Chowk metro station itself.
Now moving away from Chandni Chowk, we move to Khokha market in Saket. There is small kiosk named New Kanagam Fast Food. It serves pure South Indian food like idli, dosa, vada and other dishes.
The flavor of food is distinctly Tamilian. The Dosa and Uttapum are real good, the Sambhar is exceptional and the Chutney is spicy, with too much dal and les coconut. Kanagam is a great value for money. Menu starting at about just 30Rs. The only problem you will have is finding this place as a very few people know about this place and the timing of the opening, it’s from 4:30 pm to 9:30pm, open all days. The nearest metro station is the Malviya Nagar metro station, from there you need to go till Block N of Saket Nagar where you will be able to find Kanagam.
Our next stop is the Hauz Rani main road which is in the vicinity of Malviya Nagar. This place is for the non-veg lovers strictly.
There are some Afghan joints all close to each other which provide some of the classic Afghan style chicken, mutton and beef. Afghan Hotel, a roadside takeaway with a six seater indoor space, the Afghan Bakery selling just taftaan. And two proper restaurants – Aria and Afghan Darbar.The food at Afghan Hotel was simple enough. Chicken and beef kebabs cooked on a charcoal grill. A palloo or pulao, a chicken qorma, a beef kofta curry, taftan bought from the Afghan bakery next door and green tea to go along with the food. No fridges, no leftovers; everything in limited quantities and whatever gets over, is over for the day. The nearest metro station is again the Malviya Nagar metro station, but you need go till Max Hospital and you will find these joints across the road.
Our next stop is Paharganj, main market. Here a guy on his hand-cart sells Indian biscuit, which we call it as Naankhatai. I am not sure about your liking but I loved and enjoyed while having. The taste is superb and also is delicious. You can get Naankhatai pretty much all across Old Delhi but it’s a bit of haunt as they keep moving around from one place to other. So I am not even sure if you will get to eat it or not but it’s worth a try and I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
Janta Sweets is also one place to explore while you’re in Paharganj. It is located in a quiet corner in one of the lanes of Multani Dhanda in Paharganj. It sells tasty Moong Dal Samosa. The shop is almost 50 year old and is quite popular in the area.
Papu Delhi Sandwich stall is also one place you won’t like to miss. This guy makes something like a Bread Pakora style thing and converts it into a chaat. This stall can be found at the end of the Mai Bazaar (Market) in Paharganj. He has been making sandwiches and tikki for the past 35years. His sandwiches are a bit out-of-the-ordinary. He puts a spiced mashed potato stuffing between two slices of bread and dips this in a besan batter. And then shallow fries it. Once both sides become brown, he cuts it into four and adds saunth and green chutney on top along with sliced onion. Quite simple, it’s a Delhi-style bread pakora converted into chaat. At the end, what Pappu bhai serves as a sandwich is stunning. His chutneys have the right flavour and consistency. The bread is crisp on the outside and soft inside. And yes. Far less oily than the regular bread pakoras. Paharganj is located near the New Delhi Railway Station and the nearest metro station is New Delhi metro station.
Off we go to a new destination i.e. Mandair Waali Gali in Yusuf Sarai located in South of Delhi on the Aurobindo Marg close to AIIMS. The Mandir Waali Gali is a quiet lane tucked away behind the Yusuf Sarai market. Yusuf Sarai is an extremely busy place and on a very busy road. But behind the flashy new exteriors the Mandir Waali Gali is in a stark contrast which is locked up in time.
The most famous shop in the gali is the Balaji Pitthi Waala, which sells pakoras of many different kinds, sweets and some limited lunch items. It’s right opposite to the mandir (temple) and usually is very busy place. During Holi and Mahashivratri (both holy traditional Hindu festivals) they also sell Bhang, Bhang-laced Thandais and Pakoras. Th Kachori’s of this place are also really good. You can also get Bread Pakora and Jalebi’s. A must try is the Athithi restaurants milk. This milk is no ordinary milk, this is the Kadhai-waala doodh (milk), which itself is delicious. Simmered for hours to get the perfect thickness and have no idea what do they add in the milk. They just refused to reveal it. Nearest metro station to this place would be the AIIMS metro station.
The list of street food places in Delhi are almost endless. The more you explore the more food corners or joints you will find which will serve something unique and so delicious that you will want to come over and over again. So keep exploring and keep eating.
Well Delhi is not just about food it also has much more than that to offer. So enjoy, eat and live up to Delhi’s standards and your trip would become one worth remembering.