The Best Street Food In Delhi To Try When You Visit The Capital
So, your bags are packed and you are ready to go for the most-awaited trip of the year. And this year you have finally planned on making Delhi happen. You may be visiting the capital to attend a wedding, to meet your grandparents, attend an important meeting, or just to soak yourself in the history and beauty of the city. Whatever reason you have to visit the capital of India, there is something bigger and better that looms large in your mind at all times. And what must that be? With a heavily salivating mouth let me tell you what it is, not that you are not already aware of it – the street food.
Yes, the larger-than-life appeal of the yummilicious street food of Delhi summons one and all with its most tempting fragrances and sheer variety. And everyone more than readily gives in, with a smile on their face, eyes on the freshly fried potatoes being tossed in the green and red chutney, and of course a embarrassingly watery mouth. But trust me it is absolutely fine. Let your mouth water and eyes pop out at the huge gamut of the best street food in Delhi – salty, spicy, tangy, and sweet delicacies available at the local vendors – some even decades and centuries old.
So get set go – get ready with your list of what all you have to indulge in besides of course your friend’s wedding, the official meeting you have gone for, or the compulsory extended stop-over in the capital. Here’s a sorted and simplified bucket list for you:
List of top 10 best street food in Delhi
Being an ardent fan myself, how could I not start with this one! Trust me there is no right and wrong time, street, and vendor when it comes to having gol gappas in the capital. And there is absolutely no dearth of vendors for this all-time favourite – whether one is from Delhi or not. Even the locals cannot get enough of these round globes – made of wheat or sooji – stuffed with lightly spiced boiled chickpeas and potatoes and filled with the most lip-smacking flavoured water. A speciality of India and now even abroad, the Dilliwala flavour of these water balls is something you definitely would not want to miss. And you know what the best part is – you can have them on a full stomach too, they make their own way and space. Atleast with me, that is the case. Always.
Here comes the grand delicacy that even King Khan – Shahrukh Khan – finds impossible to resist. Round, crisp yet soft, and golden fried bhature – sumptuous and filling – savoured along with a rich chickpea gravy preparation made using authentic spices and flavours. It is generally served with some tangy pickles and to balance your rather heavy Punjabi course with something light, wash it down with a glass of sweet lassi or buttermilk along with or after this meal. This primarily Punjabi delicacy rules the heart of one and all in Delhi and beyond. Don’t miss out on this yummilicious treat and of course do remember to indulge in this one on an empty stomach. You can now get the same taste and aroma from your kitchen too with the most authentic NB Masala Chana Masala – from the largest spice market, Khari Baoli.
So this is another thing you will find at every nook and corner of the city. Many savoury crispy and spongy delights are layered together and then loaded with a generous coating of lots of tangy tamarind chutney and curd. Perfect for a mid-meal snacking, it will fill your stomach just enough to indulge in another street food speciality of the capital soon enough. And once you get the taste of this, you won’t be able to stay away from it and find yourself going back for more and more for whatever number of days you are there.
Let me reveal a secret – you can now prepare a sumptuous chaat at home too. With NB Masala Nau Bahar Chutney – a magical ingredient in used by almost all chaat vendors in Delhi for decades, it will bring out the flavours in your homemade chaat too.
This reminds me of the famous song which says, “my dil goes mmmmmm.” Because my dil is going mmmmm right now – just at the thought of those rich stuffed paranthas served with a generous serving of butter, handmade pickle, and sometimes curd too. There are many renowned addas for this throughout the city. However if you could go to Chandni Chowk, you can witness the magnitude of the city’s love for paranthas in all its glory at the famous ‘Paranthe wali Gali’. This is an all-time favourite of tourists and extremely popular amongst students, late night party mongers, and office goers. You will be bowled over by the massive variety and surely some will pleasantly surprise you too – for instance papad ka parantha. Don’t worry; go ahead and have it, it is equally delicious as it is surprising. Also, don’t forget to take back some renowned parantha masala from the largest spice market of Asia – Khari Baoli – and let your loved one who could not accompany you on the trip have a taste of authentic Delhi parantha preparation too.
Did you know the the famous Moolchand Paranthe wala boasts a high flying clientele in the past as well as present – Jawaharlal Nehru, Maharaja Of Kashmir, and Shahrukh being the most prominent ones.
The Mughals gave us a lot of great things; one of them surely is kebabs. And if you only thought of Lucknow at the mention of these meaty treats, you need to get to know your country and its regional specialities a little more; Delhi’s kebabs will make you go weak in the knees. Perfectly marinated in the most aromatic and authentic spices and roasted in the earthen ovens aka tandoors, these melt-in-the mouth meaty chunks of utter deliciousness are a must-eat in the capital city. If you are on a brief visit, you can carry these back with you for friends and family and let them rejoice in its unique taste and preparation too.
A famous North Indian speciality, not many are experts at, is dahi vada aka dahi bhalla. Seriously, curd could be so amazingly tasty! Whoever thought of going to such lengths in experimenting with curd was truly a genius foodie. Soft and spongy urad dal balls – dipped overnight, ground and fried the next morning – dipped in a bowl of curd garnished with chaat masala, black salt, fresh coriander leaves, red chilli powder, and some tamarind and jaggery chutney – is what this treat is all about. You can have it stand alone or with some nice and rich paranthas too. A generous sprinkling of handmade and unadulterated spices is something that adds to the flavour of each delicacy manifold. You can now get some authentic masala here.
Now who doesn’t love biryani? Cooked in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian styles, it makes both types of eaters equally happy. This delectable marriage of rice, aromatic spices, and vegetables/meat from Delhi is another blessing carried on by the Mughals. This delicacy has an extremely tempting aroma and appeal – with white, light brown, to orangish rice grains inviting you to relish this treat straight away. Try all varieties of biryani available in abundance in the streets of Delhi – some made by decade-old vendors who closely guard the secret recipes for their superb preparation.
If you are going out evening binging then do pamper your taste buds with some nice and steaming potato chops shallow fried and served with some curd, tamarind chutney, and pudina aka mint chutney too. And don’t worry, holidays and short breaks are to be indulged in; you can get back and follow your gym routine. Because when in Delhi, you cannot afford to miss out on these heavenly bites. And anyway, I hardly think you will be able to resist the whiff and strong appeal of these delicious snacks emanating from the makeshift kiosks of many street vendors, beating their steel tawa with a spatula to call for all your attention – a trick we all often fall prey to. And why not!
Paan has a special place in every Dilliwalla’s heart. Try out the most luscious varieties of paan available in the city and you would know why. From cherry topped, to sweetly stuffed, to roasted cashew, fresh fruit, black forest, to much more. The capital will amaze you by the successful and most-loved experiments they have done with paan. Did you know a famous paan vendor in Delhi has supplied paan to many US Presidents – Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George Bush to name a few. And also some Bollywood celebrities who keep coming to Delhi to have paan have their specific vendors from whom they receive a regular supply of this unique offering regularly.
Now when you are done browsing the streets of Delhi for some sumptuous delights, I am sure you would want to bring it to an end with something sweet. And fret not, the street vendors of the capital have a myriad of irresistible sweets lined up for you. Kulfi for sure tops the list. The taste and feel of this frozen, mawa ice cream on a hot sunny Delhi afternoon is enough to make your heart skip a beat and take you on a real refreshing and palatable ride. Try the various flavours – saffron, kesar, pista, matka, badam, rose, and many more endless variety this extravagant goodie is available in.
Having spent good five years in the capital of our country I can personally vouch for each and every item detailed above. And I don’t know about you, but I am already gearing up for a quick visit to Delhi so that I can relish all this and more super soon. If you leave the capital without trying any of these then you are not doing justice to your trip.
For now, go ahead and enjoy whatever you can lay your hands on and of course as much as your limited time permits you and come back and thank us later.
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