Being a Delhi girl in Mumbai, I often get bombarded with questions like ‘what do you think which city is better Delhi or Mumbai’, Is it true that Delhi is not a safe place for girls? and then comments like you’re from a ‘Rape capital’, ‘you Delhiites are so rude and flamboyant’, which has often landed me in an argument, sometimes with my friends and at times with the interviewers as well.
But don’t worry this post is not about Delhi v/s Mumbai, so you can say whatever you want about the city, but you will always fall short of completely capturing the soul of the place. And really, how can you, with a history like Delhi’s? There’s something that Delhiites beat everyone else at, is FOOD. Eating, making, everything about the dilli cuisine is exquisitely prepared, sometimes dangerous (for the bowels!), sometimes mellow, a blend of many opposing tastes, much like the people in Delhi. 😉
Well Mumbaikars never seem to understand why Delhi imports cannot find satisfaction in Paani-Puri or what’s the big deal about Delhi’s Rajma Chawal. But, you can’t argue with a full mouth and a satisfied tummy takes the fight away from you. So with much love and much more growling of our stomachs, let me take you on a quick Roller coaster food ride and let me show you a collection of exquisite street food that the city has to offer.
(the post is especially for my friends from different cities or countries, if you happen to visit the capital do make it a point to visit these joints, because Delhi is much more than just Paranthe Wali gali and Sita Ram’s chole bhature) 😊
1. Bedmi Poori & Aloo Sabzi
Breakfast doesn’t get better than eating Bedmi poori at 8 in the morning. Bedmi poori and aalo sabzi is a famous breakfast item, especially in the tiny lanes of Old Delhi. Bedmi is deep-fried, crisp and puffy poori made with wheat flour and ground urad lentil mixed with spices, it is served with aloo subzi (potato gravy), and it is generally heavier than plain pooris, which are only of regular flour, and the filling inside it makes it super crunchy and crispy. It’s a very spicy and delectable Delhi cuisine. If you are in Delhi and haven’t tried this heavenly dish, which is a big hit here, then you are missing out on something big. A must try for spice lovers!
Tip: Try the hot halwa with your poori aloo. Don’t forget to ask for extra sabzi 😛
Where to try: Shyam Sweets, Chawri Bazar, Old Delhi
Kamal Sweets, Pahari Dhiraj, Old Delhi
Ram Swaroop Agarwal, Old Delhi
You get paranthas almost everywhere in Delhi and at all times. For a moment let’s just chuck Paranthe Wali gali and talk about this another oldest kid on the block, Moolchand Parathewala, which is as much part of Delhi’s history as the Qutub Minar. Their menu consists of a wide variety of paranthas to die for. Nights of boozing and partying have sent delhiites in search for filling and butter loaded parathas here. And while studying in LSR, which is very close to this place gave me a chance to have these paranthas at day time too.
Where to try: Moolchand Metro station, Lajpat Nagar-4, New Delhi
I say it again.. “Chole Kulcha and not Chole Bhatura”. So, after shifting to Mumbai the thing I miss the most about Delhi is Chole Kulcha and the reason I mentioned the name twice above is because whenever I’ve had asked people here like where do you get the best chole kulche they’ve either told me that they don’t know what is kulcha, which is fine but then there were people who told me about the best chola bhatura corners in Mumbai, because according to them Kulcha and bhatura is one and the same thing! *facepalm*
Anyway coming back to Chole Kulcha, it is most easily available and famous street food in Delhi and it’s a favourite among Delhites.
Tip: Just ask the bhaiya to add extra onions to your chole to make it crispier.
Where to try: Lootan at Chawri Bazar,UPSC bhawan, Near Tip Top market, Karol Bagh
Who doesn’t like aloo chaat? Please tell who doesn’t. Aloo chaat, which we are very proud of, requires the ‘Aloo’ to be FRIED and mixed with a tonne of spices. End of story!! Boiled potato would just not do and is absolutely out of question.
Where to try: UPSC bhawan, Taraam bazar in Chandni Chowk, Bittoo Tikki Wala (safest option for those obsessed with hygenic stuff)
5.Kachori With Sabzi
This Delhi street food will make you ask for more. Teary eyes and runny nose, all the while you enjoy this spicy treat. Add a dash of coriander and chilies, and you are set!
Where to try: Hanuman Mandir in Connaught Place, Jung Bhadur (JB) in Chandni Chowk, Baba Nagpal Corner in Lajpat Nagar, Westend Corner in Sadar Bazar, Old Delhi
Well since its name is ladoo, do not expect a sweet ladoo. Yes, you read it right- these ram ladoos are not at all a sweet dish, this is a savory ladoo that is served with sweet and spicy sauces. The vendors are mostly migrants from UP and Bihar, who carries the wicker baskets of Ram laddoos on their head and a bamboo stand under their arm. Stopping where the crowd is, they set up the stall and serve the dumplings in a leaf bowl, garnishing them with grated radish, deep-fried batter-coated green chillies, and a generous helping of raw mango-pudina chutney. The laddoo is dry, but the juicy radish knocks out its little toughness.
Being one of my favourites, I often eat it for late evening snack and at times in dinner too.
Where to try: They could be spotted almost everywhere in Delhi, but the one in Lajpat Nagar market sells amazing Ram Ladoos.
The best street food of Delhi is its kebabs. You will get a huge variety of kebabs in Delhi- from Kakori Kebab to Galouti Kebab to Shami Kebab. All of these kebabs are full of flavors and spices that remind you of the Nawabs.
Where to try- Karim’s at Jama Masjid, Khan Chacha at Khan Market, Galib Kebab Corner at Nizamuddin.
The one grouse that every Delhiite secretly nurtures against Mumbai street food is how Paani Puri comes nowhere close to the Golgappa. Well most of the people have this misconception that Gol Gappa, Pani puri, Puchka’s are all same, but actually they are NOT. Delhi golgappas aren’t identical to the panipuri of Mumbai. The puris are often slightly elongated when compared to what’s available in the rest of the country. Having tasted both Pani Puri and Gol gappas, I would say I liked both, though little different but equally tasty.
Where to try- Local market in Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Rajouri Garden, Lajpat Nagar Market (you could find it everywhere).
You just can’t miss this delight of the street food in Delhi that we call dahi bhalla. The sweet curd and mix of sweet red and tangy green chutney on top of soaked dal vada, mmmmm…
Where to try: Natraj in Chandni Chowk, Atul Chaat Bhandar in Rajouri Market, Shyam Ji Corner at Old Delhi Road and Dahi Bhalla Corner at Karol Bagh.
10.Daulat Ki Chaat
Now enough of spicy, tangy food, let’s jump to dessert. Now this famous food of Delhi was invented by The Taste God himself. You don’t believe me? Then try it out for yourself and you will see that it tastes too good to be a human creation. It’s like a cottony pile is scooped out delicately and topped off with sugar, green cardamom, almond flakes and pistachios. What I love the most are the bits of malai, added later, that simply melt on your tongue. It is then embellished with ‘Chandi ka Warq’ (silver leaf) as a final touch. But you could only find it in winters.
Where to try: Usually you would find it in Old Delhi.
My another favourite is this buttery food called ‘nan khatai’ — is a must try for cookie lovers. You will definitely pledge your love to this famous food in Delhi the moment you take your first bit of it and it would melt in your mouth and leave a lingering taste behind. And make sure you don’t let your Naan Khatai get cold, binge on it while its still hot.
Where to try: Again, you could find it almost everywhere in Delhi, especially Old Delhi.
This syrupy delight is full of mouth-watering Rabdi Falooda, a sweet delicacy filled with Falooda and topped with Rabdi (made with sweetened caramelised milk, crushed pistachios, almonds and cashew nuts). Not too sweet, this dessert will leave you asking for more. It is my personal favorite dessert since a long time. Just by talking about it, I got a craving for this nectarous dessert. And trust me the goodness is worth all the calorie intake.
Where to try: Giani’s Di Hatti in Fatehpuri, Old Delhi.
As Delhiites are known to be big foodies, and no matter what time of the day it is when it comes to food they always have the “bring it on” attitude and street food is a hit here. So get that attitude in you when you’re in Delhi and hit the roads and head to these amazing outlets.
So being a true Delhiite and a gourmand I’ve mentioned all my favourite places above, hope it helps you in choosing where to go and have good food when in Delhi. 🙂