Delhi, capital of India besides its historical important is also popular among the street food lovers. Specially, the old city streets of Chandni Chowk are a hub for the city’s best street food. Begin with mouth-watering dahi bhalla, gol guppas, paratha, kashori, lassi, rabdi faluda and crispy papri chaat . The streets are lined with halwais (sweet-sellers), namkeenwallahs (sellers of savouries) and paranthe wallahs.
The real flavor of the Delhi street food lies in the chaat. Chaat is basically a mixture of potato pieces, crispy fried bread, Dahi Bhalla, gram and tangy-salty spices. The mixture is garnished with sour Indian chilly, fresh green coriander leaves and yoghurt. However, there are several other variants also available. Let us explore a few of the chaat shops. Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar (1462), Bishan Swaroop (1421) is perhaps the best and most popular chaatwallah in Chandni Chowk. Nearby in Chawri Bazaar, Hira Lal Chaat Corner and Jugal Kishore Ramji Lal have perfected variations of fruit chaat. You cannot afford to give a miss to the authentic chaat at Lala Babu Chaat Bhandar (77, Chandni Chowk, Near McDonald’s).
How can you forget Gol Gappe (served with a type of Jal Jeera that’s packed with harad (a digestive) kachoris stuffed with potato and chana), Gobhi-Matar Samosas, Dahi Bhalla and Matar Paneer Tikki. The delicacy called Dahi Bhalla is a deep-fried urad dal dumpling smothered in whipped curd. Often, it is streaked with chocolate brown laces of sweet-sour tamarind chutney. Pink pomegranate seeds added with curd. Kachori, usually stuffed with pulses and served with potato curry, is another delicacy that makes your mouth water. Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala (1104, Chhatta Madan Gopal, Chandni Chowk) is perhaps the most famous for its Urad Dal Kachori, which is served with Aloo Subzi. This place is surely worth visiting.
On the sweeter side, Rabdi Faluda is a must. And the place to have it is ‘Giani di Hatti’ near the Fatehpuri Mosque. It has now become an ice-cream parlor specializing in exotic flavors like Litchi and Bubblegum. Apart from standard ice creams, they also serve milkshakes, fruit shakes, ice-cream shakes and sundaes. If you like kulfi – a flavored frozen dessert made of milk. The popular destination here is Siya Ram Nannumal Kulfiwale (629, Gali Lodan, Ajmeri Gate) They offer flavor including – Kesar, Pista, Rose, Kewra, Banana, Mango, or Pomegranate.
Let’s visit the world famous Paranthewali Gali. It became a famous gourmet locality when the parantha shops moved here in the 1870s. This lane has been the haunt of many celebrities of India. Paranthe Wale Gulli’s fried, crisp parantha comestuffed with the usual (Aloo Parantha, Gobhi Parantha and Matar Parantha, stuffed with potato, cauliflower and chana respectively potato or paneer) and there are several new variants including lentils, fenugreek, radish, papad, carrot and mixed. Besides, there are paranthas which cost slightly more and include those stuffed with paneer, mint, lemon, chilly, dry fruits, cashew, raisins, almond, rabdi, khurchan, banana, karela, lady’s finger and tomato. The paranthas are fried in pure ghee in cast-iron pans. They are served with Mint Chutney, vegetable pickle and Aloo Subzi. Perhaps the oldest shop among these is Pt Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan, established in 1872. Others include Pandit Devi Dayal’s (1886) and Kanhaiya Lal Durga Prasad’s Parantha Shop (1875).
In Chandni Chowk, you meet the Old and Famous Jalebiwala just before you enter Dariba Kalan. Refresh yourself with a delicious plate of hot jalebis – a sweet made by deep frying batter in a kind of round shape and then soaked in sugar syrup. Also, don’t miss the Jama Masjid area that buzzes with activity. The aroma of food come to your nose from the Urdu Bazaar facing Gate No. 1 of the Masjid and a side street called Matia Mahal. The smell of fresh fish, aromatic kebabs and fried chicken is in the air. Vendors sell kebabs and tikkas (made of buffalo meat) wrapped in rumali roti (paper-thin bread) at throwaway prices. The Mutton Burrahs,Mutton Korma, Shammi Kabab and Shahjahani Korma available here are worth testing.
Don’t forget to visit Ghantewala sweet shop at Chandni Chowk, which is more than 200 years old. The sweets here are prepared in pure desi ghee. Highly recommended are the Sohan Halwa Papdi, Pista Samosa and Badam Burfi – truly sinful pieces of heaven on earth.
Other best places in the hunt of street food include, South Delhi’s Bengali Sweets, Evergreen Sweet House and Haldiram’s. Varieties of Momos and Pork dishes available in the street of Sarojini market.