Delhi might be the Indian capital, but few know before they arrive it’s one of the country’s capital of food. If you don’t know your parathas from your aloo tikkis, this guide to the best street food in Delhi is for you.
Arming yourself with the just a little knowledge on the best street food in Delhi can make the difference between culinary heaven and the infamous Delhi belly.
Here’s our rundown of the best street food in Delhi and the best stalls and shophouses to find them during your time in the capital.
UPSC, Man Singh Road Area
A good introduction to the best street food in Delhi is aloo tikki, a mashed potato patty fried until golden topped with several different chutneys – typically coriander and mint, tamarind and curd, perhaps with the addition of finely sliced onions and pomegranate.
Look out for large round iron plancher on the streets of Delhi cooking these crispy morsels. At just 30 cents a portion, feel free to have another or even a third.
While you'll find them across the city, not all are made equal. Those in the know make a beeline for Shri Prabhu Chaat Bhandar, a vendor that sets up daily along the UPSC building just a short walk from India Gate. It's easily one the best street food in Delhi - a family recipe that's been passed down through the generations and is the perfect balance between crispy potato, tangy tamarind and creamy sweet curd.
1396 Main Road
In the same family as aloo tikka is dahi bhalla - fried lentil flour balls are cooled before being soaked in curd yogurt, tamarind and topped with pomegranate seeds. It's cold, refreshing and, without a doubt, one of the best street foods in Delhi.
When you emerge from Chandni Chowk station, follow the tiny path south past the temple to the main street that cuts through the old town. On the corner, you'll find Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala, an open shophouse that's been making excellent dahi bhalle for since the '40s. They only have two things on the menu - the other is aloo tikki which is also good. It's always a good sign of the best street food in Delhi when the vendors focus on such a short menu.
34 Gali Paranthe Wali
You can't create a list of the best street food in Delhi and not include parathas, flat breads stuffed with everything from spiced mash potato, okra, tomatoes or paneer and accompanied by a variety of chutneys and a bowl of cooling curd.
Some of the best are served at the famous Parathe Wali Galli street in the old town where a cluster of paratha restaurants sell crispy fried breads for more than a century. Look out for PT. Gaya Prashad Shiv Charan, a no frills eatery that cook up some of the best street food in Delhi.
1104 Gali Bhojpura Road
Kachoris are a type of crispy, fried bread often stuffed with beans and topped with tangy tamarind water and creamy lentil daal. A few chilies and sliced onions add a little kick to proceedings.
Be warned. A couple of kachoris are so filling they can wipe out any opportunity for tasting much else. Locals know for the best street food in Delhi, the winding streets around Chandni Chowk are where you find the good kachoris.
Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala, a small corner street food vendor, has been cooking up spicy kachoris since 1971 and was awarded the best street food in Delhi by the Hindustan Times. It's just a short walk from Parathe Wali Galli.
1-B Back Lane, Khan Market
While Indian might be famous for its vegetarian food, carnivores don't have to miss out. There's a long history of Mughlai cuisine in the city which is best seen in the kebab spots. Juicy mutton kebabs cooked over charcoal creates an irresistible aroma along the streets nearby, so if in doubt, just follow your nose.
For the best street food in Delhi, try the mutton seekh kebabs wrapped in paper-thin rumali rotis from Azam’s Mughlai. Perfectly spiced kebabs cooked over hot coals which just the right amount of fat to keep them from drying out.
11 Ring Road
+91 98115 04779
These fried street snacks come in all shapes and sizes, but are typically made from onions, spinach, aubergine or cauliflower.
They might be rarer, but the paneer (cottage cheese) pakoras are particularly good, while the chilli pakoras have quite a kick. Best dipped in mint and coriander chutney and eaten alongside a cup of chai.
Pakoras are, without a doubt, one of the best street foods in Delhi where ever you try them. But the locals know that the finest are cooked up at Khandani Pakode Wala along the Ring Road market. The star of the show is the baingan ka pakora made from eggplant. Get here early because they sell out fast most days.
830 Pan Mandi
+91 99990 22245
Wander around most corners of the city and you'll surely spot hungry Delhiites eagerly devouring small plates of chole bhature, a spicy chickpea curry pepped up with green chillies, sliced onions and lime and usually sold with deep-fried bhaturas, a thin, pillow-like bread.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, just follow the breakfast crowds. But if you can navigate the city, try Nand Bhature Wale Di hatti, a small vendor that cooks up some of the best street food in Delhi's old town.
Janpath Bhawan, Connaught Lane
Gol gappa are crispy, hollow pastry shells (look out for the towering plastic sacks filled with snacks) that are cracked and filled with tamarind chutney, chaat masala, flavoured water (imli pani) and chili powder. Sometimes more filling gol gappa have masala spiked mash potato or chickpeas. Be warned, they are as addictive as they sound. The vendor will keep serving you individual shells until you refuse.
Mumbai has pani puris, Kolkata has puchka, but Delhi's gol gappa version is often tipped to the most flavoursome. It would be criminal to exclude them from this list of the best street food in Delhi.
Navigate your way to Connaught Place and seek out Prince Chaat Corner which does some perfectly spiced gol gappa.
Asaf Ali Road
Samosas don't need an introduction to most and almost every Delhiites would include this crispy snack on the list of the best street food in Delhi. For those who aren't as familiar, samosas are deep fried pasty parcels usually filled with masala-spiked mash potato. It's best eaten with sweet cutting chai tea.
While we would usually recommend a street vendor, we're going to make an exception because some fine versions (and actually the largest samosas in the city) are found at the chaat counter in the Delite Cinema close to Turkman Gate. You'll have to nab a ticket to get one of the enormous maha samosa, but who doesn't want to catch a Bollywood movie while they are in town anyway?
1795 Dariba Kalan Road
+91 11 2325 6973
When it comes to sweets, if you had to pick the best street food in Delhi, it would have to be the jalebi. These pretzel-shaped Indian sweets are made by dropped batter into hot oil until golden and then soaked in a sugar syrup.
Without a doubt, the best come from Jalebi Wala in Chandi Chowk just a short walk from the Sikh temple. Whilst most are quite brittle, this decades-old haunt cooks up soft, almost doughnut-like jalebis. The super sweet treats should come with an appointment at the dentist the following day.
250 Dariba Kalan Road
Some of the best street food in Delhi is seasonal. Take daulat ki chaat for example. This ultra light cloud-like dessert made from hand-churning milk and cream and covered with dried fruits, nuts and saffron is only available on the streets of Delhi in winter between October and March.
Expect the consistency of uncooked meringue and the taste of sweet whipped cream. You won’t have any trouble spotting these vendors on most street corners, but take a walk down Dariba Kalan Road to Rakesh Kumar Babu Ram street vendor who does an excellent version.
Church Mission Road
Haven’t had enough of Delhi’s desserts? Try a glass of rabri faluda, vermicelli rice noodles topped with condensed milk and cream, nuts, dried fruits and spiced with cardamom. A crowd-pleaser that never fails to satisfy and easily one of the best street foods in Delhi.
You can’t go wrong with a faluda from Giani’s di Hatti in the old town. While it's now an ice cream chain, the brand along Church Mission Road is the original and they were whipping up excellent rabri faluda long before they started selling ice cream.
526 Sitaram Bazar Road
+91 98105 40106
If you've still got room left, the best food of Delhi rundown wouldn't be complete without a slither of kulfi, a thick, sweeter version of ice cream.
While you shouldn’t have any trouble finding these sweet treats, if you’re looking for the best, make a dash for the Kuremal family store in Chawri Bazar which has over 50 different flavours from cardamom and pistachio to rose and saffron. They've been famed for their kulfi since 1906 and still use the same recipes to this day.
5466 Ghantaghar, Chandni Chowk
The best street food in Delhi doesn't just include food. Quench your thirst and wash it all down with a bantra, a type of lemon soda often spiked with extra lemon juice, black salt and chaat masala, then served over ice. Move along Sprite, you’ve just been replaced.
The hole-in-the-wall PT Ved Prakash Lemon Wale along Chandni Chowk Road does a fine homemade version sealed in glass bottles.
With so much to eat in the city, the best street food in Delhi often gets lost within the noise. These tried and tested spots known are worthy mentions. If it all sounds too daunting still, why not hop on a Delhi food tour and let an expert local guide show you the culinary ropes?
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