Delhi’s charm has oft been celebrated in forms more than one. Songs have been sung about its crisp winter; movies have been shot at its cultural wonders; high street fashion has been replicated in ways better than the original. Yet, what truly brings people together in this melting pot of culture is the street food in Delhi. You’ll find yourself letting go of your diets and loosening your drawstrings, because ladies and gentlemen, this is what attaining gastronomical nirvana feels like!
It doesn’t matter what part of Delhi you’re in, it matters what you crave. Fancy a plate of chhole bhature, and find yourself heading towards the fluffiest bhature in town! Check out Sita Ram Diwan Chand’s shop in Pahadganj, Bille Di Hatti, or Chache Di Hatti in Kamla Nagar. Get an early start to avoid lengthy queues, and make sure you have a place to nap afterwards!
When your mind craves some serious Indo-Chinese fusion, try the tandoori momos at Hunger Strike in Amar Colony or check out Hawkers in Vasant Kunj. For a breezier setting, go to the lovely food stalls at Dilli Haat (Sikkim, Manipur or Nagaland stall? We can never decide). If you want some adventure, try finding the famous ‘Momos Wali Aunty’ outside Lajpat Nagar Market!
On a sunny winter afternoon, gorge on some mind blowing aloo tikki & chaat at Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala in Chandni Chowk, or Bittoo Tikki Wala (originally in Pitampura, now all over Delhi). Let your fingers drip with the lusciously flavoured water of gol gappe (never call it pani puri in Delhi). Try them at Bengali Sweet Centre in South Ex or Prince Paan & Chaat Corner in M Block (GK – 1).
Embrace the somewhat exotic, and try shawarma at Al Bake in NFC, Shawarma Wala in Kamla Nagar, or at Spice Aangan in SDA Market. You could also find your inner Punjabi in the by-lanes of Parathewali Gali at Chandni Chowk while feasting on parathas. While in the vicinity, pay homage to UP and try the kachori at Jung Bahadur Kachoriwala. They’ve got sugar, spice and everything nice!
Finally, surrender your tastebuds to the finest of meats at Karim’s near Jama Masjid – home of true Mughlai food. Try Al Kauser in Safdarjung for kakori kebabs that melt in your mouth, or Rajinder Da Dhaba for their galaouti kebabs. Aap Ki Khatir in SDA deserves a mention for their kebabs and seekh that will leave you in a blissful food coma.
As Delhi’s decadent food story unravels in front of you, keep aside some time for the numerous food festivals that occur throughout the year – Delhi Street Food Festival, Dilli Ke Pakwan, Palate Fest or International Food Fest at JNU. The city will truly make it’s way to your heart through your stomach (hopefully without the runs) because believe me dear reader, one day you might be sitting in a quaint café with perfect lighting and a menu that has dishes upwards of $20, but the only thing that you’ll truly be craving would be a plate of piping hot samosas served with a true Delhi smile.