Delhi is a chaotic city. It’s huge, it’s busy, it’s loud, it’s often very polluted. That said, it’s also one of the most incredible cities in India. From being the historical capital of the country to a popular student hub, New Delhi has many faces. But without a doubt, we have to admit, one of its strongest identities is as a foodies’ paradise. From street food to international cuisines, whatever be your budget and taste, Delhi can blow your mind. As a newbie to the city, you might miss the familiarity of home-cooked food, though if you are in a professionally-managed pg in Mukherjee Nagar, you can get some meal services that come close.
But out on Delhi’s streets, there are a number of quaint and wholesome outlets that do give you the taste and warmth of a meal made with love. That’s why whether you’re staying in a South Campus hostel or working a nine-to-five in Gurgaon or applying to an IT company in Noida, Delhi’s food scene has your back.
So where should you start your journey of celebrating these local delicacies? It took serious effort to prune down this list to a manageable number (between cuisine styles, variations and fusions, the options are just endless!), but here’s our recommendation of the most iconic delicacies you must try in Delhi-NCR:
1. Chole Bature
Trust us, no matter what you’ve tried in other cities, only Delhi can provide you with authentic chole bhature. The extra care put towards making fluffy bhature is a Delhi specialty, not to mention the secret ingredients in the chole that make it super rich and appetizing. And there are iconic spots all across the city, from Paharganj to Gurgaon, Noida to Rajouri Garden.
Try this street food in Delhi and you will forget Mumbai’s pani-poori and Kolkata’s puchka. We know we might have opened up a can of worms, and to each his own, but we will still say – the other variations simply can’t beat the flavor that Delhi has to offer. Don’t forget to ask for that extra piece of papdi dipped in dahi and saunth or the dry poori to relieve your burning tongue. If you’re experimental, try out the ‘Pachranga’ variations of golgappa pani and the Vodka or Tequila Golgappe at Chandni Chowk or Lajpat Nagar Market.
3. Dahi Bhalle
You might not have tried this one before, but there’s no way you can miss out on this delight of Delhi street food that we call dahi bhalla. A mix of sweet curd, spicy green chutney and tangy red chutney coats the delicious dal vada, making this dish a scrumptious snack. For an added crunch in texture, you can even try it with some aloo bhujia topping. Grab a plate at Dahi Bhalla Corner at Karol Bagh.
4. Bishan Swaroop Chaat
Now this one really is a Delhi exclusive. Found only in Chandni Chowk, this dish pushes both health and taste to their limits. Trust us, nobody knew that fruits could be made so delicious with just a few minor additions. The divine taste of fruits mixed with chana toppings will surely make you healthy and wise. And you needn’t be wealthy to try this goodness. Wash it down with a glass of chilled lemon soda for the best experience.
Dessert lovers – this one is for you. Imagine your favourite ice cream. Now imagine something even better. That’s kulfi for you – with crushed dry fruits and delicate flavours overlaying the thick texture of caramelised milk, it’s tough not to love this dessert. This crowd favourite is available all across Delhi. For an extra-indulgent option, dip your kulfi into rabri. We don’t know about your waistline but your taste buds will definitely thank us.
Imagine this. You’ve had a busy day working on your dream project. You step out of the office and you need a bite to eat. What do you pick? It’s got to be momos – the super spicy and extremely inexpensive dish that has taken over the city. Noida’s Sector 18 has some of the best ones, steamed and fried. So if you’re not working or living in the area, you might want to start.
There’s no way this list could ever be complete without including jalebi. Available in best street food places across NCR, this sugary sweetness is a key to every Delhites’ heart. We don’t know about you but a plate of warm jalebis can always improve our day. Especially if they’re from Sardar Jalebi Wala in Gurgaon – a 71-year-old family-run shop that’s been serving up this item since the partition days. Definitely worth the distance if you happen to stay in Delhi proper. For folks in Gurgaon – lucky you.
We are sure that wherever in Delhi NCR you may be stationed, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Of course, if you are staying in a professionally managed accommodation like Stanza Living, you already get a taste of yummy regional cuisine, cooked and delivered healthily every day. You shouldn’t skip the daily snack times there, nor the special occasions when they organize live chat counters and dessert spreads. That’s one introduction to Delhi street food that you can enjoy guilt-free. For the others, who need a respite from the usual fare at your hostel or PG, do go exploring our list.