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 Delhi street food guide is perfect for you.
Arming yourself with the just a little knowledge on the best street foods to try in Delhi can make all the difference to your trip.
Here’s our Delhi street food guide on the best things to gorge on during your stay in the capital.
A good introduction to Delhi cuisine is aloo tikki, a potato patty fried into golden, mashed and topped with several different chutneys – typically coriander and mint, tamarind and curd, perhaps with the addition of finely sliced onions and pomegranate.
At just 30 cents a portion, feel free to have another or even a third…
Parathas are an indulgent street treat often eaten for breakfast. Flat breads stuffed with everything from spiced mash, okra, tomatoes or paneer are accompanied by a variety of chutneys and a bowl of cooling curd.
Some of the best are served at the famous Parathe Wali Galli in the old town which have been selling a crispy fried version for more than a century. Just be prepared to queue.
Kachoris are a type of crispy, fried bread often stuffed with beans and accompanied by rice, tangy tamarind water and creamy lentil daal. A few chilies and sliced onions add a little kick to proceedings.
A couple of kachoris are so filling they can wipe out any opportunity for tasting much else. Some of the best are knocked out of the Multan Moth Bhandar in the tourist centre of Paharganj.
While Indian might be famous for its vegetarian food, don’t miss snacking on a kebab or two, one of our favourites on this Delhi street food guide.
You can’t do better than the juicey mutton kebabs from the famous Karim’s restaurant in the Chandi Chowk.
Perfectly spiced kebabs cooked over hot coals which just the right amount of fat to keep them from drying out.
Alternatively, head up to Azam’s Mughlai to score one of the kebab wraps.
Often called pakodas, 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.
Looking for a quick bite. Make a dash for one of the chole bhature vendors who knock out spicy chickpea curries pepped up with green chillies, sliced onions and lime and accompanied by deep-fried bhaturas, a thin, pillow-like bread.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, just follow the breakfast crowds.
If you had to pick the most iconic sweet from 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.
The super sweet treats should come with an appointment at the dentist the following day, but we simply couldn’t write a Delhi street food guide without including it.
Daulat ki chaat
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Delhi between October and March, keep an eye out for daulat ki chaat, a cloud-like dessert made from hand-churning milk and cream and covered with dried fruits, nuts and saffron.
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 during the winter.
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.
You can’t go wrong with a faluda from Giani’s di Hatti in the old town.
Finish your culinary tour of Delhi with a slither of kulfi, a thick and 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.
Our Delhi street food guide wouldn’t be complete without adding what you should wash everything down with.
Try banta, 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.
Still confused about street food in Delhi? Need more than this Delhi street food guide? No worries, come and join our small-group daily Delhi food tour with our expert food guide around the old town and get to grips with the capital’s cuisine, culture and sights.