If you ask a Delhiite what are two things that really stand out for them about the city, it would be the rich history and the mouth-watering food. Now, I have to admit this blog sure got me in a tizzy. It’s tough being born in a city which offers such a rich diversity of cuisines, add to that the fact I’m Punjabi, and boy do we love to eat! So without any further ado, I present to you my list of top 10 famous dishes of Delhi.
1. Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala
It’s an iconic shop to eat at when in Old Delhi. Established in 1940, the Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala is the most famous street food joint in Old Delhi. It serves Dahi Bhalla (vegetarian) for Rs. 80. They are known for their copyrighted chat masala they sprinkle on Dahi Bhalla. For those who are unaware of Dahi Bhalla, it’s an Indian chaat, prepared by soaking vadas in thick yogurt (dahi).
2. Old Famous Jalebi Wala
Yes, they actually have named their shop as Old Famous Jalebi Wala. This shop is a legend, serves amazing jalebis made in Desi ghee. Their distinct flavor and soul-satisfying jalebis are something you cannot find anywhere. It’s really cheap and costs 400/Kg (special Desi Ghee Jalebi).
Jalebi is a sweet made by deep-frying wheat flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
3. Rabdi-falooda at Giani’s
Giani is a must if you are in Old Delhi (Chandni Chowk). They serve rabri faluda, gajar halwa, badam halwa, shakes, lassi and flavoured milk. The quantity is more than enough and price is very reasonable. There is no seating arrangement and it remains crowded throughout the year. The quality of the food they serve here is unmatched anywhere else in India. Highly recommended.
4. Paranthe at Paranthe wali gali
From being the perfect start to a “healthy” morning in most Delhi households, to a meal for hungry college students and even a late-night snack, paranthas are definitely on the top of the list when it comes to my favourite food in Delhi. Choose from a plain one or select a stuffing of your choice – potatoes, cauliflower, radish, eggs, keema, bananas or even last night’s left over dal – the options are galore.
Where can I try this dish? Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk, whose past customers include the likes of Maharajah of Kashmir and even Prime Minister Nehru and his family; Moolchand Parathe Wala located in South Delhi was SRK’s favourite when he used to live in Delhi
5. Pani Puri
If there is one thing that keeps the Delhi food scene ticking it’s the Street Food. With a variety that is unmatched, eating on the streets of Delhi is a crash course in the history and culture of the place. Chandni Chowk is undoubtedly the Street Food Capital of Delhi, and while no guide book can actually pinpoint the best places for Chaat, there are some landmark food haunts that really stand out. Of course, if you aren’t willing to travel that far, fret not for there are plenty of options for street food in Delhi.
6. Chole Bhature At GoleHatti
Here’s a piece of advice: This dish is best enjoyed on an empty stomach. Rich, spicy and heavy, this is one of the most popular Punjabi dishes and is definitely on my list of top 10 must-try dishes in Delhi. Don’t be surprised if you find it on the breakfast menu of restaurants across the capital. It is generally accompanied with Lassi.
7. Kulle Ki Chaat
Kulle is fruit chaat, alleged to have been invented in Delhi and a brilliant interpretation of the genre, in our opinion, especially on a hot summer’s day. What’s better than fresh fruit and vegetables—skins peeled, of course—hollowed out and topped with salty tangy spices, chickpeas, and jewel-bright pomegranate seeds? Just about nothing. Finally, an Indian street chaat that’s completely guilt-free.
8. Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale
Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale serves the best kulfi in India (Yes, not just in Delhi-NCR). It’s the most famous Desserts joint in Chandi Chowk, Old Delhi. The joint is open throughout the day. Their lick-smacking “kulfi” is extremely cheap (only costs Rs. 100) and there should be no reason to miss this place. You might have a little trouble finding the shop, but its worth the adventure.
9. Nagori Halwa And Bedami Aloo
A popular Delhi breakfast (particularly in winter) and one of India’s best savory-sweet pairings, bedmi-aloo and nagori-halwa are two distinct dishes eaten together. The former is the savory part: a puffy, hefty, deep-fried puri-like bread called bedmi, served with a spicy aloo sabzi, or potato curry. The sweet is nagori, a crispy, crumbly puri that’s paired with suji halwa, kind of like a sweet, semolina-based porridge with the texture of couscous. Find it at the fifth-generation-owned Shyam Sweets, on Chawri Bazaar, where the whole spread comes with pickled vegetables and a spectacular pumpkin curry. To eat, take a savory bite and then a sweet bite, mixing and matching flavors with abandon. This is India’s take on a balanced breakfast, and it’s delicious. Shyam is also a good place to try a traditional lassi, served in a disposable clay cup and topped with malai, or clotted cream.
10. Papri chaat
The king of chaats, in this fan’s opinion, is papri chaat, so called for the crispy-fried round wafers (papri) that give it its addictive crunch. It also includes boiled potato, chickpeas, chaat masala, a yogurt sauce, tamarind and coriander chutneys, and often pomegranate seeds and sev, or fried gram flour. A popular Old Delhi spot for it is Ashok Chaat Bhandar, on Sitaram Bazar near Chawri Bazar, an excellent Delhi-based chain specializing in “hygienic” chaats, with a location on Chandni Chowk. A perfect mix of spicy, sweet, tangy, soothing, and crunchy, this is one dish you’ll require seconds of.