Indian Street Food Tour Through Chandni Chowk in Delhi

Chandni chowk is a paradise for food lovers, which is famous for irresistible aroma and colourful appearance of street food. Delhi is one of the cities famous for food in India. In fact, if you are planning a trip to Delhi, eating good, nice and cheap street food is easy and yes, be prepared to discover the magical world of stalls, each of which specializes in a different dish of the local cuisine! In front of a few, you will find benches to sit and eat.

One of the things I like to do when I travel is to try the local gastronomy. And of course, if you travel on a budget you have to forget the luxury restaurants of the category. This does not mean that you will have to eat sandwiches every day, or that you will eat poorly and less healthy food. So, are you ready to go on a journey in taste?

In Indian street food, the spices are the heart of the food. They provide a unique color and flavor, and that's why each cook makes his own secret spice mix, and this is how the magic in each dish is produced. Among the famous paratha places in Delhi, there is Moolchand Paranthe Wala and Babu Ram Paranthe Wala. Moolchand ke parathe is very popular among locals.

There are other popular haunts like Lala Babu Chaat Bhandar, Karim's, Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfi wale, Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala to Moti Mahal in Daryaganj, Khemchand Daulat ki Chaat, Paranthe Wali Gali, Old Famous Jalebi Wala, Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala, Kake Di Hatti and Giani's di Hatti.

But my goal is the Chandni Chowk area, a less touristy chaotic market frequented almost exclusively by locals. Beyond the food havens Chandni has the world of spices, perfumes and bright colours with fruit and vegetable markets, and various shops with items ranging from jewellery to toys to souvenirs to cheap clothing and range of electronic gadgets.

Taste of Indian Street Food through Chandni Chowk in Delhi

I bet you are already hungry, so let's go to what you came for and get ready to make your mouth water.

Parathe Wali Gali

It is important that you do not have prejudices as the street food in Delhi is delicious but sometimes the queue in some of the popular shops especially in evening hours may keep you busy for more than an hour and especially if you have little time it may not be worth it and so if you have less time, try to arrive around afternoon, armed with patience.

There are over hundred food stalls, each with different specialties ranging from fried specialties to famous sweets of Delhi and desserts. I take a few minutes to cross the Chandni Chowk photography market and wander the stalls, admiring the huge variety. As a single dish rarely costs more than 10 or 20 rupees, be sure to fill your pockets with loose change and follow me in this gastronomic tour with lots of surprises!

I begin with the things to do in Chandni Chowk by munching the pakoras, chickpea flour fritters with spices and spinach, which are as essential as the samosas, the potato dumplings. Very typical were also the chili pakoras battered in chickpea flour.

If you are still not very familiar with the flavors of Chandni Chowk, let me tell you in my blog the anecdotes of the street food available here, of what is known as Mughlai food that goes beyond the jalebi and the samosa.

As evening dawns I tread to the Mughlai havens near Jama Masjid. Are you wondering what is the famous dish of Delhi? I particularly like the chicken tikka masala, the famous dish of Delhi immersed in a creamy sauce of red-orange flavored spices and for its intense flavor and soft fleshy texture. Chicken tikka masala is now considered British because it was invented in Britain by a Brit.

The chunks of boneless chicken marinated with a secret combination of spices and yogurt are roasted and cooked in a typical tandoori oven. It is seasoned with coconut milk or yogurt or cream, tomatoes and spices, and garam masala precisely. The result is a lovely smoky flavor.

The dish is simple and the base is the tandoori chicken, the famous dish in Delhi. As regards the origins of chicken tikka masala the oldest claim is linked to the Mughal emperors as early creators of the dish. There is not a single recipe to prepare this delicious dish, which depends on the thickness of the sauce and also the spices used. Even if you've never tasted, surely you have noticed at least once on an Indian restaurant menu.

I win over a space and enjoy the chicken tikka with chur chur naan, a flatbread topped with cheese, garlic and onions. I also order a good portion of biryani, which absorbs and amplifies all the aromas in this dish. If I speak of the food that I miss the most, it must be the biryani. The way the biryani is cooked here is different from how others cook.

And here’s a little secret. After a lot of cajoling and breaking the ice through the name of a distant common friend, the cook allowed me in his den (aka kitchen) one Sunday. I will try to explain how it's done, but I think sour plums, yogurt, and pomegranate is what made it a good dish.

I saw him focused on the recipe, and it took three or four hours. He prepared the rice with milk according to his own recipe. Then he would put pistachios on top of the dish. I was very happy because this was a special recipe.

Another of the specialties that they serve only during the night here in Chandni Chowk are the Kebab with one of the most liked being the Nargisi Kebab, made with marinated lamb meat in yogurt for 48 hours and stuffed with eggs. The meat chunks are inserted in a stick and roasted inside the tandoori.

They also prepare very tender, flavourful and succulent Seekh Kebabs and wrap them with a rather thin and smooth Naan along with the salad and sauces, something that sounds pretty standard, however, the taste was quite unique and I can easily eat five or more of these wraps.

To end our eventful hot gastronomic night on a sweet note, we roam through some of the galis, where in the footpaths they then sell excellent fresh juices and sweets, such as lemon soda with generous amounts of ice and we end the night with the most renowned Gajar Ka Halwa, the famous sweet dish of delhi, in one of the carts! It has a very pleasant flavor provided it is ordered with the expectation of a soft sweet cake.

I always say that the gastronomy of each place is a trip within the trip and if you are in a country as immense and as different as India, surprises are guaranteed! Chandni Chowk at night is a feast of colors, smells and tastes that you should not miss.

Tibetan Street Food at Majnu Ka Tilla

When I arrived at Majnu ka Tilla, the gloomy alleys seemed a little uncomfortable at first. But as I went on to explore more, I fell in love with the charm of Little Tibet in Delhi. The sense of style of Tibetan fashion forward is portrayed through the outlets in the market where you can get the best of street style at the most affordable prices.

Tibetan memories - especially the crafts and other things that tell the story of Tibet as a nation in struggle, protesting for a free Tibet - are worth a look. Everything about this place excited me so much that I got there well in advance. While the market was being created, I went to Ama Cafe to have breakfast.

There I had pancakes with banana and honey, and Frappé vanilla to beat the heat. Ama Cafe is a great place for breakfast. You can find everything from tortillas, sandwiches, cakes and chorizos to smoothies, tea, coffee and other drinks. After that, I decided to visit the Majnu Ka Tilla Gurudwara . This place has great importance.

The 'Majnu', after whom Majnu Ka Tila was named, was a disciple of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and converted his Khanqah into a sanctuary of Shree Guru Nanak known as Gurudwara Majnu Ka Tilla Sahib. I spent some quiet time here before going out to go shopping.

I went directly to the market right next to the temple in the colony Majnu Ka Tilla. Here I found a wide range of clothes and footwear! Those of us who are crazy shopaholics know how important quality and quantity are both. Majnu Ka Tilla will always have to go out with numerous shopping bags without burning a hole in the pocket.

A trip to Little Tibet seems incomplete without the need to buy some cool Tibetan things, right? So I went to Akama - The Tibetan shop, the perfect destination for all crafts, tapestries, books and shawls. It's good to experiment sometimes, right? Definitely head here for some real spin in your style!

After a long day of walking and shopping, my stomach growled again with hunger. This time I thought about trying something new and went to Dolma House. The place was so warm and the people so welcoming that I swore to come back again! And what about the food, like that, the best Tibetan food I've had! I totally recommend Rut-chose the chicken Thukpa with the evergreen Virgin Mojito.

Although one could never have enough delicious food, my Tibetan delight ended with the warm, spicy and heavenly jokes that delighted me to the core and satisfied my always hungry soul! I hope you have a big one too!

Chagpo Nang! (goodbye in Tibetan)
Kalyan Panja

Next Post »