Dilli walas, and for that matter, the human race would endeared by food, and from what I have read and heard, during my research, street food even more so! There’s no dearth of options, in fact just the opposite! You could vote for sultry spicy, tantalizing tangy or savoureux sweet, or probably amalgamate one with the other for a gastronomical experience as gratifying as it can get in the national capital region!
*Gastronomes would totally agree!*
Old Delhi or let’s just say Chandni Chowk
A quarter and a half century old, nothing can be aforesaid more about the ‘fried flatbread dish’ lane (literally) which has not been already – its prestigious guests from the likes of Presidents of India (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi) to celebrities (Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachhan), from its potpourri of (what else!) paranthas to the complementary add-ons – all at an awe inducing, disbelieving price! But people, go there if not for that, not for the treat (uhm!!) then just to witness the hype around it!
Chaat ka bhandar
You identify chaat with Chandni Chowk or vice versa. Nonetheless, it translates that if you want to chaat it, you Chandni Chowk it! This place has chaat stalls more than one can count on their fingers – dahi bhalle at Natraj, aloo kulle at Bishan Swaroop, papri chaat at Shri Balaji Chaat, fruit chaat at Jugal Kishor Ramji Lal, gobi matar samosas at Lala Babu Chaat Bhandar, kachoris at Jung Bahadur Kachori wala, the ‘brand’ of chhole-Lotan – phew!! A food excursion to the chaat land alert!
Meetha he khana
To satiate your sweet tooth, the moonlit square does offer quite a few choices, and I must say, choicest of those are there on the platter. If you want syrupy pretzels (jalebis) then there is Old and Famous Jalebi wala. For a cool confection on a hot day (or not!) head to Lala Duli Chand Naresh Gupta and Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale in Sitaram Bazaar for their seasonal best and inventive variants in the flavored frozen milk dessert! Another offshoot of the same would be the khurchan – left over scraps from the boiled milk garnished with nuts and voila-a heavenly presence right on your plate! Find that at Hazari Lal Jain Khurchan Wale. And last and literally the pearl of the lot is the Daulat ki chaat. Verbatim as ‘snack of wealth’, this is a divine treat in the nipping weathers of Delhi available with vendors in the streets of Dariba, Dariyaganj and Kinari Bazar.
Since it had originally been the grandest market when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan established it as Shahjahanabad, it’s legit that the area get a good share in the fare as well. Well, hail Karim’s for non vegetarian seekers, Ghantewala Sweets – a Mughal remnant renowned for Sohan Halwa among other confectionaries, Al Jawahar for meat servings made on tandoor, Mohammed Nadim’s bread omelet for breakfast with tea and suji halwa at Haji Tea Point!
P.S. – With so much to gorge on from its plate, Chandni Chowk sure won’t fail to delight foodies at all!
Prince Pan and Chaat Corner
Away from the cramped gullies and clamoring crowd of Chandni Chowk, this pricey place would be an option for those looking for street food minus the crowd and noise plus the poise!
For an Amritsari fare of Kulcha (leavened bread) with chole bhature, eating at Kulcha King might sound good!
Being an eternal favorite during the rainy season and maybe the wintry too, pakodas can be a hot commodity otherwise too. Binge on them at Khandani Pakodewala.
For the shawarma seekers, Al bake might be an option to satiate the shawarma pangs!
Bitto tikki wala
BTW (Bittoo Tikki wala) has branched out to several places, but the tikkis remain the same everywhere. Hop in for a hot bite!