Indian street food is hands down the best Indian cuisine you’ll ever have the privilege of devouring. Some of the most popular street vendors have been at it for years, selling the one thing they are good at, and perfecting the recipe. At these places, you’ll see lines around the block. But the wait will be worth it.
Each city and neighborhood has its go-to. From my recent trip to New Delhi, I came away with a whole new appreciation of what I miss out on because I don’t live there. For anyone planning a trip, or unconvinced, check out the “must eats” listed below!
(If you need anymore information regarding planning a trip to India, then check out my post Preparing for a trip to India)
Gol Gappa (Pani Puri)
Gol gappa is a very popular Indian street food but can also be found at restaurants, and can even be made at home. If you eat this on the street, then make sure you go to a good part of town and to a reliable vendor. Asking the locals and your tour guides will help you out. I say this because it involves taking little fried balls, poking a hole, filling that hole with flavor and then dunking the whole thing in spiced water. Then you pop the entire thing in your mouth. Because of the water, you want a clean place.
An alternative: Haldiram’s food chain. I ate mine there and never got sick.
Aloo Ki Tikki
This is one of my favorites amongst all Indian street food. Basically this is a grilled/fried potato (aloo) patty topped with sauces. The advantage of eating this off the street? Its HOT and fresh and the flavor just explodes in your mouth. The go-to spot I recommend is in the Chandni Chowk neighborhood at a stand called Natraj’s. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad aloo tikki in New Delhi.
As an aside, Chandni Chowk neighborhood is in Old Delhi; it’s crazy crowded and insane. Another advantage of going there, though, is the spice market. If you are able to make your way to Chandni Chowk, then DEFINITELY stop by. For my brother and I, it was one of our favorite shopping trips.
This is an Indian dessert. Its fried sweet dough that’s then dipped in sugar syrup.
Goli Wali Bottle (aka Banta bottle)
“Goli Wali” translates to “one with the bullet”. The stopper has to be pushed into the bottle in order to drink it. And that stopper is referred to as the “goli”
This is also famous in Chandni Chowk, however, you can get this in other neighborhoods as well. It tastes kind of like a fresca–basically a carbonated lemonade, but with a bit of masala (spices) sprinkled in..just enough to make it different.
Not going to lie, my memory of what this was like was better than my experience drinking it this time around. However, this is a unique drink to India, so it is definitely a must-try.
And no we didn’t get sick from it. You’ll be fine 🙂
This is your seasoned potatoes that are fried right in front of you and then you eat them with the help of a toothpick. This is a standard Indian street food and snack that you’ll find literally everywhere.
The most recent Indian street food craze is this, India’s version of a dumpling. But think of your favorite dumplings and then add in Indian spices, including spicy hot-ness. My favorite, and one of the most popular flavors, is the tandoori chicken momo. YUMMMMM
This you can get from a local vendor, but I also recommend Nathu’s restaurant in the Bengali market in New Delhi. That place is an institution. Who knows how longs its been there, but its a known spot and an automatic go-to for good food.
Bhel puri is a hodge podge of Indian snacks mixed together and topped with spices and sauce. Getting the right balance of flavors is what makes this dish tricky. Nathu’s bhel puri is probably the best I’ve ever had. Ever.
Faluda and Kulfi
This is something I wouldn’t recommend you get from any vendor. Instead, specifically, go to Karol Bagh neighborhood and look for Roshan Di Kulfi. Kulfi is Indian ice cream and faluda is a sweet noodle. This restaurant decided to combine these two popular Indian street foods. The result is delicious.
You need to wash down all that salty and sweet food with another Indian staple: Chai. There aren’t that many stands for street chai that still exist, so you’ll need to ask around a bit for those. We had ours in Karol Bagh. There’s one alley way that still has a stand. They’ll make it right in front of you within 5 minutes. It tastes different than any other chai I’ve had. They only use three ingredients.
and if you need a place to sit, don’t hesitate to use what’s nearby….
Chole is chickpeas; batura is like a roti, except its fried and is made of white flour (regular Indian rotis are made with wheat flour). The combination of these two is a super popular dish and omg so delicious.
This dish can be found from a street vendor but is also a popular option at restaurants.
This Indian street food needs no introduction as I’m sure everyone knows what this is. Every single one I had was huge and filled to every corner. Amazing.
Again, if you make it to Chandni Chowk, try another version: the Japanese samosa. No idea why its call that, but the outside dough is a lot flakier.
Have you had any of the above? Anything else you’d recommend? Or any Indian street foods that you’d like to know more about? Share below!
Sanjana is a physician anesthesiologist, avid traveler, and entrepreneur. She founded The Female Professional in order to give women a voice, a community, and provide resources to help them overcome hurdles and achieve success. With her experiences as a physician, as a CEO of a startup, and as a writer, she understands the struggles and frustrations that women face. She also understands what it takes to move past those things and come out on top. Through this platform, Sanjana aims to empower women to be their best, authentic, selves, achieve work/life balance, and live life to the fullest.