Eating to your Delhi Belly’s content (in a good way).
There is only one word to describe India – ‘Hectic’. A country with a population over 1.3 billion and still on the rise, India is as congested, crowded and polluted as you can imagine. And when it comes to food, the varieties on offered is just as epic. Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. There is simply no better way to experience real authentic Indian food except to be in India and submerge in the foodie heaven personally. A good place to start is Purani Dilli or commonly known as the ‘Old Delhi’. Authentic Old Delhi street food is best enjoyed in its original setting, here you will find a plethora of soul-satisfying street food that you can eat to your Delhi Belly’s content. Having said that, one must take precautions before putting any food in your mouth because of hygiene issues especially eating street food (even drinking tap water is discouraged). The best way to explore the Old Town is to join a food tour with a knowledgeable local guide who knows where to find good local delicacies that are safe to eat and won’t give you a Delhi Belly. We opted for Delhi Food Walks and spent a great evening with Anubhav Sapra who showed us the best street eats the Old Delhi has to offer.
Here are some of the highlights:
Aloo Tikki Chaat
A popular street snack that can be found all over Delhi. Aloo Tikki is made with boiled potatoes then pan fried until golden and crispy, served with red and green chutneys that are sweet and tangy. Natraj is a well-loved establishment in Chandni Chowk that only serves two items – Aloo Tikkki Chaats and Dahi Bhallas for the last 70 years. You know they are good when there is a sea of locals gathering outside, eating on the footpath.
Natraj, Dahi Bhalla Corner
1396, Main Road Near Central Bank, Opposite, Paranthe Wali Gali, Kucha Mahajani, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Opens from 11.30am to 9pm
Paranthas, also known as Parathas, is an east-Indian fried flatbread, a staple often eaten as breakfast or tea-time snack served in a tiffin. Best place to find delicious paranthas is of course at Gali Paranthe Wali, literally means ‘the laneway of flatbread’. Once it had over 20 Paranthas shops in the late 60s, but now only a few survived and Pt. Gaya Prasad, claimed to be the oldest, established in 1872. Here you will find Paranthas stuffed with different fillings from onion, cottage cheese, cauliflower to dry fruits with khoya (condensed milk).
Address: PT. Gaya Prashad Shiv Charan
34, Paranthe Wali Gali, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Opens from 9am to 11pm
Jalebi and Samosa
A coil of deep fried in ghee then soaked in sugar syrup will send you into sugar high for the rest of the day. The Old Famous Jalebi Wala is an institution in Chandni Chowk, it has been pumping out golden crispy jalebis since 1884. Make sure to grab a few samosas on the go as well.
Old Famous Jalebi Wala
1795, Dariba Kalan Road, Dariba Corner, Opposite to Central Baptist Church, Chandni chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Opens from 8am to 10pm
As the night fell, we were led through narrow alleys and ended up in the midst of Khari Baoli – Asia’s largest spice market in Old Delhi. It was a sensory overload experience with the overwhelming sight and sound but particularly the intoxicating aroma of spices that made us sneezed and eyes watered. We quickly took shelter at higher floor and went up to the rooftop of a building that offered a spectacular view of the Old Delhi.
We were then ushered into a Tuk-Tuk for a short ride to the other side of Old Delhi for more deliciousness. It’s time for something heavier and something sweet.
Kebabs, Mutton Nahari and Tandoor Roti
Along Matia Mahal Road near Jama Masjid are a few famous eateries in Old Delhi. First stop is the historic Karim’s (also known as Karim Hotels) which specialises in Mughlai dishes, especially the heavenly kebabs and divine mutton nahari. The meaty kebabs grilled over charcoals imbibed with the smokey flavour while the mutton nahari was fall-off-the-bone tender. Make sure to order a couple of the tandoor roti to soak up that rich sauce full of spices, turmeric and chillies. This joint opens from morning till 4am! So you can always find a feast here whenever you feel famished.
Jama Masjid, No. 16 Gali Kababian, Old Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Opens from 9am to 4am
Butter chicken like nothing you’ve tasted before. The mouthwatering butter chicken here at Aslam Chicken Corner is simply to die for. The chicken tikka is grilled to perfection over charcoal before mixing with nothing but butter and dahi (curd). The chicken was tender and juicy swimming in a pool of rich butter gravy and milk curd, best way to eat it is to wrap them up in Roomali Roti.
Aslam Chicken Corner
Near Churi Walan Gali, Chittli Qabar Rd, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Opens from 630pm to 1am
Thanks to our food tour guide, we were lucky to be invited to visit their kitchen on the rooftop and witnessed how the butter chicken were prepared. Obviously the closely guarded secret recipe was never revealed.
Chicken and Beef Biryani
Down an alleyway we arrived at Dilpasand Biryani, claimed to be one of the best biryanis in town. This hole-in-the-wall eatery is famous for its chicken and beef (or buffalo) biryani and usually there is quite a queue of locals waiting for a feed. The buffalo biryani was sold out when we arrived but the chicken biryani was just as tasty.
887, Kalan Mehal, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110002, India
Opens from 11am to 11pm
Phirni and Kulfi
We capped the night off with sweet Indian desserts to beat the summer heat. We tried Phirni at a sweet shop named Cool Point, this creamy and sweet Punjabi dessert is very similar to rice pudding, typically served in earthen pots. Once finished, the pots will be smashed and recycled to make more new pots. Totally environmental friendly. The final stop was actually not a shop open for public but they are the main distributor of kulfi ice-cream to most of the restaurants in Old Delhi. Our food tour guide able to convinced the shop owner to open the door just for us. Their kulfi was sure one of the best I’ve tasted, the flavours were intense and the texture was creamy. Mango, lychee and pomegranate flavours are some of the most popular choices but why not try something different like blackberry or dragonfruit?
Jama Masjid Road, Shop No 972, Matia Mahal, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Opens from 12pm to 1am