Street food lover in me always finds a reason to explore lanes and by lanes of Old Delhi where food was evolved for all. In last 12 years of my stay in Delhi, I have explored many places from Chandni Chowk to Bengali Market to Saket to CR Park to Karol Bagh relishing best in class street food in typical Delhi Style. However, Chandni Chowk or Old Delhi Or Walled City of Delhi or Shahjahanabad is unparalleled when it is about Street Food.
In this section of Great Indian Food Trail, lets explore some iconic street food locations from the narrow lanes and various corners of Old Delhi. Idea is to give a reason to the salivating foodie souls out there to live the rawness of Old Delhi. A loud shout out to all foodies out their to experience the journey from Salivation to Salvation.
Street Food in Old Delhi
Padam Chaat Bhandar
For me, it has always been clear, Samosa is the king of Indian street food and Jalebi is the queen of Indian street food but one day I faced a conundrum, where to place my beloved Golgappa aka Pani Puri aka Phuchka aka Gupchup which is connoisseur’s dynamite full of flavours. And then after much deliberation, I realized, for me Golgappa is the the God of all Indian Street Food.
Its omnipresent; its legendary; it comes in so many variety; many many rituals attached to it; it has stories around it; people compete for it; so it has to be treated like a God. To have best Golgappas in Delhi, I die to visit Padam Chaat Bhandar at Kinari Bazaar, Chandni Chowk.
The famed Pandit Ji, while serving golgappa with utmost love always, has the power to transport you to some other world. His ways of creating bond with his customers are legendary while preparing unique servings of each golgappa. He does his own magical tricks mixing things and then serving a sumptuous golgappa which when bursts in mouth tickles all senses. His Pani or spicy water is prepared using Indian Gooseberry (Amla) and green chutney is unqie preparation of tangy star fruit known as Kamrakh in north India.
Street Food in Old Delhi
Old Famous Jalebiwala
Once you have paid your foodie’s respect to the God of Street Food i.e. Golgappa, now its time to meet the King and the Queen of Indian Street Food at Old Famous Jalebiwala at Dariba Kalan, Chandni Chowk. Started in 1884 by Jain family, they serve the best Samosa and Jalebi in all over Delhi. Its an iconic and heritage shop which have survived great Indian partition and changed demographic of Old Delhi. They claim to have served to all the prime ministers of India starting from Jawahar All Nehru to Narenda Modi. Also, this place has been frequented by celebrities like Raj Kapoor, Devanand, Akshay Kumar, Shahrukh Khan etc who have spread good words about them across India and beyond.
Great grand father of Mr. Kailash Jain, came to Delhi from a small place near Agra and started as small vendor in Old Delhi in 1880s. Since then generations after generation have put in efforts to sustain and flourish the business making it an iconic place. Currently, fifth generation of Jain Family is managing this shop. Mr Kailash Jain joined the business in 1970 and His son Abhishek is an MBA and has big plan for the business.
They are famous for thick and juicy Jalebi and varieties of Samosa, both are prepared in Desi Ghee using specific spices & ingredient all around the year. They have perfected the art of Jalebi and Samosa making after a lot many experiments over decades. Samosa here is not prepared with boiled and meshed potato but with fried potato which gives it a distinct and unique flavour.
Recently they have introduced, Rabri also which is a milk based sweet delicacy and the combo of Rabri and Jalebi is the real deal.
Street Food in Old Delhi
Pandit Ved Prakash Lemon Wale
Pandit Ved Prakash Lemon Wale right at the Chandni Chowk, has the real concoction to relish while finding ways through the rush called Old Delhi. A landmark shop in Chandni Chowk, established in 1870s, serves Lemon Soda aka Shikanji commonly known as Banta in Delhi. They are the pioneers in preparing Banta or Soda Shikanji (Lemonade) and visited by Delhiwalas to live the nostalgia refreshingly. They use best quality Soda and sprinkle a secret spice blend to prepare the drink which now enjoys an iconic status in Delhi.
Indeed, it is again a heritage shop, which must be visited to taste potent lemon based drink which saves you from the heat and dust of walled city. Without using dispensing equipment, every serving of drink tastes the same every time here, and that’s the reason of their unmatched popularity.
In winters, they serve Bread Aloo Tikki which is an Indian street food savory prepared with fried potato patty topped with tamarind sauce and wrapped with a bread. A unique preparation believed to be invented at this heritage food joint.
Street Food In Old Delhi
Kedarnath Premchand Halwai
If old Delhi is heaven for Foodie, Kedarnath Premchand Halwai is the custodian of heavenly food tradition of India. This street food joint is right at the T-junction where Kinari Bazaar and Parathewali gali intersect and lead to Maliwara. This junction gets its liveliness from Kedarnath Premchand Halwai who are famous among locals for freshly fried Bedami Poori, Nagori Halwa and Masala Lassi. It is one of the oldest shop of Chandni Chowk serving variety of dishes and snacks since 1958 and since then its a weakness for thousands of people who throng to this place.
Being an all day opened shop, there cannot be a better place to have Sunday breakfast which brings all hues and colors of traditional Indian food on the platter. We go there primarily to please our taste buds with Bedmi Poori served with spicy gravy followed by Lassi.
UPDATE – 13th Jan 2019 : Sad to inform this iconic shop has been closed by the owner in the first week of January 2019. No body, so far, knows where have they gone. For us, its sad jolt. As a tribute to this shop, we will not remove them from this list, but will share a replacement of Bedmi Poori soon.
Street Food in Old Delhi
Natraj Dahi Bhalla
Established in 1940, Natraj is extremely famous food corner serving melting Dahi bhalla and tangy-spicy Aaloo Tikki (Fried Potato Patty). They serve only these two dishes in the menu and always have a constant flow of foodies all the time. They have perfected the art of preparing best in class Dahi Bhalla and Aaloo Tikki which brings people to this shop from all over Delhi and beyond.
They are known for their Dahi Bhalla which actually made them famous. They keep bucket full of Bhalla ready for customer and on demand, serve in their signature style topping it with curd, tangy sauce and secret black Masala. In all our food trails all across India, we never ever had such mouth melting Dahi Bhalla. Even if you want to hold them inside your mouth, it will keep exploding mix flavors. You gotta find your self in the midst of catch-22 situation whether to hold it or let it melt.
Having tasted Aaloo tikki all over India, we find the best crunch at Natraj Only. It is just perfectly fried, stuffed with grounded lentil and topped with just enough spice and a mix of green and red chutney (sauce).
For us, food trail is the best way to experience Old Delhi and feel the changing nuances of tradition and habits. Street Food in Old Delhi is not just these five iconic food joints, it is much beyond and larger. These legendary street food joints are the true guardians of traditional food that evolved with the walls of Old Delhi catering to world traders, royals and commoners since many centuries.
Many gems are present in Old Delhi to burn you with desires which will be unearthed during our next Great Indian Food Trail – Salivation to Salvation.
Would love to know your story of Indian Street Food. Comment with your favourite street food joint or corner.
If you feel motivated, please share this blog post with your foodie friends so that they can also feel salvation through food.