Aloo Kachalu Gol Gappa Chaat at Ashok Chaat Bhandar
Ashok Chaat Bhandar is a chaat ("snack") stand dating back more than 80 years in Old Delhi. One of their specialties is gol gappa, hollowed-out fried bread balls stuffed with spiced potato and topped with yogurt, mint/green chili, tamarind chutney, and thinly sliced kachalu, or taro root. The bowl is then seasoned with black pepper, roasted cumin powder, and black salt to finish off a snack that's spicy, sweet, sour, creamy and pungent.
3488 Chowk Hauz Qazi, Chawri Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Delhi; 9109891764351
Pani Puri at Ashok Chaat Bhandar
Pani puri is made from gol gappas filled with a minty spiced water. Gol gappas are served one at a time and meant to be eaten whole.
Most everything at this chaat stall is delectable, including the papri (crunchy chips) chaat, kalma vada (lentil chips) chaat, potato chaat and dahi vada (lentil dumplings in spiced yogurt).
3488 Chowk Hauz Qazi, Chawri Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Delhi; 9109891764351
Chole Bhatura at Kapoor Snacks Corner
Kapoor's is a neighborhood eatery near my Great Aunt's house in Malviya Nagar. Hands down, they serve up some of the best chole bhatura,thick, fluffy bread with chickpea curry, I've ever had.
M-1, Malviya Nagar (Behind Government Hospital), New Delhi; 9350389134, 97173450003488
Khasta Kachori at Kapoor Snacks Corner
Khasta kachori, flaky bread stuffed with curried lentils, is a specialty of North India and should not be missed at Kapoor's.
M-1, Malviya Nagar (Behind Government Hospital), New Delhi; 9350389134
Jalebi at Old and Famous Jalebiwala
Jalebi is a dessert popular in India and throughout the Middle East. It's made from dough that's shaped into a pretzel, fried and then dipped in a sugar syrup. It's red in color from rose syrup and has a chewy texture. Founded in 1884, Old and Famous Jalebiwala is located in the historic market district of Chandni Chowk and definitely the place to go for hot, fresh jalebi. The sweet is made fresh to order and gobbled up almost instantaneously by the hungry crowds.
Their samosas are quite good as well, and worth a try if you want to cap off your sweet with something savory.
1797 Dariba Corner, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi; 11 23256973
Fruit chaat is a refreshing and flavorful snack available throughout the markets. It's sold with a sprinkling of pungent chaat masala that's unique to each vendor. My family will sometimes ask for some of the vendor's chaat masala to take home and sprinkle on our own fruit.
Aloo Chaat Wala
The market in Malviya Nagar around Guru Gobind Sing Margh and Bansi Lala Verma Marg comes to life at night with walas (vendors) selling all sorts of savory snacks. This wala was selling aloo chaat, potato curry with a host of different toppings and chutneys.
Sohan Halwa at Ghantewala
Ghantewala is the oldest sweet shop in Chandni Chowk at over 200 years. It is famous for its sohan halwa (bottom left), which tastes similar to a hard caramel and is usually topped off with nuts such as pistachio, cashew, or almonds.
Shop No. 1862, Block A, Chandni Chowk, Delhi NCR; 9312640397
Carrot Halwa at Ghantewala
Ghantewala has a wide selection of other tasty sweets and savory snacks. One of my favorites is their carrot halwa, flavored with saffron, cardamom, jaggery, and nuts.
Shop No. 1862, Block A, Chandni Chowk, Delhi NCR; 9312640397, 11 23280490, 11 23241851
Paneer Pakoras at Navdanya
Navdanya is an NGO which connects seed keepers and organic farmers across India with the goal of preserving indigenous crops. They run an organic Slow Food restaurant and shop located in Dilli Haat, including an open-air market featuring handicrafts from artisans all over India and food stalls serving regional specialties. Navdanya is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Dilli Haat and nearly everything on the menu is delicious, especially these paneer pakoras, which were our second plate of the day.
Shop No. 18, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi (Opposite INA Market); 011-24121548
Achar, or Indian pickle, is a spicy condiment served at almost every meal. It's made from fruits and vegetables like unripened mango, gooseberries, lemon, carrot, and garlic, and flavored with different oils and spices like chili powder, fennel seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds, and asafoetida. I always bring back a few different pickles from my trip and you can find pickles in shops like Fab India, specialty stalls or even vendors on the street. There are two vendors in Malviya Nagar that I frequent most often, one of which is listed below.
New Khushiram Achar Wale, Shop No. 42, Nr ICICI Bank, Main Mkt, Malviya Nagar, Delhi, 110017; phone: 9899909353
Daulat ki Chaat
Daulat ki chaat is a dessert available in wintertime and usually only sold by street vendors in the walled section of Old Delhi, also referred to as the old city. It's a milk-based dessert that with a fluffy, light texture that melts in your mouth. It's flavored with rose water and saffron, which gives it that yellow tinge on top, and comes topped with koya (condensed milk), sugar, and sometimes nuts like pistachios.
Paranthe Wali Gali
Paranthe Wali Gali means 'lane of paratha sellers' and is a famous destination in the Chandni Chowk market for paratha, fried bread stuffed with an assortment of fillings like potato, peas, cauliflower, paneer, and even nuts. Traditionally, these shops served no meat as their owners were predominately Brahmin, the Hindu caste that religiously follows a vegetarian diet.
Chandni Chowk market: around Rai Kedarnatha Marg and Chandni Chowk Marg
Paratha at Pt Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad Dixit
There are three paratha shops left now from the old days and Pt Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad Dixit is one of them. You can watch as your paratha is made, then eat it with curry and Indian pickle. At the end of your meal, order a rabri, a unique creamy milk pudding dessert.
Shop No. 36, Ground Floor, Gali Parathe Wali, Chandni Chowk, Delhi NCR; 91 9891664131
Similar to jalebi in appearance, emarti is a sweet and chewy pretzel soaked in a honey syrup, but it has a distinct taste because it's made from urad dal (black-skinned lentils with a creamy white interior), rather than maida (all-purpose flour). It is often served for special occasions like weddings or festivals.
Haldiram's, Shop No-1454/2, Sheeshganj Gurudwara, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi; 91 11 2883 3008
Dahi Bhalla & Aloo Tikki at Natraj Dahi Bhalla Wala
Natraj is an institution and serves up two specialities—dahi bhalle, fried lentil dumpling in yogurt topped with creamy yogurt, tamarind chutney, and pomegranate; and aloo tikki, fried potato cutlet topped with spicy mint chutney and tamarind chutney.
1396,Chandni Chowk, Near Central Bank, New Delhi; 91 98 11 208811
Rice Pudding at Bade Miya ki Kheer
The owner of Bade Miya ki Kheer standing with his goat outside his family's 130-year-old kheer (rice pudding) shop. The kheer is made in a traditional North Indian way by grinding the rice, milk, nuts, and dried fruits and then cooking it with ghee. The resulting kheer is thick, creamy and decadent, with unique smokey flavor from a slow cooking on a wood fire.
Lal Kuan (opposite Masjid Badal Beg), Hauz Qazi, Chandni Chowk, Delhi
Don't leave Delhi without having a classic deep-fried samosa filled with spicy potato and pea curry. You can find samosas most everywhere in the city and see many vendors frying them right on the street. Make sure to eat yours from the vendor that has the most customers— always a good sign of a quality samosa maker.
Gulab Jamun at Moti Sweets
Gulab jamun is made from balls of fried milk solids soaked in saffron sugar syrup and is officially my favorite Indian dessert. How can you say no to this vat of good stuff?
Shop #17, Ground Floor, Main Market, Malviya Nagar, Delhi; 011 26677300
Milk Cake at New Moti Sweets (across from original location)
Milk cake is a lesser-known dessert that's milder in flavor than most Indian sweets. It has a sticky, chewy texture and a carmelized taste that pairs oh-so-well with a cup of chai.
Shop No. 5, Block C, Main Market, Malviya Nagar, Delhi; 91 9310555550
Paan is a digestive and mouth freshener made from a spicy betel leaf that's filled with supari or areca (a hard brown seed of the betel palm, which leaves a freshener-esque aftertaste in your mouth), a white paste made from pickling lime (a white calcium powder derived from limestone), and a mixture of spices like saffron, cardamom, cloves, and sometimes even tobacco.