With many fine dining restaurants & bars mushrooming here and there, burning a hole in the pocket has become easier than ever. These restaurants will ‘Sir and Ma’am’ you, serve exotic-sounding dishes in small bowls and plates (quantity enough for a bite or two) & take away all your money. In fact, the more I have rolled my tongue in pronouncing a dish, the bigger hole it has burnt in my pocket.
That said, fine dining has its own charm. And so does cafes. But the best of the lot is the street food of India. Sold on the stalls, parked at the corners of lanes, in the middle of the busy streets. The food that they serve is oily and delicious. And somehow, fine dining restaurants can never match the street food in taste.
Also read: Cafe trail, McLeod Ganj
I was born in Ghaziabad (Delhi NCR), graduated from Delhi University, pursued my masters from Bangalore. And since then, I have been roaming here and there for my living & mostly for clicking good pictues. I am all for tasting the street food. And here I share the list of 10 food items that I absolutely love from the streets of Incredible India:
1. Aloo Tikki (Potato Patty) & Gol Gappa
They go together. Aloo Tikki (Potato Patty) & the famous Gol Gappa (or Pucka in Bengal & Paani Puri in North). Both these items burst in mouth with flavors & one plate is never enough.
2. Samosa – Jalebi
This combination can never go wrong. If you give me a hot samosa dipped in chutney & Jalebi to keep company – I won’t ask for more except for a cup of tea. 🙂
This option is available on streets only in South India. I love idli-sambhar in breakfast. The fluffy, soft idlis – dipped in hot, tangy Sambhar – is a fulfilling & yummy breakfast.
Pakoras meaning fritters – potato, onion, cauliflower & sometimes brinjal are cut and diced, laced with gramflour and deep fried in oil. This snack is the best for winter mornings & evenings of all seasons.
5. Vada paav
A dish from Maharashtra, Vada Paav is easily found everywhere these days. I grew up in Delhi NCR and I have always eaten warm Vada Paav where they shallow fried the bread and gave it to us. It took a visit to Pune to understand that in actual, Paav is cold and Vada is hot in a Vada Paav. Some combination!
I have loved Bhelpuri from I don’t know when. Bollywood songs have made liberal use of ‘Bhelpuri’ too. I still remember this part of a Bollywood song, “Chaupati jayenge, Bhelpuri gayenge”. Chaupati & Bhelpuri are inseparable like Benaras and paan. 😀
The best Bhelpuri that I have tasted is from Mahabaleshwar, near Pune.
This should probably move up in the list. This heavy, Punjabi snack is a meal in itself and the mostly sold food item on the streets of North India. You get the best ‘chola bhatura’ in Punjab or the famous food joints of old Delhi. Bikanerwala does a good job at it too.
For me, the best ‘chola bhatura’ has always been the one that my mom cooked.
Burger is the wierd cousin of ‘Vada Paav’ – fashionable bit confused. They keep a patty in between a paav, shallow fry it in butter (or Margarine), stuff some raw onion, cucumber & tomato inside the Paav too & serve it with sauces. McDonald’s, KFC & Burger King came later. We Indians have been putting this dish together for decades in our own way, in our own style.
Brought to you from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, kachori (or khasta kachori) is yummy beyond description. In Rajasthan, they sell onion Kachori everywhere. And in Uttar Pradesh, they sell kachori with aloo tamatar ki sabji; the combination is sinful. I love it.
How can the list of street food be complete without ‘Maggi’. Maggi doesn’t belong to any state of India and yet is sold everywhere – in the plains as well as on the top of the mountains. You go to Lonavla, Rishikesh, Kodai Kanal or Ladakh – they will serve you maggi everywhere. And it tastes yummy.