We all are “Foodies” some way or the other, I mean who does not like eating especially when it is something that could genuinely please their taste buds. Chandni Chowk is a hub for foodies, from North Indian to South Indian, from vegetarian to non-vegetarian, from starters to desserts, you find that all in the filthy streets of Chandni Chowk and trust me, it is all extremely tempting and you cannot resist having them at all!
Delhi itself shares great terms with food, there is no single place in Delhi where you cannot find food and I won’t be wrong if I say that Chandni Chowk is the richest of all. Here is a list of 20 food items that you must try when you want to chill with friends or family.
1. Daulat Ki Chaat
“Daulat” means wealth and this is why this dessert is considered a rich one, rich in the terms of the ingredients used, they include reduced milk which makes it so but the word “chaat” suggests a blend of sweet and sour flavors but here it is contrasting since it is a dessert. Its one glance will make your mouth water and once you spoon this delicate dessert into your mouth, it will disintegrate. Its vibrant color i.e. yellow, appeals the most when we just look at it but when we have a bite, you realize that its color does not fake, it is genuinely a very lively dessert.
The moment you enter Chandni Chowk, you get to see many men standing, selling it on tripods and barrows, also you need not put fire to your pocket to have this sumptuous sweet, you can easily have it in Rs.40-50.
Firni is another beloved delicacy that you will find in the “gullies” of Chandni Chowk. It is made up with milk and crushed rice. It is so smooth that it will dissolve in your mouth in seconds. It has a mild flavor but it is nonetheless mouthwatering. It is usually served in clay pots and is garnished with nice and finely chopped dry fruits including pistachios, almonds and cashews. This too is easily available since it is one of the most famous desserts of Old Delhi. “AlJawahar” is a famous restaurant to try firni under Rs100.
3. Shahi Tukda
Shahi Tukda is a traditional Indian dessert which was brought in by the Nawabs of Lucknow. It is basically deep fried pieces of bread, only in desi ghee which is then coated with sugar syrup, reduced milk and dry fruits including pistachios, almonds and cashews. It is soft and crispy simultaneously because of the frying, it becomes crispy and because of the sugar syrup it becomes soft. It has a milder taste than that of Firni but it is a pure treat to people with a sweet tooth.
4. Rabri Parantha
Rabri Parantha is something that you will not find on barrows or tripods; you will have to visit some shops in the very famous Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk to have this tempting and peculiar parantha. It is basically a deep fried parantha which is stuffed with “rabri”. With each bite that you take, rabri flows down your lips and out of the parantha. It has a crispy crust and a super smooth core which makes an amazing blend of both the textures. The way it dissolves in mouth is incredible. Its mere idea makes one’s mouth water. You just can afford to miss this lip smacking prantha ever!
5. Kulle Chaat
When we hear of a “chaat”, the first image that our minds form is a deep fried stuff dipped in chutneys but guys, this is the healthiest chaat ever! Chaat and healthy, you all must be stunned to hear that but Yes! This is a chaat that is made up with fresh and seasonal fruits. You get cups of tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, pineapple or any other fruit that you like, stuffed with corn seeds and pomegranate seeds with tangy chutney and “chaat masala” is being sprinkled on. What else could be better than this on a hot summer day? It is indeed the best appetizer.
6. Aalo Tikki
Aalo tikki is one of the most famous dishes that are found in Chandni Chowk. It is basically a potato cutlet, deep fried in desi ghee and served with fresh sweetened curd, chutneys and spices, spread all over. It is usually garnished with some pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander. The cutlet is very crispy whereas yogurt blends with it perfectly in the mouth. Its taste is a mix of sweet and sour or I can say that it is a bomb of tastes. You can find it very easily in every street of the maze like area of Chandni Chowk.
7. Chhole Bhature
Your food walk is incomplete if you step out without having this dish. This is a main course dish very clearly. A “bhatura” is deep fried bread made up of refined flour and it is served with chickpeas. Chickpeas are made dark by adding tea leaves and are full of flavors. Bhatura is stretchy and chewy. It is usually served with chutneys, green chillies and chopped onions. You can find them very easily in any area around Chandni Chowk.
8. Chhole Kulche/ Matar Kulcha
Chhole kulche is another great feat for those who love North Indian food. It is different from any other chana recipes because it is completely oil-free. Yes! You read that right, the chole served with “kulche” are oil free and are made my mashing them and adding finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies and on the top, the vendor squeezes lemon and sprinkles other spices. Kulche are flatbreads which are cooked in butter. So this is purely the finest street food. You get this mainly on barrows.
9. Aalo Chaat
Once you enter Chandni Chowk, you can see smoke rising up from potatoes getting fried on big griddles, I mean really big griddles! And that is how your “aalo chaats” are cooked. Medium sized potato pieces are deep fried and are served hot with chutneys and spices. Potatoes are cooked on low flame so as to make their outer crust crispy and the inner part soft and steaming hot. This makes them blend nicely with your saliva. This too can be found more on barrows.
10. Mango Kulfi
You must have heard about mango flavored “kulfi” but I am sure that you must have not heard about kulfi stuffed mangoes. It is all because this mango kulfi is something that you cannot find everywhere but you can find it easily in the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk. It is one more delicacy that will make you fall in love with it. Imagine how pleasing a chilled mango stuffed with pistachio kulfi can be in a hot summer day! That tempts me right now!
11. Stuffed Paranthe
Those who love paranthas cannot find a better place than the Paranthe Wali Gali which is located right there in Chandni Chowk. Paranthas that you eat here are not the usual ones, these paranthas are peculiar, and they are stuffed with chilies, bitter gourd, dry fruits, reduced milk. You can savor all kinds of paranthas here. Paranthas are served with chutneys, lemons, onion salad, cottage cheese and potato curry, pickles etc. Sweet lassi is also available which is served in “Kullhads” if you like it. If you live away from home and feel like having “Maa ke hath ke paranthe”, you can absolutely satisfy your cravings here.
If you have a sweet tooth and you love the desserts which are drowned in sugar syrup that slips down your lips, Jalebis of Chandni Chowk are for you! You can see men selling Jalebis on their barrows and cycles that too at very low prices. They are often served with “Rabri” which is mildly sweetened. Jalebis are kept crispy and are dipped in rabri which is very smooth but that is optional, you can have just the Jalebis as well. They usually garnish it with pistachios and you cannot resist tasting them.
13. Gol Gappe
Gol Gappe, Water balls, Puchka, Phulki, Pani Puri, it is something that is adored by all the foodies out there, I bet, no matter what you call it. These are basically fried hollow balls which are with boiled chickpeas, potatoes and “bhujia” and flavored water. Chandni Chowk has a very rich variety of waters available. You can have meetha paani, khatta paani, hing wala pani, jeera wala pani, lemon paani and many other waters which also consist of fruit flavored ones. Even if you do not like Gol Gappas, you visit Chandni Chowk and have them, you will fall in love with them.
14. Dahi Bhalla
Dahi Bhallas are another famous and admired kinda chaat. These are moong dal balls which are very soft and are served with crushed papris, smoothened curd and chutneys. A pinch of chaat masala, black pepper, red chilli powder and salt is also sprinkled on it. It has tangy flavors and its super soft balls dissolve so nicely one’s mouth that he/she feels like retaining its taste for forever.
15 Kachori Aalo
It will be wrong if I call Kachori Aalo an appetizer because it fills your tummy and makes you feel content. There are mainly two types of Kachoris namely, “Moong dal kachori” and “Pyaaz Kachori”. It is served with spicy potato curry, garnished with finely chopped onions and coriander and it altogether feels amazing. You can find it on barrows a well as in shops in Chandni Chowk.
16. Lemon Soda and Shikanji
You must have heard about lemon soda before as well but the ones that you get in the Old Delhi areas especially Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar speak a lot about the authentic Indian drinks. “Shikanji” is lemon in sweet and salty water whereas Lemon Soda is lemon in soda. . Also, they are very cheap. You will find barrows having really big earthen pots covered with red wet cloth and that is how you can recognize what that particular man is selling. For lemon soda, you will find glass bottles with a lemon on the top of each bottle decorated nicely on the periphery of the barrows.
It is served chilled and for a place like Chandni Chowk where people go to shop for their wedding and get exhausted, both of these drinks are a treat for their saturated souls. They serve it crushed ice in the glass and these two drinks can be found in every nook and corner of Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar. Their refreshing essence will make you adore them in one sip. Trust me; they are true saviors during a hot summer day that you spend in Chandni Chowk
There are people who do not like kheer or like kheer but only the ones that their mothers cook, I was one of them, I love kheer but only the ones that my mother makes for me but the day I had “Siddiqui ki Kheer” at Chandni Chowk, I somewhat felt an inclination towards kheer. It is an ultimate delicacy that you must try. It is unlike other kheers, very thick and smooth. One cannot to afford to get end up his/her food walk without trying this.
People like me who love those crispy pieces of steaming hot kebab find their love in Chandni Chowk and in the adjoining areas. You get the best kebabs here from Vegetarian to Non-vegetarian, from usual to extraordinary and weird; you get all kinds of kebabs here. These are served with green chutney and chopped onions/vinegar soaked onions. They also sprinkle chaat masala over it which gives a better feel.
19. Bedmi Puri and Aalo
“Bedmi Puri” is basically a dal stuffed puri which is larger in size than a regular puri. It is served with aalo curry and pickles majorly but some also add pumpkin and chana to the platter. It does best for breakfast and it is clearly not a starter, it is a full-fledged meal. If you are an abstemious person then you cannot have a complete platter all alone, you need someone to share it with. Its taste is very different and I won’t be ever reluctant to have it.
20. Rabri Faluda
We are familiar with “rabri” but not with “faluda”, so before I tell you anything, let me tell you that “faluda” are long vermicelli, as long as noodles, which are soaked in cold sugar syrup. It is usually served with a scoop of dry fruit ice cream, rose syrup and rabri. Rabri and ice cream are mandatory parts of it but you can always choose if you want rose syrup to be poured or not. It is served cold but the temperature of rabri is lower than that of the faluda to make it easy to have. If you haven’t had this dessert before, you must hop into Chandni Chowk to get the awesomeness of this lip smacking delicacy.
I hope that you all now know that what all can be the elements of your food walk. For students who live away from home and do care about the money that they spend, this is a hub for all those as this will make you a spendthrift as it is cost friendly. There are places to shop around in Chandni Chowk so you can exploit the flavors and tastes while shopping. You will get an essence of our authentic Indian food.
So what are you all waiting for? Get ready to go Om.Nom.Nom!!