"Main toh raste se jaa raha tha, main toh bhel puri kha raha tha." Most of you would be familiar with this very famous 90s Bollywood track. Not only does it aptly depict the actual Indian street food scene, but is also enough to make you grab a plate of bhel puri right away. When it comes to street food, India tops the charts. Food and beverages that are usually sold on streets by hawkers and vendors in portable stalls and carts is what is termed as street food. Move over aloo chaat and tikkisas India has got lots to offer. Be it north, south, east or west, every region of India has its own speciality. Made with a melange of exotic spices and ingredients, Indian street food is one of its kind. Apart from Indians, a lot of foreign travellers swear by Indian street food as well. If you happen to be a die-hard street food lover who just cannot resist the urge of digging into roadside delights, then this article is going to tantalise your taste buds in just no time.
Read on to know about lip-smacking Indian street foods that are too delicious to miss.
(Also Read: Dabeli: The Gujarati Street Food That is Spicy Yet Sweet)
Known to have originated in the Kutch region of Gujarat, dabeli is an interesting blend of softness and crunch in one go. Enter Gujarat and you'll see big streets and narrow lanes thronged with dabeli stalls. This scrumptious cousin of vada pav is prepared by stuffing spiced potato mixture in buttered paos that are grilled on a tawa. A special dabeli masala goes into the making of this delight along with garlic and tamarind chutney. To add an extra crunch to the dish, generous portions of sev gathia and juicy pomegranate seeds are sprinkled over the same. This Indian street food is also very common in the state of Maharashtra and is immensely loved by locals.
2. Kathi Rolls
There is no denying the fact that Kolkata thrives on its kathi rolls; a look around Kolkata's streets is enough to justify the same. Made with a delectable filling of kebabs and raw veggies, kathi rolls are not only a treat to the eyes but to the palate as well. The filling is stuffed inside a maida-based paratha, which is flaky and crispy. A stroll through Park Street in Kolkata is only complete after having a dose of kathi rolls.
3. Nagori Halwa And Bedmi Puri
This combination of sweet and savoury flavours is sure to make any foodie crazy. Bedmi aloo sabzi with nagori puris and halwa is the favourite breakfast go-to option of almost every Delhiite. Commonly available in the streets of Chandni Chowk, these dal-stuffed puris are served with a spicy potato-based curry and sooji halwa. It is a complete meal in itself and is best relished when paired with a chilled glass of sweet lassi.
4. Daulat Ki Chaat
Daulat ki chaat is one such street food item, which only makes an appearance during the bone chilling months. If you wish to savour the same, then you'd have to wait for some time. This fine and delicate dessert is known by different names in different cities, such as daulat ki chaat in Delhi, malayo in Varanasi, nimish in Lucknow, and malai makhan in Kanpur. Its creamy and frothy texture is derived by whisking sweetened milk for hours. It is then kept overnight in the open to soak in the dew. The garnishing of malai, khoya, pistachio and powdered sugar gives this delight a mildly sweet taste.
(Also Read: The Magic and Mystery in the Making of Daulat ki Chaat)
5. Mirchi Ke Pakode
This popular street snack in Rajasthan is also known as Jodhpuri mirchi vada. The joy of bingeing on big-sized green chillies that are slit open and stuffed with spicy potato filling is above all. What makes this Rajasthani street food even more delicious is the crispy deep fried coating, which is done after dipping the mirchis in besan batter. Pair it with some coriander chutney and you're done for the day.
6. Kanji Vada
This spicy and flavourful drink is a popular street food flavoured with rai, chilli and mustard. It is fermented for over three days and prepared with a variety of salts. Bite-sized moong dal vadas immersed in tangy mustard-flavoured kanjican make anybody drool. It is best enjoyed when served chilled.
7. Chhole Bhature
This Punjabi street food has taken food lovers by storm. If you're craving for soulful food, then chhole bhature fits in like a puzzle. The combination of puffy hot bhaturas with spicy and creamy chhole is every foodie's dream come true. If you happen to be in Punjab, then you're likely to find a plethora of street stalls offering this delight. Pair it with a tall glass of chilled lassi and make the most of this delicacy.
8. Misal Pav
Hailing from Maharashtra, misal pavis a spicy flavourful curry, which is loved by people across the nation. Made with moth bean sprouts and a melange of spices, this street delicacy is topped with chivda, sev, chopped coriander, green chilli etc. If you wish to enjoy the real flavours of this spicy and thick curry, then it is best to pair it with buttered and toasted paos. Try this Maharashtrian street food once and it is sure to leave you craving for more.
(Also Read: What Goes Into Maharashtra's Misal Pav? How To Make a Perfect Misal)
9. Poha Jalebi
This delicacy from the streets of Indore is known for its tantalising flavours; solely because it's a combination of two extremely flavourful delights - poha and jalebi. It is a light yet fulfilling breakfast option and is quite easy on the pockets as well. The poha is topped with sev, peanuts and sometimes tomato and pomegranate, too. It is then served with piping hot jalebis.
10. Paani Ke Patashe
Multiple names, one dish. Yes, we are talking about gol gappas. In a diverse country like India, each state has its own signature speciality. Some people call it pani puris and gol gappas, whereas, in some states it is termed as puchkas, gup chup or even paani ke patashe. Pani ke patashe, as it is commonly called in parts of Uttar Pradesh, is a delicious street-side delicacy, which is loved by kids and adults, alike. In Eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, this light street snack is also referred to as phulki. The joy of munching on crispy atta or sooji puris, filled with tangy water, chickpeas, mashed potato and a melange of spices is above all. Salivating already, aren't you?
11. Pav Bhaji
Pav bhaji is a street food favourite of many for all the good reasons. Spicy, hot and flavourful bhaji served with butter-oozing pavs - pav bhaji is one such street food in the state of Maharashtra, which is loved by locals and tourists at the same time. The perfect blend of a myriad variety of veggies along with exotic spices is what makes this delight different from the rest. The generous portions of tomato and onion slices that are served along, add a nice tangy flavour to the entire dish. Squeeze a little lemon juice on the bhaji and you're done for the day.
12. Nasirabaad Ka Kachora
Eating kachoris is too mainstream. Why not binge on to some giant-sized kachoras? Yes, you read that right. Scrumptious, crunchy and with just the right blend of spices, this legendary giant-sized kachora is indeed the pride of Nasirabad. Pair it with some tamarind chutney and your taste buds are going to thank you for that!
13. Ghugni Chaat
There's no dearth of street snacks to grab on-the-go in Kolkata, and this one Bengali street food is sure to catch your attention if you ever happen to be in the city. This Bengali street-side snack is quite popular in other north Indian states as well. Traditionally prepared by cooking white or yellow matar (peas) in a whole load of spices, ghugni is served like a chaat. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top of it to enhance the flavour of the delicacy.
14. Jhal Muri
Jhal muri is a popular street food of Kolkata, which is made using puffed rice and masalas. This is the perfect on-the-go snack, which is easily available at almost all nook and corners of the city. What makes this street food item different from the others is it pungent taste, which is there because of the presence of raw mustard oil in it. When it comes to these on-the-go street snacks, other street foods like bhel puri and chana chor garam are also quite popular and loved by people across the country.
15. Aloo Tikki/Aloo Chaat
This one's for all the potato lovers out there. When it comes to street food options, the ever-so-delectable aloo tikki and aloo chaat definitely tops the charts. These two legendary street food snacks are loved by people across the country and have a variety of versions as well. Bite-sized pieces of potatoes tossed in a combination of tamarind and coriander chutney taste immensely good. Whereas, aloo tikki tastes the best when stuffed with a filling of moong dal along with a melange of Indian spices. Another seasonal chaat speciality is that of shakarkandi (sweet potato), which is available only during the bone-chilling months. Prepared by mixing bite-sized pieces of shakarkandi in a spicy masala mix, this winter street food is sure to make you crave for more.
16. Bhutta (Roasted Corn Cob)
Bhutta, or roasted corn cob, is a favourite street snack of Indians, especially in the rainy season. The joy of biting on roasted juicy corn kernels, with lemon and masalas smothered all over it, is above all. This street-side snack is usually available in monsoon season. The best part about having bhutta is that you can customise its spiciness as per your preference.
17. Dal Vada
Dal vada is a popular street snack down south. This crispy and flavourful street food is a welcome variation amidst those regular idlis and medu vadas that throng the carts in huge quantities. Dal vada is made with a combination of urad, moong and chana dal. It tastes the best when served with generous portions of coconut chutney. Pair it with a piping hot cup of tea or filter coffee and satisfy those hunger pangs!
18. Moong Dal Ladoo
If you haven't yet tasted this legendary street food, then you're certainly missing out on a lot. Moong dal ladoo, or Ram ladoo, is a perfect snack to satisfy your street food cravings. This lovely combination of fried moong dal ladoos with spicy coriander chutney is immensely appetising. What makes it even better is the garnishing of grated mooli (radish), which compliments it like anything.
Momo lovers, raise your hand! This street snack needs no introduction. Loved by people of all age groups, momos are not only scrumptious, but also quite easy on the pocket as well. Stuffed with a variety of fillings, momos taste the best when paired with fiery red sauce/chutney. Apart from the metropolitan cities, you are most likely to find these street-side snacks while travelling to hill stations. If you wish to savour authentic momos, then the ever-so-beautiful north eastern states of India can offer you a great spread.
20. Matar Kulcha
If you happen to be a real street food lover, then you just cannot miss on this ultimate street food speciality – matar kulcha. Delhi has some amazing street-side carts that serve this tantalising treat. The combination of cooked white chana or white matar with toasted kulchas is sure to make you crave for more. It has a variety of flavours in it and tastes the best when garnished with ginger juliennes and tomato slices. Matar kulcha is a popular street food that hails from Delhi; just explore some places around as this street food is available at almost all nook and corners of the city.
Now, that we have shared with you a list of best street foods of India, bring them on your bucket list and get on a mission to savour each one of them, at least once in life. Bring out the foodie in you and get going. Happy eating!