Savory, sweet, spicy: Delhi's must-try street eats

By Dinsa Sachan, for CNNPublished 9th October 2014
With the sweltering summer bidding adieu and pleasant autumn temperatures setting in, now's the time to explore New Delhi.
Travelers to the Indian capital may hesitate to try the city's famed street foods, fearing the notorious "Delhi belly."
But skip the street food scene and you miss an essential part of the Delhi experience.
Here are seven street delicacies among Delhi's endless choices, including a mix of vegetarian, non-veg and dessert.
Ram laddoo
Desperate for an energy boost after a tiring shopping session?
A plate of ram laddoo is your fix.
Ram laddoo ("laddoo" is a name for sweet flour balls) are savory, deep-fried moong balls served with chili-coriander sauce and garnished with grated radish.
Served in silver-colored, throwaway plastic bowls, one serving of six-to-seven balls is a great power snack or even lunch.
Best to try it at the make-shift ram laddoo stalls, sometimes on a bicycle, that are strewn across town.
If you aren't lucky enough to see one, try it at Lajpat Nagar main market.
Sitting under a tiny tin-roofed shop in and downing deep-fried potato patties floating in a blend of yogurt, spicy green and red sauces served in leaf bowls is a definitive Delhi experience that even hardcore locals can't get enough of.
Chaat is a collective term used to describe savory street dishes in India, especially these three: aloo tikki (described in the gallery above), dahi bhalla (cutlets of skinless black lentil-like gram submerged in yogurt) and papri chaat (a hybrid of aloo tikki and dahi bhalla with salty, plain biscuits thrown in).
Many Delhi chaat addicts flock to a narrow alley behind the Union Public Service Commission's office near Khan Market (Humayun Road, Pandara Flats, India Gate, New Delhi, India).
Prabhu Chaat Bhandar's (Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, Khan Market, New Delhi; open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.) range of chaat options do the trick for a satisfying dinner.
The lime and potato paratha from old Delhi's Parathe Wali Gali.
The lime and potato paratha from old Delhi's Parathe Wali Gali.
Himali Singh Soin/CNNGO
Located in a remote corner in old Delhi's Chandni Chowk area, Paranthe Wali Gali (Lane of Paranthas) is home to some of Delhi's best-known parantha joints.
The chapati's stouter, fancier cousin, parantha is a pan-fried flatbread generally stuffed with vegetables, such as mashed potato, grated cauliflower and radish.
It's a popular breakfast item in Delhi's Punjabi households.
Paranthe Wali Gali offers innovative parantha options.
As you plonk down in one of the Gali's tiny, crammed restaurants, you'll find a number of delicious offerings: Indian rabri (sweet yogurt) parantha, mirch (red pepper) parantha, and lemon parantha (prepared from lemon zest, and probably the best this street has to offer).
Samosa is chaat's close competitor for the title of "Definitive Delhi Street food" title. (If there was such a thing.)
It is to India, perhaps, what momo dumplings are to Tibet and bagels are to certain parts of the United States.
As most people know, samosas are deep-fried, triangular pastry pockets, packed with potato, peas, lentils and sometimes meat.
Although they're often served as an appetizer at Indian restaurants around the world, they can be paired with chaat for a full meal.
Great places to try samosas in Delhi include Rewari Sweets (Sadar Bazar, Gurgaon, India; +91 124 232 1826; open daily 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.) and Bengali Sweet House (27-33, Bengali Market, Connaught Place, New Delhi; +91 11 2331 9224; open daily 8 a.m.-11 p.m.).
If you haven't had a kebab, you are not done.
If you haven't had a kebab, you are not done.
Dinsa Sachan
Traveling to Delhi and not trying the kebabs?
Not done.
A legacy left behind by the Mughals, who invaded India in the 16th century, the grilled meats served on skewers make the best on-the-go protein meals.
You can typically choose among mutton or chicken kebabs.
The Chandni Chowk and Hazrat Nizamuddin areas house some of the best kebab outlets in Delhi.
If you aren't up for the large crowds in these bustling locations, you can take refuge in the more accessible Qureshi's Corner in Greater Kailash II (8, Narmada Shopping Complex, Alaknanda, New Delhi; +91 11 2602 0563; open daily 7-11 p.m.).
Chola bhatura
No snack this, chola bhatura is for people with huge appetites.
Fluffy, plain, flour bread combined with a chickpea curry, garnished with chopped onion and served with a tangy mango pickle, chola bhatura is a Delhi meal staple.
It works both as a lunch and dinner item.
Baba Nagpal Corner in Lajpat Nagar is arguably the best chola bhatura area in New Delhi.
But if you find yourself in Karol Bagh or Rajouri Garden, you could hop into any of the numerous chola bhatura shops.
Faluda kulfi
After consuming mouth-burning delicacies it's kulfi time.
Kulfi is India's local ice cream, made with milk and a smattering of dried fruits.
There are 57 varieties in all.
The queen of them all is faluda kulfi (faluda is a popular rose milk flavor dessert drink with vermicelli noodles).
The trusted Krishna Di Kulfi in Pandara Road Market serves kulfi with the heavenly faluda, a beverage consisting of rose milk and vermicelli.