Delhi’s history is one of many chapters. Having served as the capital of several empires, the city is a blend of several cultures, which reflects in its food palate. Here is the ultimate food guide for Delhi.
When exploring the city’s multitude of food offerings, one will be surprised at the sheer range and variety of dishes that are central to the city’s cuisine. If you are visiting Delhi for the first time, here’s a list of dishes that are settled in the heart of every Delhite and reflect the city’s diverse and vibrant history.
The Proud Punjabi Palate
Delhi shares very close ties with Punjab and this reflects clearly in its breakfast favourites – chole bhature and aalu ke paranthe. These dishes are available in almost every food joint, and your trip to Delhi would be incomplete them. A perfect addition to these dishes is an authentic tall glass of sweet lassi.
The Street Food
Walking the streets of Delhi, you will witness the young and vibrant spirit of the city reflected in its street food stalls. Delicacies such as momos (served in more varieties than one can imagine) and chaats are key to the Delhi street food experience and a must-try for any foodie. Speaking of chaats, the famous Indian sweets and snacks brand, Haldiram’s, serves some of the most mouthwatering chaats, such as their grand raj kachori.
Traces of Mughal influence can be seen across the city not only in the form of architecture but also through its expansive Mughlai cuisine. Serving the most authentic experience from this cuisine is Kareem’s. Located in the homely streets of the Nizamuddin area; and the charming, old lanes of Purani Dilli (Old Delhi), Kareem’s brings to the table an authentic Mughlai experience with its korma, seekh kebab, naans, rumali roti, and phirni.
The Original Butter Chicken
If you are a hardcore Butter Chicken fan, Moti Mahal Restaurant is definitely your sacred ground. It was in these kitchens that the dish was invented in the year 1950. With a history of serving the greatest names in Indian history, including the first Prime Minister of India, today, the restaurant has branches across the country. However, for an authentic experience, head to its Daryaganj outlet, where it all started.
The Charms Of Chandni Chowk
Located right next to the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk is known as the street food capital of the city. Walking through the streets, you’ll be engulfed in the intoxicating scents of fresh pakoris, samosas, and jalebis being fried in every other shop.
Ghantewala, a sweets shop in Chandni Chowk, dates back to 1790 and is said to have catered to the sweet tooth of many Mughal Emperors. Their must-try dishes include the famed sohan halwa and Karachi halwa.
For The Shawarma Lovers
Long before every other city in the country got their taste of the Lebanese delicacy, Al-Bake in New Friends Colony served Shawarma, spiced and minced meat in a greasy roll along with a mint-coriander-curd chutney, which took the city by a storm. A humble shop back in the day, Al-Bake can now be found in various malls across the city, but I do pay a visit to the shop where it all started.
The real way to explore a city’s food is to just get on the streets and get tasting. The play of flavour that I have seen in the dishes in Delhi, be in high-end restaurants or road-side stalls, is so unique to the city and its heritage that it leaves its mark. This list definitely falls short in front of all that Delhi has to offer in terms of food, so mention your favourite dishes of the city in the comments below.
Other than the food, the city’s history and markets are also gems for a true explorer. Read our blogs on the Delhi street shopping experience and Delhi’s rich cultural heritage and dwell deeper into what makes this city so special.