street food in old delhi

When I travel somewhere new I want to eat something new and for that Old Delhi is a dream come true.

Delhi is unimaginably old. With a history dating back to 1000BC, it is one of oldest cities in the world that has been continually inhabited. It seems kind of silly that one city quarter is called Old Delhi when the whole city over has small reminders of its antiquity. Old Delhi, however, refers to Shahjahnabad, the city that the Mughal Dynasty built upon relocating their power from Agra. It s called 'old' in contrast to New Delhi, the British-built capital. Old Delhi is home to the Red Fort and India's largest mosque - Jama Masjid. Its main street is called Chandni Chowk and it happens to also be home to some of the best street food that I know.

Pamela Timms writes a mouth-watering blog that describes her edible adventures in Old Delhi: eat and dust. The name is clever as the former Mughal capital is a shrine to food as well as a bit of a dustpan (if you've ever blown your nose in Delhi then you know just how much dust is floating in the air). Dust or no dust, eating in the streets of Old Delhi is a must for locals and tourists alike.



Street food is local and seasonal. I was lucky to be in Delhi during the winter months as I got to indulge in daulat ki chaat (a kind of 'milk puff' made from sweetened milk and topped with saffron and chopped pistachios, Pamela calls it God's Own Street Food) and gajar ka halwa (another sweet dish to warm up with in winter, it is made from carrots, milk and cashews). I also got to taste some classics like jalebis at Old & Famous Jalebiwala (which is over 100 years old and only serves samosas and jalebis) and dahi bhalla (a fried patty made with pulses and topped with yogurt, masala and chutney).

But there is so much more to try! One could easily spend months in Old Delhi alone wandering through the ancient alleys, buying flowers for puja, drinking chai and trying whatever food stand that is hidden by a crowd. For a good introduction to the best eats on the streets read about some of Pamela's picks for the Guardian. Street food also means street drinks. In winter make sure to try some frothed milk in a traditional terracotta mug and in summer it is all about fresh lime sodas.


To delicious travels and edible adventures!

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