Street food in India offers a mind boggling range of treats. All over the country street food is found to be tantalising with its tempting smells and mouth-watering display. Here's a round up from a few cities...
The khau galli near Marine Lines is one of the favourite lanes for a foodie. The food available here is predominantly vegetarian. “I love ragda. I also gorge on the hot jalebis here,” says Aniket Saramble, a school student while enjoying the hot jalebis.
But the most popular street food of Mumbai is undoubtedly the vada-paav. “It is the desi competition to burger,” says 15-year-old Vishal Marankar and his friends agree with him. Potatoes are boiled, mashed and mixed with spices before being deep fried with a coating of chana daal flour. The hot vada is placed in a paav (bread) and is served with dry and wet chutney. The dry chutney mainly consists of groundnut and the wet chutney is made of tamarind and jaggery.
Along with vada-paav, another item that tops the chart is paav-bhaji. “My mother doesn't allow me to eat a lot of street food. She says it is not good for children. But when we want to celebrate, we go out and eat paav-bhaji. I love cheese paav-bhaji,” says 12-year-old Nilangi Shende.
Chaats are also well-liked. In Mumbai it is lovingly called “Bombay chaat”, signifying its difference from the chaat available in North India.
For non-vegetarians the preferred destination is Mohammad Ali Road. Here you would get not only non-vegetarian delicacies, but also some mouth-watering desserts. During Ramzan, the street is frequentedby many.
South Indian dishes like the meduvada-sambar, idli, dosa, uttapa are very popular.
Mumbai street food is an eclectic mix of South, North and Western Indian specialities.
Hot favs: Vada paav, bhel-puri, paani-puri, paav bhaji, kacchhi dabeli, dosa, uttappam, idli, Bombay chaat
With the streets, roads and lanes dotted with delicious, mouth watering food, the nation's capital can eat its way into your heart on any given day. The city hides its original flavour within the lanes of Paharganj and the crowded Lajpat Nagar market. Sizzling in the pots are Jaleba (a gigantic cousin of the jalebi) and momos piled high and served with a generous dollop of fiery red chilli sauce.
There are age old favourites that beg mention — the rajma chawal and chole bhature vendors standing like saviours during office lunch hours; the token momo-man and the chaat-wallah outside every school and college; the famous shawarmas of New Friends Colony.
A small grain store at Chawri Bazaar, a market place in old Delhi, has a family making fruit sandwiches since 1958. Seasonal fruits are finely sliced and layered with marmalade, cottage cheese and pomegranate seeds. And yes, it's definitely a hit.
Near the Chitli Kabar road in old Delhi, there sits a kebab seller — Kebab Farosh, who sells kebabs so soft that they have to be held onto the skewer with strings, thus earning the name Sutli Kebab (String Kebabs). These kebabs aren't just soft; they also, beautifully and perfectly, melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more.
The Prince Paan and Chaat Corner of Greater Kailash's M Block market has shoppers crowding for a plate of the famous gol gappas and aloo chaats.
There is, of course, much more. The ram laddoos, actually just balls of moong dal deep fried and served with the delicious green sauce, that are available at almost every street corner; the kulfi — Indian style ice cream that come in colourful flavours like pista, saffron and rose.
Hot favs: Fruit sandwich, jaleba, rajma chawal, chole bhature, momos, kebabs, gol gappas, ram laddoos
It all started when flavours of the East got infused into the city which was founded by Quli Qutb Shab. In those days strong black coffee Qahwa was the hot favourite — the embellished cups in the museums in Hyderabad are a testimony to the fact. And soon “Qahwa-khanas” or coffee houses lined the streets of the city.
Today you can still stop by at their worthy successors — the Irani cafés — known for their thick, sweet tea brewed throughout the day and their chota samosas.
bundis chai samosa
When shopping in Charminar or Abids how can one not miss the moon shaped Chand biscuits, the tasty salted Osmania biscuits, colourful fruit biscuits and also the bun maska- bread served with a dollop of butter? High in calorie yet this delicacy is a favourite.
Charminar is the Mecca of street food during the month of Ramzan with deghchis of lip-smacking, finger-licking haleem — a meat and cereal porridge. You will be served with a generous splash of korma, a drizzle of ghee and a sprinkle of fried onions, cashews and chopped coriander! Dahi vadas and fruit chaat are also on offer along with pathar ka gosht and seekh kebab snacks.
The change of season is noticed on the city's bundis. Summer is the season of falsa berries, ber, gengul, munjal and singadey among other fruits. The season is heralded by hawkers carting slabs of ice on which rest neatly diced cubes or slices of watermelon. You can also cool down with fresh cucumbers and a pudina drink.
And then there's falooda — a heavenly layered concoction of vermicelli, chilled milk, rose water and kulfi — with bobbing black balanga (salvia seeds) topped with almonds and pistachios!
Come season of the Numaish in January and the very popular street delicacy — stuffed mirchis with green chutney is what people throng to buy.
The Indian “Chinese” with a novel flavour is dished out by bundis-cum-mobile canteens. If you aren't into carcinogenic Chicken 65 you can nibble on a frankie or shawarma — the new street food entrants.
A few dishes from coastal Andhra such as punugulus — a finger food made with dals — are anytime snacks at bundis near shopping centres.
Hot favs: Chand biscuits, bun maska-bread, chota samosas, punugulus, falooda, pudina drink, stuffed mirchis
Anyone would love to seize an opportunity to dig into a plate of delicious crisp bajjis or bondas. Caution is thrown into the winds, dust and dirt are ignored, as the plates of vadas, soaking in sambar or curd materialise in front of you.
An evening walk along the Marina Beach is a foodies delight.
“Vazhaiakka bajji is my favourite,” says Adidth, who usually prefers burgers and pizzas. vaalakka bajji Plantains are replaced by onions, potatoes, capsicum and in some places boiled eggs and slices of bread.
The morning medu vadai in sambar or curd and passed as the famous sambar vadai and thayir vadai.
During the monsoon, you would hear vendors crying out “rasagullas rasa gullas”. If you thought they were Bengals greatest confectionary, you would be surprised to find it is a medu vadai in a bowl of hot rasam.
Don't miss out on the large ever silver goblets with the ragi pattage, known in the village as kaelviragu kool with slivers of spiced raw mango, chillies, onions or a more millagai. ragi
There are surprises in store when you walk the streets of Chennai, — as food from other countries greet you in certain areas.
The Myanmar food joint near Burma Bazaar offers Athouk, a Burmese salad and Mohinga, a traditional Burmese soup. Momos are another delight that you would find.
Hot favs: vadas, vazhaiakka bajji, ragi pattage, athouk, mohinga, medu vada, bonda, bajji
Keywords: street food