10 Street Foods You Must Try When Travelling In India
Healthy and organic is the way of life and talk of the town today. However, there is a community of people named Foodies, who don’t care if the food is organic or healthy, and I belong here. In this post, I will run you through the Street Foods You Must Try When Travelling in India. For us, any food which looks appealing and smells good is worth a shot.
I am from India, and as most people must be familiar, India is a land of cultures. And as many cultures we have, there are at least 50 speciality cuisines that are exclusive to them.
In this article, we will not talk about the food which is already popular and show up on the menus of every Indian restaurant around the globe, like, Biryani, Tandoori Chicken Tikka and its derivatives, Naan Bread and other Paratha bread etc. Today we will talk about the foods which are underrated, still tasty and like mentioned earlier, are worth a shot.
I had a tough time listing 10 street foods when travelling in India.
1. DAHI BATATA PURI
Literally meaning, small crispy puffed bread with savoury potato filling and the whole thing is topped with creamy yoghurt. Garnished with sprinkles of freshly chopped coriander and sev (small pieces of crunchy savoury noodles made from chickpea flour paste).
Dahi Batata Puri hails from the commercial capital of Mumbai and is one of the most sought-after evening snacks in the region. Although it has many variations without yoghurt, this one is my wife’s personal favourite and will definitely feature on the menu of any place serving Indian Chaat (Savoury snacks). Loaded with bursting flavours, this is a perfect balance as the yoghurt eases out the spiciness of this snack and is a must try for every foodie.
Spicy Level: 🌶
2. KEEMA PAAO / PAAO BHAAJI
Keema Paao translates to spiced minced lamb served with crusty bread rolls and Paao Bhaaji would be a spicy curry of mixed vegetables (bhaji) cooked in a special blend of spices and served with soft paao bread shallow fried in butter. Both are close cousins in terms of preparation, the latter being a favourite with vegetarians.
While Paav Bhaaji is readily available at any Indian Snack corner, one might have to seek places which serve meat for Keema Paav to be available. Very likely you would run out of the bread before you finish the main dish as that are lightly toasted and very generously soaked in salty butter, don’t shy out and ask for extra bread. You might be charged a tiny amount for the extra bread and definitely won’t be looked down upon.
Spicy Level: 🌶🌶🌶
3. CHOW MIEN / HAKKA NOODLES
Don’t be confused.. this is not Chinese food. Both Chow Mien and Hakka noodles are our very own derivatives of noodle preparations. The only thing common here is the noodles. Rest everything is very Indian with a regional twist. While western India uses a lot of garlic, spring onion, super spicy Shezwan sauce, eastern Indian preparations use a combination of soy, chilly sauce and cracked pepper.
Goes without saying, both these variations have a lot of favours no matter which part of the country you have them, and of course they can be ordered with chicken or only with veggies. Do try some of the other menu choices if you happen to try Indian-Chinese food.
Spicy Level: 🌶🌶🌶
4. DAHI BHALLA
Moving up North in the country, this one is a speciality in and around the national capital. Again involving heaps of yoghurt, Dahi Bhalle means deep fried lentil fritters, soaked in creamy yoghurt and served with even more yoghurt topped up and garnished with spicy mint chutney and sweet tamarind chutney. Did you have your mouth water? Dahi Bhalla is also known as Dahi Vada in the rest of the country and but has the same preparation. Moving on…
Spicy Level: 🌶
5. CHOLE BHATURE
Another North Indian speciality, Chole Bhature comprises of a spicy chickpea curry accompanied by some massive fried flatbread. The locals say, the bigger the flatbread turns up to be, the more hospitable it is. So if you are overwhelmed by the sheer size of the flatbread, some display of gratitude will be certainly appreciated by your server.
Spicy Level: 🌶🌶🌶
6. PAPER DOSAI
This delicacy takes us to the South of India. Very traditional in the state of Tamil Nadu, a typical paper dosa should stretch across the entire width of your table. A thin crispy crepe made out of rice and lentil batter (hence it is gluten-free) and roasted with Ghee (clarified butter), Paper dosa gets its name from its thickness, it will be just as thick as paper, and will be served with Sambhar (spicy breakfast lentil curry) and a range of coconut chutneys.
Spicy Level: Not Spicy. (sauces could be spicy)
Again from South India, Idiyappam’s origin is highly debated upon, but the make remains the same, be it in Sri Lanka or Malaysia. What is agreed upon is that Tamils (a local ethnic race of people) came up with it first? Consisting of rice flour pressed into noodle form and then steamed, Idiyappam is served with the same accompaniments like sambhar & Coconut Chutney
Spicy Level: Not Spicy (sauce can be spicy)
8. DAAL BAATI CHURMA
The typical Rajasthani delicacy, Dal Baati Churma should be the first pick of the foodies when they are in Rajasthan. Popularly known as the state food of Rajasthan, Daal Baati Churma is a combination of three distinct appetizers. Batis are round bowl-shaped wheat flour made edibles that are dipped in oodles of Ghee or Butter and served with Panchkuti Daal or Mung Ki Daal along with churma (coarsely ground wheat cooked with pure desi ghee and sugar) makes a mouth-watering combination.
Spicy Level: 🌶
9. NOLEN GUDER ROSOGOLLA
Moving on to sweeten your palette now, Nolen Gurer Rasogolla comes from the state of West Bengal. These steamed cottage cheese balls are soaked in a syrup made from Date jaggery. Typically available in most sweet shops around the state during winter months of December until February because of the availability of Date jaggery, this sweet is my personal favourite. It has a distinct taste and is nowhere close to its aboriginal Rosogolla which is soaked in sugar syrup.
Undoubtedly, my wife makes the best Rabbi I’ve tasted so far, but unfortunately, that cannot be made available to everyone. So you will have to settle at least for the second best. Rabdi is painstakingly made of milk and sugar, simmered over a slow flame for a very long period till it thickens on its own. It requires a lot of patience so relish every bit of it. You will also get hints of cardamom and saffron in a good Rabdi and is available throughout the country.
I hope all of the above mentions will tempt you to get out of your hotel and hit the streets. No matter where you are in India, there will always be something too tingle your palette and make memories at !ncredible India!!!