It is difficult to explain the street food in India to an Indian, we still attempt in this blog post. We don’t usually need a reason to go out at the roadside Pani Puri, Bhelpuri or Chaat stall, it just happens to us naturally and frequently. Whether it’s having Pakodas in a rainy season or eating Momos after tuition classes, we have done it all. Street food is popular throughout the world, but no country can ever have the variety and the spicy taste what we have in our part of the world.
Just like the taste of water changes every mile in India, every Indian state and region has its own speciality of street food. Indians just can’t say no to street food, such is the love. Kolkata’s Rolls, Mumbai’s Vada Pav, UP’s Chaat, Delhi’s Chole Bhature, Sikkim’s Momos to name a few, is just a small list. So, if your mouth has started salivating then wait till the end of this post.
15 Best street food of India
- Chole Bhature- National Breakfast of India
- Vada Pav- Mumbai’s Lifeline
- Momos- King of Street Food
- Pani Puri- Scrumptious Little Bombs
- Aloo Tikki- Needs no introduction
- Shawarma- Non- Vegans Delight
- Kachori Jalebi- National Breakfast
- Pav Bhaji- All Occasion Fast Food
- Dosa – Southern India’s Pride
- Litti Chokha- Bihar Ki Shaan
- Kolkata Roll- Sumptuous Delicacy
- Chowmein- Pioneer of Street Food
- Bhelpuri- How about some tanginess?
- Samosa- In Love with the shape of you
- Bhutta- Sweet Corn not so sweet
1. Chole Bhature
This fast food item comes directly from the heart of Punjab and youngsters literally crave for it. Chole Bhature is tantamount to English’s version bread and butter. It is a concoction of spicy curried green peas (Chole) and puffy fried white flour bread (Bhature). It started as street food in Amritsar, and now you eat it anywhere in the country. Such is its popularity that spread like a fire in India. People have it for breakfast, evening snack, included in birthday meals and where not. Though entire belt of North India is famous for Chole Bhature, Delhi and Punjab lead this pack. Chole Bhature owing to its popularity and taste is thus the best street.
Did you know: Apart from Gandhi Jayanti, October 2 is celebrated as “Chole Bhature Day” since 2013
- Accompaniment: Chole Bhature is incomplete without gulping a glass of Lassi after eating it
- Where to eat: Delhi (Sita Ram Diwan Chand, Delhi Cantt., Baba Nagpal Corner, Pandit Ji). Punjab (Hansraj Choleyan Wala, Kanha Sweet)
2. Vada Pav
You are not a Maharashtrian if you haven’t tasted Vada Pav in your life. Entire Maharashtra runs on this Indian version of Burger which is spicy but Mumbaikars lifeline. Vada Pav is the state breakfast for millions of people living here, everyone from students to businesspeople from all strata of the society flock onto these Vada Pav stalls to grab a bite. Already spicy Vada Pav, when served with fried chillies, might heat your stomach from inside but the satisfaction is immense. It is simple in design and making and yet so amazing. Just a Batata Vada placed between two bread buns with spicy powder sprinkled over it and served with green chutney and fried chillies is what makes a complete Vada Pav.
Did you know: August 23 is celebrated as World Vada Pav Day
- Where to eat: Goli’s Vada Pav (A chain of outlets across India), Mumbai and Pune’s street, Ashok Vada Pav, Garden Vada Pav Centre. In a nutshell, anywhere in Maharashtra and selected places in Northern India
- USP: You must be wondering why everyone loves Vada Pav so much, here’s why- It is affordable, it is ubiquitous, it is available 24*7
Almost everyone starts salivating when it comes to eating scrumptious Momos served by a street hawker or on a roadside stall. This migratory dish cum snack is loved by many for the simple reason of its taste when served with mayonnaise and the famous red spicy sauce. Momos date back to its origins from Tibet and Nepal where they were discovered and then moved to almost all parts of the world.
This is one unique food item that made its way from roadside stalls to swankiest of the restaurants. Momos are stuffed with varieties of fillings in the likes of veggies, paneer and chicken. Momos are available as steamed, fried and tandoori forms, you can choose based on your mood. You will find it in metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities, but they are also available in Tier-2, Tier-3 cities and even on hill stations. Momos undoubtedly find its way in any food items list prepared across the country.
- Where to eat: McLeod Ganj (JJI Exile Brothers), Darjeeling (Kunga Restaurant, Hot Stimulating Cafe), Sikkim (Shuffle Momos, Gangtok), Delhi (Dilli Haat, QD’s), Dehradun, Shillong, Leh
4. Pani Puri
They are available pan India even in small villages, let alone humongous IT Hubs. They have a different name in different states, not an identity crisis, just that people love it and gave their own names. It is known by Puchka (West Bengal), Paani Ke Bataashe (North India), Golgappe (UP, Rajasthan, and MP), Phulki (East UP) and Pani Puri (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra).
Call it by any name, the taste won’t change and the appetite to eat one more will not go down. No matter how diet conscious you are, this is one spicy delight that you just cannot resist eating. The feeling when the crispy aata or sooji Pani Puri filled with tangy water, mashed potato and chickpeas goes inside is just pure bliss. Lip Smacking isn’t it?
Did you know: Pani Puri is considered that it can cure mouth ulcers and reduces acidity. It also can never fill your stomach as it is very low in satiety quotient. Now you got the reason why you crave for more
- Where to eat: UP (King of Chaat Lucknow, Shukla Chaat House), Rajasthan, Mumbai (Elco, Sindhi Pani Puri House), Kolkata (Dilip Da’s Puchka, Chakraberia), Bangalore (Frazer Town), Delhi (Padam Chaat Corner, Ashok Chaat Bhandar), Chennai (Marina Beach Stalls)
5. Aloo Tikki
When it comes to eating street food and one look for options, inadvertently ever so delectable Aloo Tikki pops up in his mind. Aloo Tikki is synonymous to street food in that sense. This snack is loved by millions in the country and has many variants which differ from state to state. Medium sized round pieces of potatoes served with a blend of coriander and tamarind chutneys is just bliss.
Aloo Tikki is ubiquitous across the lengths and breadths of the country. Other variants of mashed potato street snack is Aloo Chaat and Shakargandi (Sweet Potato) which is available during spine chilling season only. Shakargandi, when served in a spicy masala mix, is the best winter street food in India.
- Where to eat: Delhi (Daulat ki Chaat, Bittoo Tikki Wala, Nathu Sweets), Haldiram’s any outlet across India, Bikanerwala outlets
The lone wolf till now alone leading the entire pack of Non-Veg street food in India. If you come across and see the preparation of Shawarma, you just cannot control yourself from eating it. Such is the appeal of this dish which precisely explains the quintessential mouth-watering street food. The chopped granular chicken, onion toppings, wrapped in a white fermented flatbread is just what a connoisseur yearns for.
Shawarma is available in another variant as well in Paneer stuffing known as Paneer Shawarma, reason to smile for vegans. It is highly popular in Delhi and other parts in India and people wait in queues to grab a bite. Shawarma is thus one of the best Non-Veg street food in India.
- Where to eat: Delhi (Lajpat Nagar, New Friends Colony Jama Masjid), Al Bake anywhere in India, Bangalore (Just Shawarma, Savoury Restaurant), Mumbai (Shawarma Factory) Hyderabad (Mohammedia Shawarma)
Also See: Fifteen Popular Chakna around the World
7. Kachori Jalebi
Indians usually do breakfast outside their home, and if it’s a Sunday or a holiday, then it is an unwritten law that a family has to eat Kachori Jalebi in morning with milk or buttermilk. Kachori or Khasta or Bedai as it is known by many names depending on where you are is the most delectable dish for breakfast in India. Rajasthan is famous for its Bikaneri Kachori, Agra in UP is famous for its Bedai, MP is famous for Khasta, different names with the same taste.
These are made from maida, comes with different fillings onion, potato, peas, dal etc. They are served with spicy potato curry and green coriander chutney and some green chillies. Jalebi is the perfect add-on with Kachoris to somewhat pacify your burning tongue. Hot Jalebi along with hot milk is another deadly combination to start off your Sunday on a lighter note.
- Where to eat: Agra (Aggarwal Sweets, Dauji Maharaj), UP (Khandelwal), Bangalore (Kota Kachori) Delhi (Jung Bahadur Kachodi Wala), Jaipur (Rawat Restaurant)
8. Pav Bhaji
A perfect blend of several veggies coming together, forming a dish in which either butter or lemon is squeezed to get the best out of it. This dish is consumed with pav dipped in butter and some chopped onion slices is what makes an evening complete. Pav Bhaji is one such street food in India, especially in Maharashtra that is equally loved by the locals as well as tourists.
- Where to eat: Mumbai (Cannon Pav Bhaji CST, Siddhivinayak Fast Food Juhu, Sukh Sagar Chowpatty), Delhi (Vaishno Chaat Bhandar, Jhakkas Pav Bhaji, Evergreen Sweet House, Haldiram)
The South Indian cuisine is synonyms to Dosa, such is the reach and fame of this fast food snack. Though it is predominantly a South Indian snack, Dosa is available Pan India wherever you go. People in Northern part love it like anything. Dosa is basically a cooked flat thin crust batter made of rice and black gram is filled with mashed potatoes.
The varieties of Dosas are immense be it Masala Dosa, Rava Dosa, Plain Dosa, Paper Dosa, Neer Dosa to name a few. One Dosa contains 80 calories vis-à-vis a slice of pizza which has 230 calories making Dosa a healthy eat. Dosa is served with Sambhar and Coconut Chutney making it the best street food in south India.
Did you know: How old is Dosa? Its origins can be traced back to 2000 years and the thinner and crispier version was first made in Karnataka. There are a total of 624 varieties of dosas last counted.
- Where to eat: MTR Outlets across India, Sarvana Bhawan (Must Try), Sagar Ratna outlets, Delhi (Sarvana Bhawan, Naivedyam), Chennai (Mathsya, Sangeetha Restaurant, Ratna Café)
10. Litti Chokha
How can we not touch Bihar when writing about street food in India? Litti Chokha is tantamount to Dal Baati of Rajasthan and is very simple in design and very delicious in eating. This dish or street food snack in unique in the sense that you can have it for breakfast, lunch, evening snacks or even dinner.
Chokha or a spicy curry is made from mashed potato or brinjal and is served with Litti, a round shaped bread made from grams. This amazingly delectable dish is served with loads of Ghee that makes it even more tempting. Litti Chokha from the streets of Patna has quickly made rose to many states in India making it a popular Indian street food.
- Where to eat: Varanasi (Baati Chokha Restaurant), Delhi (Mr Littiwala, Potbelly Rooftop Café, Bihar Bhawan), Patna (Bhojpuri Litti Chokha, DK Litti Corner)
11. Kolkata Roll
The most mouth-watering delight to have as an evening snack. You will fall for it just by watching its preparation. When the different sauces, mayonnaise, paneer, omelette layers come together as on wrapped by a maida based paratha cover. You are seriously missing out on something amazing if you haven’t come across this street food snack.
These rolls are available in myriad forms in the likes of Egg Roll, Paneer Tikka Roll, Chilli Paneer Roll, Chicken Roll, Mutton Roll, Tandoori Roll to name a few. They got fame in Kolkata and slowly expanded their reach and now is available in every state of India and even overseas. All this makes Kathi Roll as one of the stalwart in Indian street food.
- Where to eat: Noida (Rolls Kings), Bangalore (Rolls Mania), Delhi (Dada’s Rolls), Kolkata (Nizam’s, Kusum Rolls, Hot Kathi Roll)
Remember the weddings and birthday parties in your childhood? What used to be the most common item in the snacks section? This is one Chinese noodle dish that actually that made Indian street food so popular, it is a pioneer in that sense. There used to be a time in the late 90s when people used to stand in queues and wait for hours to eat this delicacy.
Red hot noodles being tossed on the high flame is a memory from parties and weddings. Everyone used to visit the Chowmein stall in those functions and eat it multiple times, such was and still is the craze of Chowmein. It stood the test of time over the years and kept on evolving with different flavours
- Where to eat: Delhi (Madhuvan Chinese Food, Pepper Corn Express, and Chowmein’s Hut), Mainland China Outlets, Lucknow (Moti Mahal, Royal Sky), Bangalore (Hunan, The Lantern)
13. Bhel Puri
Remember the iconic track from the 90s “Main toh raste se jaa raha tha, main toh Bhelpuri khaa raha tha?” Bhelpuri is a spicy Indian street food rather a chaat made of puffed rice, vegetables, sev and tangy tamarind sauce wrapped in a cone shaped newspaper or a paper plate. In Maharashtra, it is the lifeline of Mumbaikars, and many food connoisseurs especially go to the beach areas to have this snack. Such is the fame and popularity of Bhel Puri even in other parts of the country. Bhel Puri is loved by people of all age and from all walks of life. Everyone falls for the simplistic yet sumptuous street food in India.
- Where to eat: Mumbai (Sharma Bhelpuri House, Beach Area, Sea Side, Gupta Chaat Centre), Gujarat, Karnataka, UP, MP
This somewhat eccentric triangular shaped street snack is the most favoured evening snack with tea in India. Even the shape of samosa changes from one state to another, but thing that remains constant is its deliciousness. It is fried in cooking oil and consists of fillings of boiled potatoes with several sorts of spices, onion filling, meat, lentils, peas, and meat.
Renowned traveller Ibn-e-Batuta once described Samosa as “minced meat cooked with almonds, pistachios, onions and spices placed inside a thin envelop of wheat and deep-fried in ghee” Samosas used to be a symbol of royal dining back in those days. Samosa is a gift of the Middle East to the world, and this snack has seen many transformations over the years from being the elite class delight to a common man’s snack. This rich legacy with delectable taste makes it one of the best street food in India.
- Where to eat: Delhi (Manohar Dhaba, Munni Lal Halwai, Kumar Samose Wala), Mumbai (Guru Kripa, Candies, Gulati’s), Kolkata (Tewari Sweets, Deckers Lane, BBD Bagh), Chennai (The Samosa Factory, Bombay Lassi), Bangalore (Albert Bakery, Bhagatram Sweets)
15. Bhutta & Sweet Corn
This is more of a snack which is relatable to the rain in India, albeit being a year-round street food. The roadside street hawkers serves it by applying black salt and lemon to make it even more tempting and a pleasure to eat. This is sold at a dirt cheap price which will not allow you to bargain for it. The best part about Bhutta is you can customize its tanginess with no extra money. Monsoon is often associated with this roasted corn cob just like summers are identified with mango in most parts. Another mouth-watering variant of Bhutta is sweet corn which are boiled corns mixed with lots of spices and served in markets. Sweet corns comes in various forms differentiated by the sweetness and tangy flavours as per your taste.
Did you know: Roasted corn cob helps reduce cholesterol, prevents cancer, and fights constipation
- Where to eat: Roads of most of cities of India, tastes amazing everywhere
We know you would have ordered from Zomato and eaten a lot while reading this blog post. This is all we had in store for you in this edition of best street food in India. There are myriad street food in India, but we have chosen from an eclectic bunch covering everything from all parts of India and seasonal street foods as well. Hope the quick trivia and where to eat helped you in selecting the best outlet to eat these delicious delicacies.
Do let us know in the comments section about your experience of consuming these street foods of India. We would love to hear from the horse’s own mouth.