Cuisines of Delhi - Spend your holidays in Delhi,
enjoy the most traditional Delhi Cuisine. Delhi offers variety of
cusines,Mughlai Cuisine,Punjabi Cuisine, Continental,Chinese Cuisine
and much more. Select from the wide range of Delhi food delicacies,
variety of mouth watering snacks, that will definitely increase the
carving for delicious food of diverse Delhi Cuisines.
Shopping in Delhi
Cuisines of Delhi
¤ Delhities First Love - Eating
Everyone in Delhi loves eating. When people in Bombay and Bangalore
are either partying or drinking, Delhites are, you guessed it, eating.
Walk into any wedding, party or social occasion and you will see huge
tables groaning under an astonishing array of mouthwatering and
sometimes nose-watering too dishes emanating exquisite aromas
and fragrance. Usually, in the Delhi social scene, a perfunctory hello
is followed by the hostess indicating to the guest where the food has
been laid; just what the guest had been too polite to ask himself but
was, of course, dying to know.
An indifferent table is social suicide. On the other hand, feed a
Delhitie well and youve got a friend for life; on a full stomach
he will give you even unto half his kingdom. and whats more,
being a thorough generous live-for-today Delhitie, wont even
regret it the morning after.
Perhaps that is why Delhi
is the restaurant capital of India, just
like Bombay and Bangalore are the discotheque and pub hubs
respectively. The city is crawling with restaurants of all variety,
nationality and vintage.
¤ The Rule of Successive Dynasties Brought Diversity In Delhi Cuisine
Over the centuries, Delhi has changed hands, and hence personalities,
umpteen times. She has been variously Rajput, Arab, Afghan, Mongol,
Mughal and English. The vivacious eat-well-drink-well Punjabis came
to the city with literally nothing, having left everything behind, in
what used to be home, in Pakistan when the partition happened. However
in an amazingly short span of time they bounced back with their lives
and careers back on track.
¤ The Punjabi Cuisine - The Most Famous Delhi Food
The Punjabis love to experiment and try everything, there is a
veritable splash of cuisines you can sample. Thai, Lebanese, Chinese,
Israeli, Italian, Indonesian, Spanish, Mexican, French, Moroccan,
Swiss and much, much more of the local Indian stuff. What the Delhites
dont like, they amend. Like the famous Indian-Chinese, which is
a Delhi product.
Going out in Delhi is usually associated with food.
However that was not always so. Not very long ago, in fact right into
the fabulous forties till before the coming of the Punjabis, orthodox
Hindus in Delhi would not eat food cooked outside the home, dismissing
it as unclean. Reading between the lines this meant they
were not sure about the caste of the cook Brahminist
squeamishness, which was followed by a surprising aggressiveness by
non-Brahmins castes like the kshtriyas, kayasthas and so on.
All that stopped very abruptly when one enterprising family of fleeing
Punjabis from the Partition holocaust set up shop as a Tandoori
(Punjabi-Mughal cuisine) eatery in the old City, near the Red Fort.
and boy, did they clean up! Tandoori food, rich and succulent, cooked
in hot clay ovens was an immediate box-office hit that set the cash
registers ringing permanently. Today the standard menu at any Delhi
restaurant takes in a fair share of Tandoori dishes, while also giving
the nod to the more delicate (and difficult to make) Mughlai dishes
like pilafs and kormas.
¤ Mughlai Cuisines In Chandni Chowk
However, to eat Mughlai cuisine like mother makes it theres
still no place like the Mughal emperor Shah Jahans city, now
called the Old Delhi. At places like the now almost legendary Karims
and Babu Khans near Jama Masjid, Kallus Halim near Gali
Chitli Qabar and Nalli Nahari in Beradari, beyond Ballimaran, the art
of making Mughlai food is just like it was in the good old days of the
emperors. The reason for this is that most of the families who own
these restaurants in Old Delhi are descendants of the royal cooks who
used to serve in the kitchens of the Mughal emperors. They take fierce
pride in having successfully preserved the culture of the Mughlai
cuisine in face of the Tandoori onslaught.
¤ Interesting Stories Behind The Creation of Delhi Dishes
There are stories attached to most places and food in the city. Like
the nahiri, a delicate beef stew which is painstakingly prepared
overnight and served just-so now at Nali Nahiri and such places.
Apparently during the reign of Shah Jahan, Delhis water supply
came from a canal in the middle of Chandini Chowk. The water of this
canal became suspect for some reason so the doctors (hakims, in those
times) got together and came up with a recipe for a beef stew with
lots of red chilies which were supposed to have germ-killing
properties. Whether that worked or not is not known, but we can tell
the nahiri sure did. It is still a very popular dish in Delhi and
other cities of Northern India, like Lucknow and Kanpur.
Chandini Chowk is still revered as the best place to sample foods from
the Mughlai cuisine, be it main course dishes, sweets or snacks. In
teeth of fierce competition from the fast-food brigade Chandini Chowk
has managed to hang on tenaciously and determinedly to that unique
charm from another era.
¤ Chandini Chowk- An Age Old Wholesale Market
Most of the shops in Chandini Chowk date from the previous century,
and some, like the Ghantewala Halwai, are even older. Almost all the
shops have been handed down from father to son and many of these
businesses are now being managed by the fourth or fifth generation.
Chandini Chowks merchants take fierce pride in their trade and
wares, hence quality is of the essence. Some of them would even go to
the pains of grinding their own spices rather than trusting
shop-bought Masalas (mixtures of various spices). Most of the shops
have their own (very) secret recipes (guarded like family heirlooms,
no less). This makes it very interesting for the gourmet as no two
places providing the same fare will have preparations that taste just
¤ Bazaar - The Traditional Eating Joint of Delhi
The market has over the centuries become a little cramped for space
and you might have to end up standing if you are planning to sample
some of the exquisite stuff the eateries here offer.
Turn a corner here and you will reach the Paranthewali Gali. The
layered parantha a type of bread fried on a griddle and made
without yeast is said to have been officially brought to Delhi
by the Punjabis, but unofficially it had been eaten in Delhi for ages.
Evidence of this is simply the existence of the Mughlai parantha
layeredfried bread with eggs, and sometimes chicken and mutton, folded
into it which used to be served to Mughal emperors. The Paranthewali
Gali boasts of three families here who have been involved in the art
of turning out paranthas as they should be and selling them for
¤ The Speciality of Ghantewala
The oldest sweet shop in Delhi is the Ghantewala in Chandini Chowk,
which went into business in 1790. Down the centuries, it has remained
in the same family and is now in the hands of the eleventh generation.
Theres an interesting story behind how it got its name, Ghanta
actually means a big clanging bell in Hindi. Legend goes that whenever
the royal procession moved down this road, the emperor was in the
habit of stopping here for a snack a habit that his elephant
acquired too. Well, we all know how passionately fond of sweets
elephants are, so of course came the day when he found the way to the
shop himself. Apparently he refused to budge and kept on shaking its
head until people rallied around with assorted sweets. The bells
hanging from the elephants neck would tinkle whenever the animal
went into stubborn mode and shook his head. and from there came the
shops name beat that! The Ghantewala Halwai is celebrated
for its sohanhalwa, a sweet made from dry fruits, sprouts and sugar.
There is another Ghantewalah Shahi Halwai, now near the famous
fountain in Old Delhi. It is owned by a part of the same family, which
branched out somewhere down the line. This shop also does roaring
business with its dry fruit, sohanhalwa, barfis and namkeens.
Chandini Chowk is justly famous for its chaat: a quintessentially
Indian spicy snack with various ingredients, laced with lots of
sauces. In shops like Natrajs Dahi Bhale (almost legendary for
its chaat) and Chaatwallah you can still bange on some of the
best chaat in Delhi.
¤ Snacks Specialty
Want to carry home a taste of India? Take back salty snacks or
namkeens from places like Haldirams or Bikaners in
Chandini Chowk. Mithais or sweets spoil easily and are usually good
for a day or so only. While here you can, of course, try exquisite
Iimratis (a syrup-filled delicacy) at Kanwarjis, Rasmalai (a
sweet made from milk and cream) at Bikaners and for Bengali
sweets you just cant beat Haldirams.
¤ The Cooler Delicacies
Doing this Chandini-Chowk-Food-trail in the summer months is really,
uh, not exactly the best way to go around it. But the good news is
that theres lots of stuff to help you cool-off. After all
Indians have been living in these conditions longer than anyone else,
so theyve perfected combat techniques for the heat.
After a hot walk you will find a traditional almond squash known as
Tthandai, (available at Haldirams) tremendously refreshing Or
you can chill out with the are abri falooda (milk starch and rice
noodles served with crushed ice), at Gianiji ka Falooda. By the way,
you neednt worry about the water they use for making ice - these
guys are extremely particular and manufacture it from filtered water.
¤ A Gourmets Scrumble-Jumble
Mughlai Specialty :
Now coming down to today after the medieval charms of Chandini Chowk.
Most five-star hotels offer excellent Mughlai-Tandoori-Frontier
cuisine. Especially Bukhara in Maurya Sheraton where you can rub
shoulders with any celebrity worth his/her name, including Hillary and
Chelsea Clinton who pronounced its food as one of the best they had
tasted. For Punjabi - Mughlai food the places to head for are the
restaurants in Pandara Road Market, Karol Bagh and Connaught Place.
Pindi and Gulati on Pandara Road and Kake da Hotel in Connaught Place
have a large following, who flock to them almost every night. Mostly
after dinner didnt we tell you that Delhiites eat too
The Vegetarian Joints :
The hunt for a really good vegetarian joint in Delhi might be an
eye-opener for all of you who think India is more vegetarian than
thou. Traditional vegetarian food can best be tasted in the homes of
Delhis people. No restaurant in Delhi offers the variety and
quality of vegetarian food that can even hope to match home-cooked
food. There are some places which offer Marwari food, like Brijbasi at
Katra Neel but, really, they are so far out that even old Delhiites
will scratch their heads if asked about there whereabouts.
Mostly restaurants tend to exist on the assumption that cottage
cheese and lentils smothered in cream and butter is all there is to
vegetarian cuisine, which of course is quite untrue. The humble
cottage cheese is laced with names like paneer-do piaza, paneer
makhani, paneer pasanda and shahi paneer, but dont be surprised
if they all taste the same.
Cholle bhature is the grand Punjabi favourite and everybody who comes
to Delhi eats it at least once. One of the best places offering cholle
bhature is Kwality in Connaught Place. Another Delhi staple is
rajma-chawal, red kidney beans cooked with spices and tomatoes and
served with rice. But no restaurant can make it quite like its
done at home.
Street Food Has Its Own Charm :
Street food is the grand old tradition in Delhi from the times when
Kkhomchewallahs (street vendors) used to come to ones doorstep
to sell all kinds of snacks, chaats, ice creams, sweets and so on. The
munchies you can buy off the streets vary with the season. Its
fresh roasted Bhuttes (corn) in the rains, peanuts and popcorn in
winter and various roasted gram in summer. You can also buy assorted
Pakores (patties), patties, sandwiches and even the local version of a
burger off these vendors.
¤ International Cuisine In Delhi
For those who want it, international cuisine is marks its presence in
places like the Orient Express at the Taj Palace. Italian and Tex-Mex
food, perhaps because of its affinity to Indian food, is very popular
in Delhi and there are some very good joints like Flavors (owned by an
Italian) and Rodeo. of course as far as five-star hotels are concerned
you can have any cuisine from Thai to Spanish to Indonesian to Greek.
¤ Alls well that ends in sweets
Go anywhere in Delhi theres no escaping the omnipresent sweet
shop. The Punjabi and Mughlai sweets are rather in-your-face but those
who like their sweets delicate might prefer the Bengali variety. No
one can beat Annapoorna, the oldest authentic Bengali sweet shop in
Delhi, which has outlets in Green Park and Chittaranjan Park. Other
good mithai outlets are Kaleva in Gole Market, Nathus and
Bengali Sweets in Bengali Market.
¤ Kulfi Specialty--An Indian Ice-cream
and if you havent tried the typical Delhi kulfi, you havent
lived. Its a solid chunk of thickened milk, topped with saffron,
cardamom and nuts, which is eaten with Falooda (rice noodles). When
the mixture of the noodle, nuts and frozen milk explodes in your
mouth, its really something else. Roshan di kulfi on Ajmal Khan
Road in Karol Bagh is an excellent place for beginners.
¤ Excellent Confectioneries
For those who prefer to stick to their cakes, pies and minces, Delhi
has a host of excellent confectioneries. Wengers in Connaught
Place (revered for its chocolate cake), Sugar & Spice and Nirulas
with branches in different localities are among the best going.
¤ Pan -- Indian Mouth Freshener
The Indian meal is usually rounded off with paan, which is folded
betel leaf with a filling of areca nuts, lime and extras like
cardamom, clove, nutmeg and grated coconut. The Paan is said to have
strong digestive properties. Stories of other more erotic effects are
however told by traditional paanwallahs who have been in the business
for generations. For a price, they might still mix together various
spices to weave the same magic that it was supposed to have created in
the days of the Kamasutra (the traditional Indian treatise on sex)
where it is recommended as an aphrodisiac.
¤ Relishing Invitations
The people of Delhi are generous. Chances are you will be invited to
more lunches and dinners than you know what to do with. Delhites like
to stuff you, so if you are on a diet put it on temporary hold.. After
all, the one thing you can count on in the Delhi lunch-dinner scene is
great food. and what the hell, theres always paan.
¤ The Dhabas-- Traditional Open Air Restaurants
A small boy in vest and shorts comes and slaps water on to the
rickety table. You already know the menu of the day, but ask anyway
for the sheer pleasure of listening to it, plus theres lots of
time to kill. This is Delhi for gods sake; time not spent in
decades is not worth measuring. The boy rattles off without pausing
for breath: muttarpulaoshahipaneerzindadaal
Ask any Delhite about eating out and with a wistful gleam in his eye
hell tell you that theres nothing quite like the dhaba.
These roadside food joints are very much a fixture on the Delhi
restaurant scene. Originally dhabas were located on major highways,
where they were supposed to cater to truck drivers on long distance
travels. But frankly, almost everybody haunts them for good, cheap
food. For example the Express dhaba near the Indian Express building
on Bhadurshah Zafar Marg (Indias Fleet Street) is a popular
hangout with media persons, including big names like Aroon Purie and
People from fine families still shudder at the thought of
actually going and eating in a dhaba, but no one has any qualms about
ordering take-out meals from there. The reason for their popularity is
simple: these modest restaurants turn out surprisingly
good Punjabi food and the advantage is that it is fresh and cheap.
With time, the dhabas have gone hip and now also include buttertoast,
sandwiches, fries, Chinese food and much more, though of course they
are still best at Punjabi cuisine. So if you can overlook the rather
shabby surroundings, the dhaba is a very much a good-deal food outlet
Indiasite.com, a trusted name in the travel industry in India caters to all the needs of a tourist coming to India.
Any unauthourised duplication of this site is strictly prohibited and liable to prosecution.
Copyright © : indiasite.com (All rights reserved)