The Old Delhi food trail is nothing short of a romance with not only food, but also tradition and history. One place deep fries it stuffed paranthas and Nehruji too loved them, while another place has not stopped selling only Dahi Bhalle and Aloo Tikki since 1940, another place uses spices and recipes handed down by generations for kebabs and biryanis…and it goes on. Every gaali is an explorer’s delight! It is IMPOSSIBLE to explore all the famous eateries of Old Delhi in one day. Period. Having said that, you can be really ambitious and try to cover a maximum number of them if you hit the streets really early.
Tip: While you might be tempted to plan the sortie on a Sunday, see if you can make it on Saturdays, since on Sundays, a few food stalls/shops are closed. We went on a Sunday though, for unavoidable reasons, and managed to eat at many places. Psst…if you are going for the food trail, key is to eat little little of everything everywhere. Come back another day for that absolutely killer of a Dahi Bhalla…!
How do you reach Old Delhi? Leave the car at home. Chuck Ola, Uber as well. Take the Metro and get off at the Chandni Chowk station. Take the Gate No. 1 & 5 exit for Chandni Chowk.
Let’s start with breakfast!
Pt Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan at Paranthe Wali Gaali: It is a no-brainer to hit Paranthe Wali gaali for those famous deep-fried stuffed paranthas. Look for the little eatery called Pt Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan — they have a long history of six generations running the place. People throng it for all kind of stuffed paranthas including the usual potato, paneer, peas, mooli and also mawa. Served with a potato-curry and two types of chutney, the paranthas are worth your trek to this congested part of the world. Wait, don’t have your fill here…leave some space and come along for some Kachoris…By the way, when here, don’t miss studying their wall of fame filled with photos of our leaders from pre-Independence era…
Jaitara Sweets & Namkeen in Chandni Chowk: Another hole in the wall little place that is popular for its kachoris served with choley or chutney. We absolutely fell for those steaming deep-fried balls stuffed with dry masalas. A plate costs a meagre Rs 15. Wrap it up with a Gulab Jamun they sell, but if you ask us, we’d tell you to wait and save that room in your stomach. For, lets head for some mind-blowing Dahi Bhallas…
Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala in Chandni Chowk: It is a little walk away, so ask you way around, or simply take a cycle rickshaw. The Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala sells only two items – Dahi Bhalla (lentil balls served in a sea of sweet yoghurt and tarmarind chutney) and Aloo Tikki (Potato Cutlets served with served with coriander-mint chutney). Well, we fell for the Dahi Bhallas and have pledged to go back only for them someday…
Hazarilal Jain Khurchanwale at Kinari Bazar: Have some stomach left? Head to Hazarilal Jain Khurchanwale at Kinari Bazar for some exquisite Khurchan – milk thickened until dry and can be set as little pieces of cake. We’d urge you to not miss a piece here since Khurchans are not easily available in any other areas of Delhi….
Chaina Ram Mithaiwala at Chandni Chowk: Well, we ate nothing here…simply because we had not more space in our stomachs. So we did the next best thing — we packed a box of all Besan Laddoos, Til Laddoos, Soan Halwa, Motichoor laddoos for back home!
Take a breather now…head off to the Red Fort for a good dose of history and a good walk so that breakfast is digested…!
Time for lunch!
Karims at Jama Masjid: If you are a pure non-vegetarian, there is only one destination – Karims. You must order the Mutton Burra…it is absolutely out of the world. Jayanta swears by the Bheja Fry too and loves it with a Tandoori Roti. I stick to my Mutton Biryani though…and that Mutton Sheekh is another distraction we can’t seem to get enough of…!
Desserts at Cool Point: Cold Point is exactly opposite Karims. I absolutely love their Phirni, while the kid goes for their Kulfi Stick. On a very hot day, do not miss their Lassi. And don’t miss their Shahi Tudka…that’s what they are most famous for..
Snack on Chaats!
Ashok Chaat Corner at Chawri Bazar: We were headed for the metro station, when we saw a crowd in front of a small shop. Peeping in, found out they sold chaats – Paani-Puri, Dahi Bhalla, Papri Chaat. Well, couldn’t have left Old Delhi without one round of Paani-Puri, could i? So one round it was…and what ecstasy it brought.
We finally left pledging to be back to repeat some of these delicacies and try out a few others we couldn’t go to such as the Old Famous Jalebiwala, Jung Bahadur Kachoriwala…..