old Delhi foodOne of the things that the Walled City of Delhi is most famous for is the plethora of mouth-watering and eye-catching dishes available every few steps, it would be criminal for food-lovers to miss out. Here is the complete guide for Indians to the delicacies of Old Delhi.

Step out of the Chandni Chowk metro station to be greeted by fragrances of different dishes that will make your mouth will water. Straight ahead, near the Kali mandir, stands a vendor frying kachauris, bedims (a special form of poori) and bread pakora; all served with spicy aloo sabzi. He also sells hot and dripping gulab jamuns. A satisfactory and complete meal for Rs. 25!

Old Delhi; A Foodies Delight - By Nishank Verma Towards Chandni Chowk, the tOld Delhi; A Foodies Delight 2- By Nishank Verma hree generations old Natraj Chaat Bhandaar stands abuzz with customers. They only sell bhallachaat (notably without any papri) and their speciality, the aloo-tikki chaat which has a unique anaardana tinge. Both cost Rs. 20 a plate. Across the road, sits a kulfi-faluda vendor, who has been sitting there every day for half a century, since his father passed on the legacy to him. The creamy rich kulfi is “oh so delicious”.

Old Delhi; A Foodies Delight 3- By Nishank Verma At the entrance of Dariba Kalan is the shop whose name says everything. Established in 1884, it is named the ‘Old Famous Jalebi Vala’, and the only two items on their menu are jalebis and samosas. While there is nothing extra-ordinary about the samosas, the jalebis are undoubtedly the best you’ll ever have. Priced at Rs.20 per 100gm, the tender, juicy and hot jalebis melt immediately in your mouth.

Old Delhi; A Foodies Delight 4- By Nishank Verma The sinful Paranthewali Gali has nearly half a dozen restaurants, most of which belong to the members of the same family; a fact disclosed by closed shutters on the day of our visit, and hand written notes declaring the sad demise of their Mataji, Chachiji, Dadiji, Taiji etc. One restaurant that was luckily open was Kanhaiya Lal Durga Prasad Dixit, which claims to be “a tradition 5 generations old”. The paranthas here are deep fried and quirky. A few of the unusual ones are karela parantha, rabri parantha, papad parantha and khurchan parantha. The variety here is beyond imagination. Served with pickle and a sabzi, the parathas are definitely worth a try.

Old Delhi; A Foodies Delight 5- By Nishank Verma AOld Delhi; A Foodies Delight 6- By Nishank Verma nother famous spot is the Giani Di Hatti. Turning right from the Fatehpuri Chowk, move a few paces ahead and you reach Giani’s, famous far and wide for its glass of rabri-faluda, as is affirmed by the crowd of people swarming the counter. Priced at Rs.35 a glass, the thick creamy rabri with dry-fruits, faluda and crushed ice, justifies its popularity. Looking around Giani’s, one realizes that this is a hub of vegetarian restaurants. Just adjacent to Giani’s is the Kake Di Hatti, established in 1936, whose specialty is the eleven kinds of naans offered.

Moving away from the famoOld Delhi; A Foodies Delight 7- By Nishank Verma us, there are many unknown stalls and restaurants that are reservoirs of taste and perfection. For instance, the kulche-chhole, sold by numerous vendors here are different than in any other of the city owing to the imli chutney in the chhole. Other options are gol-gappe, rabri, kachauri-sabzi, daal-ke-laddu, poori-sabzi, bhature-chhole, parantha-dahi, samosas and pakoras, kadi-chawal, pulao etc.

After having so much to eat, the sweet tooth needs to be satisfied too. Though there are numerous mithai shops all over, the most famous are the Ghantevala and the Chaina Ram Halwai. Chaina Ram, near the Fatehpuri Masjid, won the Times Food Award, 2009 for the Best Mithai Shop.

To beat the heat, a host of thirst-quenching options are also available. Nothing can beat the lassi though. Served in a big glass or kulhad, this Rs. 20 worth of the smooth buttery lassi topped with the delectable malai, should not to be missed. Among other options are wheat-sattu, banta-lemon, jaljeera, kanjivada and watermelon. What steals the show however is the simple, clean, cold water distributed amongst passerbies for free by a generous old man.

In my opinion, what works for all these mouth-watering delicacies, is the perfection and the patience with which these dishes are prepared. Attention is paid to every little detail, which is the result of the generations-old traditions being carried down the lineages and the extremely experienced hands being put to use. The magic of it all cannot be felt unless one actually visits the place and relish the dishes first-hand. Hungry anyone?

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