Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Think Chandni Chowk, and you are immediately transported to the lanes of loaded paranthas, succulent kebabs and absolutely sinful sweetmeats. The Punjabis gave the city its widely acclaimed Dal Makhani, Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken. Similarly, the Kolkata Kathi Rolls, Mughlai Parathas, Fish cutlets and the Ghugni of the Bengali settlement in CR Park and the Dosas, Idiappams and Utthapams of the South Indian inhabitants further adds to the richness of the local cuisine of Delhi. It is no wonder then that the capital is also often dubbed as the culinary capital of the nation.
The confluence of cultures witnessed by the city merits a chronicle of its own. Delhi, which has been a capital for several kingdoms in the past, has successfully adopted those flavours on its platter. The same goes for all the migrated communities who came, settled and made Delhi their own. The rich culinary heritage of the city is a mix of all those royal recipes from the Shahi kitchens, the roadside chaat, the in-house family recipes passed down through generations and the plush restaurants that line the urban landscape of the city. These little pieces of history and culture clubbed together constitute what is known as the Dehlvi Cuisine. Dehlvi is an Urdu word which roughly translates to “From Delhi”.
Owing to the diverse nature of Dehlvi Cuisine, it would be hard to explore Delhi’s gastronomic delight in one article but here are our top five favourite picks. So put on your lobster bib, grab a glass of wine, sit back and feast your eyes on this delicious assortment of culinary concoctions from New Delhi:
1. Old Delhi
Fun Fact: All our favourite chaat items, from Papri Chaat and Dahi Bhalla to Jalebi, originated in Old Delhi.
Old Delhi is a popular hub for street food, authentic Mughlai cuisine, and sweets. If you really want an authentic experience with typical north Indian street food, Old Delhi is a must-visit.
Some of our recommendations include Khemchand Adesh Kumar’s Daulat Ki Chaat, Lotan Chole Wala, Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala, Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar and Bishan Swaroop for the best chaat you will ever have.
Another flavoursome experience in Old Delhi calls for a stroll down the famous Paranthe Wali Gali. If there’s one place you’ve got to visit, particularly if you’re vegetarian, it is Paranthe Wali Galli. It comprises several tiny shops serving delicious paranthe- fresh, hot and in a variety of styles. In existence for over 50 years, some of the original shops are still operating.
Several celebrities and influential politicians and businessmen also visit this place, which is crowded through the evening and into the night. You must try the Hari Mirch Paranthe here.
2. Khan Market
Khan Market is one of Delhi’s incredible food districts. It has a mix of cafes, fine-dining options and fast food. A vibrant neighbourhood, whose streets are filled with the delicious aromas of mutton kebab and fried rice, it is a hub for the best eateries, bars and restaurants.
A few restaurants here that you absolutely visit are The Big Chill, Yellow Brick Road Restaurant, Wok in the Clouds, Azam’s Mughlai, and Cafe Turtle.
3. Hudson Lane, North Campus
Hudson Lane in North Campus is very popular amongst students in Delhi as it houses some of the best cafes and restaurants. Mostly serving Italian, Indian and Fast Food cuisine, these cafes offer a budget friendly and delectable culinary experience.
Make sure you check out Echoes, Big Yellow Door, Cafeteria and Co., Indus Flavours and Rico’s.
Another tantalising experience in North Campus is the go-to local street cuisine. Whether you are in the mood for street food, snacks or fast food, North Campus is a place where you’ll find all of these. Since this is a university area, the food is pocket- friendly, and the numerous options available serve mouth-watering food. You must try out Momo’s Point, Chache Di Hatti, Tom Uncle Maggi Point, Hot and Fresh and Sudama Tea Stall.
4. Majnu Ka Tila
Majnu Ka Tila (popularly known as MKT), is also called Delhi’s ‘Little Tibet’. With its narrow and winding streets, colourful Tibetan flags and the soft and melodious sound of the Tibetan prayer bells, this place is one of the fastest growing food destinations in Delhi. There are a plethora of options here for a foodie- from small stalls selling Lhaphing, fermented bamboo shoots and dried fish to restaurants serving Tibetan, Chinese, Korean, Nepali and Japanese Cuisines and lastly small pretty cafes serving beverages along with snacks and baked goodies.
You must visit Ama Cafe, Nor-Khyil Restaurant, Rigo Restaurant, Biswan Korean Restaurant and Dolma House.
5. Connaught Place
Connaught Place is the place in Delhi for food – no matter what your budget is. From fancy fine-dining restaurants to the delicious local rajma chawal, Connaught Place has food to suit everyone’s need.
With the best restaurants in the city, Connaught Place is an area that has all kinds of cuisine – local and international.
Some joints you definitely should try out are Kake Da Hotel, Parikrama, Jain Chawal Wale, and Minar. Some of the famous cafes are Open House Cafe, Local, Lord of the Drinks and The Junkyard Cafe.
Article by: Niyati Tewari
Images by: Niyati Tewari, Ghazal Abdullah