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Delhi’s food & drink

  • Delhi, India

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 07 April, 2024

Thanks largely to its luxury hotels, Delhi’s food scene is as varied and cosmopolitan as you’ll find anywhere in India.

North Indian cuisine – Punjabi in particular – is ubiquitous in Delhi. Typically dominated by rich meat and vegetable dishes using clarified butter, or ghee, as a base for their sauces, they’re accompanied by a range of leavened and unleavened breads such as chapatis, rotis and naan. A healthier option is meat cooked in a clay oven, or tandoor, with its distinctive spices and flavour.

Carnivores might also embrace ‘frontier (as in the Northwest Frontier of present-day Pakistan) cuisine’ with its simple rustic style and predominance of tandoor-cooked kebabs.

Chaat, or savoury snacks, are served from an array of hand carts, stalls and eateries across the city. This ever-popular tasty ‘street food’ typically encompasses combinations of potatoes, dal, chickpeas and fried dough garnished with onions, spices, curd and sauces. Perhaps the only downside is that delicate stomachs might struggle with the hygiene.

What to try

Chole bhature – spiced chickpeas and puffed fried ‘pancakes’ – is a ubiquitous street-food breakfast. Punjabi specialities like butter chicken and dal makhani are very popular.

Be sure to try ‘frontier (as in Northwest Frontier) cuisine’ in high-end restaurants – standout dishes include murg peshawari (chicken in gravy), dal bukhara and sikandari raan (leg of mutton or lamb).

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Many of Delhi’s best restaurants are in the luxury hotels, though there’s a scattering of options elsewhere – notably on Connaught Place and the shopping enclaves in South Delhi, including Hauz Khas, Khan Market and Greater Kailash.

Street food abounds across Old Delhi in particular, particularly on Chandni Chowk, though for those of a delicate disposition hygiene might be an issue. In general, basic but busy eateries are probably a safer bet. Avoid food that looks like it’s been sitting around for long and possibly unwashed items (such as salads); ice is a no-no.

Stand-alone pubs and bars close before midnight, so much of the action centres around top hotels in polite bars.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Old Delhi Street Food Tour

  • New Delhi

Each region of India has its unique street food and Delhi is no exception. Visit our favorite vendors in Old Delhi and try the local specialties chole bature, dahi bhalla and aloo chat, as well as parathas, lassi and the very sweet but delicious jalebis and the local equivalent of rice pudding and bread and butter pudding. All of these dishes are vegetarian but meat eaters will have the option to try Indian fried chicken in the buzzing Matia Mahal neighbourhood towards the end of the tour. In addition to sampling the best of Old Delhi’s street food, we will also do some sightseeing as we explore the largest spice market in Asia, take a stroll along Chandni Chowk and stop to admire the imposing Jama Masjid. We will absorb the hustle and bustle of the narrow streets as we visit different locations by rickshaw.

Price ₹3,600

Min age 3

Rating 4.88 / 5 [302 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Half-Day Tour in Delhi: Local Food Walking Adventure

  • New Delhi

Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this Lonely Planet Experience powered by Urban Adventures. Experience Delhi’s culture through its cuisine on this food walking tour with a friendly, knowledgeable guide. Join the local foodie crowd as you explore the busy streets of Kamla Nagar, stopping at several food stalls to indulge in yummy local snacks. Complete your local experience with a fun rickshaw ride! Highlights - Indulge in some of Delhi’s best local food, including shawarma, and kulfi-falooda -Tantalise your tastebuds with some non-alcoholic fruit beer. - Explore the busy streets of Delhi and their famous street food stalls. - Experience traditional local transportation on a cycle rickshaw ride. - Mingle with locals at markets, restaurants, shops, and food stalls.

Price $36

Min age 0

Rating 4.92 / 5 [169 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Old Delhi Food Tour

  • New Delhi

Take to the lively streets of Old Delhi on this delightful food tour with a chance to spoil your taste buds with some of the best street food from the city's oldest food places. Taste 14-16 different food dishes from 7 to 9 different food spots which have been in business for decades - some for even more than 100 years - and taste some local culinary favorites. You will have a chance to ride rickshaws and visit old markets and streets such as the Spice Market, Chawari, Bazar, Chandani Chowk as well.

Price $70

Min age 5

Rating 4.85 / 5 [78 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Delhi Food Tour : Best Way To Experience Authentic Indian Food

  • New Delhi

This food tour of Old Delhi and New Delhi is a great way to explore the cuisines and sights of both parts of Delhi city in one delicious package. In this food tour, we will cover all the major culinary attractions of Old Delhi as well as New Delhi along with visits to a few landmarks of the city. The culinary part consists of 18-25 carefully selected food items from 11-14 different food joints located in different parts of the city and can be customised to suit dietary preferences of most participants. Many of the food shops have been in business for 100+ years and serve authentic Indian food as it's meant to be served. In this food tour, you not just enjoy good food, but some lesser known sights of New Delhi and Old Delhi both. Transport involves foot, car and rickshaw in different parts of the city.

Price $85

Min age 5

Rating 4.94 / 5 [76 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Afternoon Half-Day Tour of Old Delhi Street Food with a Local Guide

  • New Delhi

Sample the street food snacks of Old Delhi and visit historic attractions such as the Jama Masjid mosque and Gurudwara temple. End with a rickshaw ride around Old Delhi.

Price $75

Min age 0

Rating 4.7 / 5 [30 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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