The culinary and cultural heritage of India illustrates the harmonious blending of diverse influences over the centuries. Indian cuisine displays the genius of our culture and our people. As time has passed, with reducing distances and the hunger for taste and variety the different regions of the country have interacted with one another and influenced each other’s cuisine, flavours and fashion.
Delhi, the imperial capital for many dynasties, has drawn talent in diverse fields to seek their fortune here. The result was the city became a unique merger of multi cultures and cuisines. Its cuisine incorporated the best of Hindu-Rajput, Bania and Kayasthaas well as the Tusrkish, Afghani, Persian and Mughal influences. The interest of Mughal was so deep in their food that today Mughal cuisine is synonymous to the Indian cuisine.
Delhi has a vibrant tradition of snacks and street foods, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian and it truly is the gastronomical capital of India. The best place to have some amazing street food is Old Delhi, the famous paranthewali gali and the lanes of Dilli 6. For some extremely tasty and mouth watering non-vegetarian dishes, walk through the lanes near Jama Masjid. You will find everything from the normal aloo and gobhi to the crazy bhindi and karela to the exotic meva and rabdi filled ones. These paranthas are deep-fried in ghee for that heavenly taste. Chole bhature and jalebi with warm milk are also breakfast favourites.
Being a city of vivid heritage and people from all the states of India here and thus it has turned out to be an alloy of all the sub-cultures in India. People from different states have brought a variety of cuisines to Delhi and there’s nothing you can’t find here. So if one starts Purani Dilli or Old Delhi or what was once called Shahjahanabad, you will find a number shops selling a number of variety of dishes. Some of the streets and places are totally dedicated to these food items only.
The Gali Paranthewali, where you can find a number shops selling various kinds of paranthas, which is actually traditional Indian bread. As you go near Jama Masjid you shall see shops selling variety of non vegetarian items starting from Tandoori items and Kabobs at Karim’s to authentic Mughal sweetmeats at Ghantewala Sweet. Each lane in Purani Dilli has its own range of cuisines. If you go to Ballimaran, you have Nehari at Bismillah and authentic Afghani Pilao and Green tea at Pathanwadi.
Pandara Road Market’s famous kebabs and biryanis and Bengali Market’s sweetmeats & chaats are but a few to be mentioned where you can relish this city’s culinary specialities.
One of the favourites of Old Delhi are the Kulle an unusual chaat made by scooping out the centre of either a tomato, a banana, sweet potato or cucumber and filling it with chick peas, pomegranate seeds, spices and lemon juice, fruit sandwiches,regular tikkis, samosas, kachoris papri chaat and golgappas.
With the amalgamation of cultures over centuries, Delhi today offers an enormous variety of exquisitely prepared cuisines from all over the world – all individually suited to every type of food style preference and budget. During our tours of this city one comes across some of the best of eateries, offering truly sumptuous fare. Be it an elite boutique restaurant located in Chanakyapuri, Qutab Minar, Khan Market or Greater Kailash I & II, the highly popular restaurants around Connaught Place, Hauz Khas and Defence Colony, or the simple, yet bustling & friendly roadside ‘dhabas’, the inquisitive foodie in you will most definitely find delicacies to appeal to and tantalise your taste buds.
Although Delhi’s gastronomic fare is not characteristic of any specific, original food culture, the most popular cuisine enjoyed by Delhi-ites and visitors alike is ‘Mughlai’ Cuisine. Mughlai preparations have always been favoured in Northern India, and today is popular the world over for its distinct aromatic nuances and spicy flavourings.
If you want to have something spicier, then head for Chaat Corner near Chandini Chowk Metro Station. Rabri Faludas at Giani near Fatehpuri Masjid. Apart from it you can taste food of every state at Dilli Haat. You can also go for Continental, European and other Asian cuisines if you like. There are some of the very popular fast-food giants such as Subway and Mc. Donald’s, who have their outlets in Delhi.
For the faint hearted – when it comes to the devilish little ‘Red & Green Chili’ – please do not despair, for Delhi has attracted many, many Continental, European and Asian Master Chefs of distinction to offer friendlier morsels of perfection and familiarity for you. The flavours and textures of European cuisine have now become so popular to Delhi-ites, and other Indians, that the fusion style restaurant has also become highly in vogue.