Indian food is hard to beat. From Masala Dosa, to Thali, and Butter Chicken, it’s all mouth watering good. The street food is equally as delicious, but just a fraction of the cost. It’s also fast and convenient. However, if you are a westernized foreigner visiting India for the first time, you should proceed carefully. Indians don’t have any sanitation standards for their street carts. They don’t wear rubber gloves. Hell, they probably don’t even wash their hands. So, if you have a tender stomach I suggest you avoid Indian street food, but if you’re ready to indulge in some serious India treats, these are six yummy Indian street foods you simply must try.
Samosa is my new favorite Indian street food, and it costs only 10 rupees! That’s about twenty cents in USD. Samosa is a crispy deep fried snack with a flaky outer crust. Inside is a rich spicy filling of mashed potatoes and peas. It is usually served with a sweet and spicy sauce that reminds me a little of chutney.
There are a number of variation’s on the fried potato snack. Sometimes it’s sweet potatoes and other times it’s just regular potatoes. Often it is a patty that is fried on both sides and then cut up, other times it is little wedges of potatoes. They top it off with spices, salt, and some kind of green tangy sauce that is to die for.
If you love spicy food, you’ll go crazy over chole kulche. Chole kulche is primarily a northern Indian street food made popular in new Delhi. Boiled chickpeas are piled on top of white flat bread and then garnished with onions, tomatoes, spices, and a squeeze of lime. It might look like a mess, but it taste delicious!
Now that we’ve covered the entrée it’s time for dessert, and my favorite is warm butter cookies. They taste kind of like a fresh sugar cookie in the U.S. They are small, flaky, and not too sweet. They serve them in newspaper and you usually get about ten of them for around 40 rupees. They are perfect to share with a friend why wandering through all the little shops.
Sugar Cane Juice
The Indians have a machine, sort of like a cider press, that squeezes the juice out of the raw sugar cane. They then add a little lemon or masala seasoning to kick it up a notch. I like mine without masala. I prefer it plain. It’s sweet and tangy and gives you a great sugar buzz.
If you’re ever in India you must have a street side chai tea. They just call it tea, and it’s amazing. It’s made with fresh cardamom right out of the pods. They also typically use cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Sometimes they toss in a few black peppercorns. Everyone has their own secret recipe, so it’s worth going to a few different tea stalls to compare. They serve it in little tiny paper pixie cups or little glass drinking glasses. Be careful to hold it at the top or you will burn yourself. I don’t know why the Indian people don’t use coffee cups for chai. I guess it’s just not their tradition.
There are so many great street foods to try in India, and each state and region has their own dishes and variations. South Indian street food will be much different than most of these because these are primarily northern Indian foods. Regardless, you’ll be in foody heaven and undoubtedly gorge yourself to the point of discomfort, but it’s worth it.