Street food is an integral part of Indian culture and has been around for centuries. Indian street food is sold by hawkers, vendors, or small shops along roadsides, railway tracks, and other busy places. Street food in India is generally inexpensive and meant to be gobbled. This means that they are usually not served with utensils and that they are consumed while standing or walking.
Many Indian street food dishes are also highly portable, making them often an ideal choice for people who need to eat while on the go. Some popular Indian street food includes Dosa, Samosa, Kachori, and Chaat. In this article, you’ll find the best Indian street food that you should try next time you visit India.
Street Food In East India
Street food in East India is well-known for its taste and the sheer variety served. From the deep-fried Kanda Poha to the traditional Bora Pitha, these foods can be found all across the country. In a region that is rich with over 500 kinds of unique street food, one can enjoy as many dishes as they want without having to worry about not finding their favorite dish.
The street food culture has been prevalent in East India for centuries due to religious beliefs where meat was considered taboo. Even though nowadays people are open to eating meat dishes as well, some cultures still prefer vegetarian cuisine because it’s healthier for them.
Dhuska is a popular Jharkhandi food and is typically eaten in the morning. It’s made with rice and lentil batter, which is fried to form delicious crisps. One of the most well-known and mouth-watering street food in India is dhuska & ghugni.
Thukpa is a traditional Tibetan noodle soup that originated in the east of Tibet. The dish is a noodle soup with meat, vegetables, and sometimes cheese. It became popular in Nepal, Bhutan, and the states of Sikkim, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. This North Indian Street food is a favorite among tourists. The soup is delicious and the warmth of it served in a bowl is incredibly satisfying!
Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Options Available
One of the most loved dishes in Kolkata, Ghugni chaat is popular street food in Bengal. Ghugni Chaat is a blend of white peas and tomatoes, with potatoes, onions, chilies, and dried spices. It is a dish that is popular in West Bengal due to its versatility. It can be eaten with naan, or as an Indian snack with some tangy and yummy toppings!
Fara is one of the most famous food in Chhattisgarh cuisine. This dish is made from rice flour and then cooked with stuffing or without that. The fried version includes chili and curry leaves.
Street Food In Western India
Western India boasts a lot of street food from all states in the Western region – like chaat from Gujarat, pav bhaji from Maharashtra, or misal pav from goa. These are all very different dishes but they have one thing in common – they are made fresh and instantly on the spot. You will not find the flavor of these dishes in restaurants.
‘Kathi’ translates to stick. The Kathi Roll has its origins in Calcutta and it is a skewer roasted kebab wrapped in a flatbread. This delicious dish will make you fall in love with it right away. The Kathi Rolls of Jaipur are famous street food in India and you can enjoy them when visiting the city. Al Bake is a restaurant in Jaipur that specializes in rolls. Their street food menu offers many varieties of Kathi and chicken rolls for customers to try.
Considered a Maharashtrian, Gujarati, and Rajasthani delicacy, Khandvi is made from a batter of ground lentils and rice. Khandvi is primarily served as an appetizer with fried green chilies, tamarind chutney, coriander-mint chutney, or other chutneys. It is yellowish in color and resembles a sheet-like look that has been rolled into bite-sized pieces. Khandvi has a tangy taste and a soft texture. This is one of the unique street food in India to try,
The Choris pav is a type of sandwich made with bread, Goan pork sausage, and chimichurri sauce. This spicy sandwich is both popular with locals as a breakfast item or evening snack. They can be found on bicycles early in the morning by vendors who carry big baskets of these sausages that are flavored with a variety of spices such as onion, black pepper, and garlic.
Vada pav, also known as ‘Indian Burger,’ is the most famous street food in India among people living in Maharashtra. Snack time is irresistible because they are so good. Vada-pav has a very strong smell that will just pull you towards it. That’s why it is so popular with people.
Street Food In North India
There’s more to India than just Chaat and Bhel Puris! The regions of Jammu, Kashmir, Leh, Ladakh, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh are beautiful hill stations but home to some really tasty street food. It is worth mentioning that there are many traditional dishes to taste in these regions but the highlight is its street food.
Street food in North India varies based on climate change, geography, population density and the lifestyle of people. These regions have been exposed to different cultures, food and customs through history which leads to a very diverse choice of delights for the taste buds. There is an extensive variety of Indian street food that one can find in North India.
Masala Tchot is a popular and delicious J&K (Jammu & Kashmir) style wrap. This dish is made by placing chickpeas and radish chutney wrapped in a soft Kashmiri bread called Lavasa. Masala Tchot can be eaten as an appetizer or a snack. This is a great choice and many people enjoy it in the streets of Kashmir. Kashmiri people also love Kulcha, and Reshmi Kebabs during Ramadan.
Kachaloo is one of the most popular street food in North India. It’s a dish that has a mix of different spices and is often served as a snack. Kachaalu Chaat is served with tamarind pulp to give it an extra tangy taste. Girdhari a place in Pacca Danga Jammu is one of the oldest shops in Jammu serving Kachaloo. But you can find handcarts serving Kachaloo Chaat in almost every nook and corner.
Skyu is one of the traditional dishes of Leh but it’s also very popular as North Indian Street Food. It is a regional dish of Ladakh, made from flour and usually cooked with water. It can make an amazing dinner with meat & vegetables.
Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Options Available
Monji Gaade is must-try street food in India for fish lovers. Fish is dipped in rice flour and gram flour batter and deep-fried to perfection. Tossed with salt, so it can get plenty of flavors and have a distinct crunch when you bite into it. A pinch of food color is also added to make your dish colorful.
Khambir is a one-pan bread that has a thick crust and is made with local whole wheat. Popular among tourists, this bread goes well with butter tea. Though butter tea is also popular in Tibet, it is a particular thing of the people of Ladakh. It’s made by boiling the tea first with salt, then adding butter to the mix. If you’re looking for something flavourful in Ladakh, this combo might just do the trick!
There is no doubt that anyone who visits Jammu and Kashmir will be drawn to the region’s favorite street food item: the Kalari Kulcha. This dish is made from dense cheese which comes from either goat or cow’s milk and is served with kulcha (a form of flatbread), vegetables, and chutneys.
Kumaoni Dal Bade
Kumaoni Dal Bade or Uttarakhandi Dal Pakoras is a popular Uttarakhand dish. These crisp, delicate, and gluten-free dal balls are made with Split Black gram. The batter is deep-fried until golden and crispy. The spices that go into the batter include cumin seeds, coriander seeds, carom seeds, red chili, sesame seeds, salt, and black pepper. This will give you a burst of flavor with each bite.
Street Food In South India
Street food is an important part of the South Indian lifestyle. It is an integral part of the culture with each state having its own signature dishes. These are commonly available at local stalls and shops, with many people selling outside their houses as well. It is a popular option for those looking for quick and affordable meals, whether locals or tourists.
In the last few decades, cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore have played a major role in shaping these regional cuisines with their own specific flavor profiles. While Karnataka has its signature Mangalore Bajji and Andhra Pradesh its distinctive Dosa and Idly, Kerala’s incomparable Parotta is arguably one of the most popular dishes in this region.
Managalore bajji is an important little snack from Karnataka, which is spiced with ginger, curry leaves, & green chilies. The batter contains sour buttermilk, which gives it a slightly tangy twist. These fried snacks go really well with the strong filter coffee of South India for a quick and delightful evening snack!
Mirchi translates to chili and bajji translates to fritters. The well known Mirchi bajji is a popular South Indian street food made by frying battered green chilies. There’s a delicious dish called ‘mirapakaya bajji’ in Andhra Pradesh, which is also known as ‘milagai bajji’ in Tamil Nadu, and ‘mirchi bhajji’ elsewhere in India.
These hot and spicy delicacies are popular street food in South India. Banana Peppers are dipped in the batter made from gram flour and are deep-fried in oil to make these bajjis. The batter can be mixed with other vegetables, like onions, potatoes, or cauliflower. These are often eaten with tamarind sauce or yogurt mixed with red chili powder and salt.
Traditionally, Sundal is a dish native to Tamil Nadu, a region of India. Sundal includes chickpeas that are cooked with coconut, tamarind, and some other spices. This dish is wrapped in leaves or paper to keep it warm and avoid making a mess. This popular Indian dish is found not just in Tamil Nadu, but all over Southern states such as Kerala and Karnataka.
These delicious, crispy samosas are my favorite street food in India, especially in Hyderabad. This Hyderabadi version of the Indian snack has a mutton keema (minced meat) filling with a spicy and unique taste. You can find them at any of the best food stands in the old city.
This may be one of the tastiest street food in India. You’ll find this snack all over Kerala. It’s pretty much ubiquitous in any city, town, or hill station of Kerala. This popular snack is mainly found at food stalls & people from Kerala love them for good reason. This snack is made by dipping ripe bananas in flour and cooking them. The crispy texture and delicious flavor make them a treat you can’t refuse to try. And a single one will never be enough!
Street Food In North East India
Street food in North East India is a famous delicacy and popular among tourists. You will be able to taste some of the best dishes when you visit this region. It’s no exaggeration to say that North East India has some of the best street food in India.
From Nagaland’s meaty pork chops, to Manipur’s khao paak tsotso (a fritter mash of fermented rice), it’s all about trying something new every time you explore this region for street food. One can find these mouth-watering street foods from Guwahati to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Tripura!
The list of street foods in India is long and delicious, but this has to be one of the more authentic flavors. Kelli chana has often been said to be named after an old woman who used to call out “Kelli chana” while selling cooked peas on a tree branch. The crispy chickpeas are mixed with various herbs to give it a fiery, spicy taste. This is traditionally served on a lotus leaf, which gives it a unique and traditional taste.
Mizo cuisine is influenced by Chinese cuisine and Mizoram’s dishes are famous for using fermented pork fat in their recipes. Koat Pitha is a Mizo snack that has made it to the top of most people’s favorite list. This is one of the many typical street foods in India to try.
Rice flour, jaggery, and bananas are all used for this crispy snack to give you a sweet and sour taste. It’s not easy to find spicy fried banana fritters in India. However, if you ever visit Mizoram, be sure to try their special zu tea with it.
This is one of the most popular dishes in Assam! It is a rice noodle soup with chicken, prawn, pork, or fish. Coconut milk and tamarind flavors are added to it. This dish is served with turmeric and ginger. It is garnished with herbs.
Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Options Available
Street Food In Central India
Central India is not just famous for its temples and historical sites. It is also about the most delectable cuisine. In the Northern part of India, street food tends to be spicier than other cuisines because it is based on Mughal Indian cuisine.
In Punjab, the most popular street food is Dahi Bhalla which is a dish made from a mix of black lentils and Indian spices that are deep-fried. It’s typically served with Indian yogurt & chutneys. It is also delicious on its own with just plain curd. It’s also known as ‘Dahi Wada’ in certain parts of the country like Haryana, Delhi, and ‘Dahi Bada’ in Madhya Pradesh. This is one of the flavourful street food in India – if you love to try tangy with a hint of spice!
Chole Bhature is an authentic Indian street food that has its origins in Punjab. The dish is composed of a spicy curry, made with a chickpea flour called Chana Masala, and boiled rice. It is often served with bhatura, which are deep-fried dough balls. This dish is found in both street food stalls and restaurants.
Chole’s flavor is incomparable and it goes well with Bhatura, which is made of refined wheat flour. If you visit Punjab, you’re not leaving without tasting the most tempting dish of Punjab – Chole Bhature.
Aloo Tikki Chaat
In Delhi, people just can’t get enough of their favorite street food – aloo tikki chaat. Take a break from exploring the local landmarks and enjoy this famous Delhi delight with your friends. Aloo tikki chaat has a crispy patty, curd, tamarind sauce, and green chutney that will make you drool.
The Tiki made up of mashed potato is fried and enhanced with aromatic spices. It is surprisingly simple and can be served with a variety of toppings. I totally recommend you try this tasty street food in India—especially if you haven’t already.
Kebabs are a favorite among people of all ages and cultures. They are served as street food, as fast food, or in restaurants. There are many varieties of kebabs and each region of India has its own specialties. Indian cuisine has been influenced by the Mughals’ rule, which introduced various new ingredients. Mughal-style cooking has a lot of influence in Bihar and non-vegetarian dishes are the most popular ones.
Kebabs are a simple dish. The skewered pieces of meat, are added with some spices and cooked on a grill until they’re done. The result is tender, moist meat that’s delicious. Not only are they delicious, but the air is filled with the aroma of cooking meat.
“Lababdar” means a strong desire of something and complete surrender to it. These Lababdar rolls are a popular Indian street food found in various regions of India. The dish is made by stuffing the curry with spices, potatoes, chicken, and other vegetables inside a roti (Indian Flatbread).
Spicy tomato gravy is cooked with a mixture of spices and onions. Some people like to add cream for an even richer taste. It’s then stuffed into the roti and rolled up. One of the most popular variations is made with paneer. The mild flavor of cottage cheese balances out the intense spices.
Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Options Available
Sampling Delicious Indian Street Food
Street food in India is a whole different ballgame. There are plenty of ‘undiscovered’ dishes in India that you should try the next time you visit. Indian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world and for good reason. Lots of locals go to India for a gastronomic tour and walk away with new favorites. If you are a foodie traveling to India, you have to try out some or all these famous street food In India!