20 Most Popular Street Foods of India
India offers its very own street food to tourists and locals alike. States and regions specialize in some of the other street food delicacies, and the sheer variety of street food you get in India will amaze you. So below are the 20 most popular street foods of India that are worth trying at least once in lifetime:
You will never miss a Pav bhaji stall in major cities of India. It is the quintessential street food dish that every Indian recognizes in an instant. Its origins are vague, and tracing its history is not so easy, yet the satisfaction that a Pav Bhaji gives is no match for any street food of India. Pav Bhaji is as tempting in its preparation as it is in eating. Streetside vendors mashing a fiery red mixture on a hot Tawa is a familiar sight. Pav Bhaji is a mixture of mashed veggies and spices, served with buttery Pav (soft bread), onion rings, and lemon. Pav Bhaji comes in so many varieties like Paneer Pav Bhaji, Cheese Pav Bhaji, etc.
If you are in Mumbai, you will hardly walk on a street that doesn’t have a Vada pav stall. Vada Pav is the most famous and most sought-after street food in Mumbai. Ever since someone came up with the idea of tucking in a flavorful and spicy mixture of boiled and deep-fried potato dumplings in the middle of a pav (soft bread), this humble Vada Pav has become the essential go-to food for people in Mumbai. It is usually served with green chilies, garlic chutney, dry peanut chutney. Vada Pav goes perfectly with a cup of hot tea. Vada Pav is quick to make, ready to eat when traveling, and tasty at the same time.
The eternal favorite North Indian street food, Aloo Tikki is nothing but mashed potatoes mixed with spices and shallow fried to make them crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. They taste best with tamarind or mint chutneys. The combination of aloo tikkis with tangy and sweet chutneys is just perfect for a quick and light meal. Aloo Tikki can be had at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You will find Aloo Tikki stalls in most cities in North India, and when you feel hunger there is nothing better than Aloo Tikki.
Nothing packs in so many flavors as Pani Puri, the super delicious street food of India. Pani Puri is a type of chaat, and like other chaat varieties, the flavors and varieties that you get in Pani Puri have no match for any other street food. You get to taste so many flavors at the same time when you dig in on a plate of Pani Puri – tangy, sweet, spicy. Liquid chutneys are the main ingredient in a Pani Puri, and these days, you get so many other types of chutneys like garlic, mint, dried mango, orange juice, guava, ginger, etc. But the inside of Pani Puri is no less tasty, with its filling of boiled mashed potatoes inside a puffed ball of fried dough.
The humble Dosa can be seen everywhere across India, and especially, in South Indian states and in most metropolitan cities. It is the most popular Indian street food made of rice batter pancake. The most amazing thing about Dosa is that it is served with so many chutneys such as coconut chutney, tomato chutney, peanut chutney, etc. Dosa has so many varieties such as Masala Dosa, Paper Dosa, Cheese Dosa, Neer Dosa, Adai Dosa, and so many others. When topped with ghee, Dosa becomes even more delicious.
Litti Chokha is a street food typical of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Litti Chokha is actually made of Litti (roasted balls of whole wheat flour + herbs) and chokha (spiced mashed potatoes, tomatoes, or brinjal). A generous addition of ghee makes Litti Chokha even more delicious. You will find street-side stalls offering Litti Chokha in Patna, and other parts of Bihar and Jharkhand. It is the most famous street food that can be had any time of day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and is a complete meal in itself. Almost all of India knows about Litti Chokha and it resembles the Daal Baati Churma of Rajasthan in many aspects.
The best thing about this street food of India is that it can be had any time of the day, and another famous street food that is popular all over India is Mirchi Bhajji. It is also called Mirchi Bada in Rajasthan and Mirchi Bhajji in Hyderabad. All across Rajasthan cities, you will find restaurants, food joints, street food vendors offering this spicy street food. Mirchi Bhajji is a fried green chili dipped in gram flour batter, split and deseeded, and filled with a mixture of chickpeas, spiced potatoes, and herbs. It goes best with tea and is a favorite evening snack to have when you are visiting Bangalore, Hyderabad, or Rajasthan.
If you happen to visit Varanasi during winter, then you must eat Malaiyo. This is the most amazing street food that you will ever come across. Malaiyo is essentially a sweet made of milk froth, topped with saffron milk and dry fruits. It is served in an earthen pot called kulhad. The most interesting fact about Malaiyo is its preparation, and the fresh morning dew is used to make the milk and then churned to make it fluffy. It may seem to be a heavy thing to eat, but Malaiyo is amazingly light on the stomach and incredibly flavorful and sweet.
Though Dabeli comes from the Kutch region of Gujarat, it has now become one of the most famous street foods of India. Needless to say, you will find Dabeli stalls across the whole of Gujarat cities like Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Vadodara, etc. But its appeal has crossed the borders of Gujarat and you will now find street food vendors in metro cities like Mumbai, Pune, etc. offering this mouth-watering street food delicacy of Gujarat. Dabeli resembles Vada pav of Mumbai but is vastly different. It has a spiced mixture of potatoes and special dabeli masala served with ladi pav and garnished with a generous sprinkling of pomegranates and spices peanuts.
Momos add that extra bit of variety to the street foods of India. Momos are typically Tibetan street food, but their simplicity and flavors have caught the tastes of people all over India. Momos are normally steamed dumplings with a variety of fillings and come in both, veg and non-veg varieties. Momos is a winter delicacy, and north Indian cities like Delhi are popular for offering Momos as street food. The amazing thing about Momos is that it has developed in many forms like fried momos, tandoori momo, fish momo, cheese momo, etc. Its variety has made Momos the most famous street food across India. You will find Momos sold in fast food centers, street food vendors, restaurants in cities across India.
Madhya Pradesh has its very own taste of Indian street food called Poha Jalebi. Flattened rice called Poha when had with Jalebi makes a sweet-salty combination that titillates your taste buds. This street food is particularly famous in Indore and Bhopal. It has no extraordinary flavors except those that come from basic spices and the sweetness of the Jalebi, but what makes this combination so appealing is its ingenious combination. The poha jalebi normally is a breakfast dish, but it is so light on the stomach that people have it even as a snack in the evenings with their daily cup of chai.
If Mumbai has its Bhel Puri, then Kolkata has its Jhal Muri. But there is a huge difference in taste, the ingredients that go in them, and the way it is served. The basic difference is the use of mustard oil in Jhal Muri, whereas no oil is used in Bhel Puri. Jhal Muri is a typical Bengali street food that you will find in many places in Kolkata and other cities of West Bengal. Even in cities like Mumbai, Jhal Muri has caught up with people, who prefer its spicy taste to the tangy Bhel Puri. Jhal Muri is a mixture of flattened rice, peanuts, fried lentils, chopped onions, tomatoes, green chilies, and many other ingredients that make it a spicy blend of street food. This lip-smacking street food is normally a quick snack, and the use of spices and herbs makes it so appealing in taste.
Choley Bhature & Lassi
North Indians love their Chole Bhature like anything. It is a whole meal in itself and among the best street foods dishes in India. North Indians prefer it for breakfast, but people also have it for dinner. Chole Bhature is made of chole (boiled and spiced chickpeas) and Bhature (huge fluffy puris). Its aroma is enough to entice and draw people to try it, and its appeal is so huge, that even its look and presentation casts a spell on diners. Huge fluffy puris and piping hot chole have flavors that are so aromatic and so tempting to the taste buds that no one can resist it. Delhi, Amritsar, cities of Punjab, and cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and other cities are popular places to try Chole Bhature. Chole Bhature and Lassi is a heavenly combination to try out.
In Karnataka, Akki Roti is the most popular Indian street foods dishes and you will see it in every food corner, restaurant, and roadside stall. Akki Roti is a breakfast item, and is prepared with rice flour and served with chutneys. It is a quick snack that people prefer to have before traveling. You will find Akki Roti in many parts of Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka. Have it with coffee and it tastes even better.
Although Kathi Roll is one of the famous street foods in India, you should visit Kolkata to try it in its original form. Kathi Roll is made with an outer layer of paratha and an inner filling of grilled kebabs served with green chutney. Over time, many variants started to make their presence, and now you have fillings such as meats, eggs, veggies, chicken, and mutton. Chefs even make their own versions like the barbecued Kathi roll, mayonnaise, hummus, Schezwan, etc.
Rajasthan has offered such mind-boggling varieties of street foods in India that a visit to Rajasthan solely for tasting its food has become a new sort of fashion for people. And when you mention Rajasthan, Kachori instantly comes to mind. Bikaner is famous for its Kachori, and the Bikaneri Kachori oozes aromas and flavors that are simply irresistible to the taste buds. The Kachori is crisp on the outside, without a drop of oil, and there is no filling as such, but the kachoris themselves are made with spices. It feels a little heavy, but one bite with chutneys is enough to justify the role of Kachoris as the most famous street food of Rajasthan.
Among the best street foods of Lucknow India, Tundey Kebabs are the most famous street food delicacy. You will find roadside food vendors offering Tundey Kebabs and restaurants to make it a point to include them in their menu. Tundey Kebabs are also called Galouti Kebabs and the meats used in the kebabs are so soft and tender that even a man can chew them without having to grind the meats.
There is hardly a person who has not heard about Idli Sambar. The soft and fluffy idlis are made with rice batter and the sambar is made of lentils. Idlis are dipped in the sambar to make them juicier and soak the flavors of the sambar in its body. It is the most famous Indian street foods dishes and is best to have with chutneys.
Nagori Halwa & Badami Puri
The fluffy Badami Puri when eaten with Nagori Halwa makes a winning combination. It makes one of the most tasteful and famous street foods in India. It is popular in North Indian cities like Haridwar, Delhi. The Badami Puri is a deep-fried preparation made with maida, urad dal, with many spices. Halwa is made of ghee and semolina and goes well with the Badami Puri.
India’s very own answer to the ice cream, you can call Falooda Kulfi as the most delicious street food in India. In every city, you will find restaurants and streetside shops selling Falooda Kulfi. It is nothing but sweetened milk topped with a kulfi and sprinkled with dry fruits, jelly cubes, and fruit essences. It is like having a piece of heaven.
What’s next waiting for you?
Now you got a whole list of popular dishes in street foods of India, you can go ahead and taste them. If you are lucky then makers of these dishes will also like to share with you recipes of Indian street food so make sure you take some notes from the chefs. If you are looking for some other travel food guides then don’t forget to check our other popular food blogs.