Indians are the quintessential foodies. No one loves binging like we do. How often do we say, “Bhaiyya kuch chatpata lana”. While haute cuisine and fine dining has its own place, nothing, simply nothing can diminish the sheer pleasure of eating something from the streets. Why go to a 5-star when you can literally have the world on your platter right on the street. I’m sure you’ll all agree that nothing beats Indian street food. So paying a tribute to our beloved culinary delicacies from the galis, here’s my top 10 Indian street food:
Vada Pav/Samosa: Being a Mumbaikar through and through, I can survive on Vada pav. Literally. There’s nothing quite like that first bite of a steaming hot vada pav. Add to that some fried mirchis and you are literally in culinary heaven. Samosa is another favourite whether it is samosa pav or samosa chole. It has even featured on an Phineas and Ferb episode about Baljeet (that nerdy Indian guy). Imagine my pride and joy at seeing this loved piece of food on American television.
Chaat: Bhel Puri, pani puri, sev puri, dahi puri, papdi chaat, gol gappe… These are the most commonly shouted words in every nook and cranny of India. “Bhaiyya zara teekha zyada daalna”, “Papdi aur do na”, “Hari chutney zyada”. When haven’t we said all these to our chat vala bhaiyya. Nothing shouts out ‘India’ like a good pani puri stall. Chaats have become synonymous with India.
Tea: Chai cutting chai!! The one thing we can thank the British for is introducing us to tea. No day is complete without a cup of our favourite cutting. Leave the black coffee and espresso to the Americans. We have our garma garam chai. Throw in some crisp Marie biscuits and you are sorted.
Chinese food: Or should I say chiness? Or Chineese? Or Chinase? They may not get the spelling right, but they are bang on right about what pleases our taste buds. Just the aroma of those noodles being stirred in the wok and the soya sauce and ajinomoto is enough to make your mouth water. Then there are the Momos. A personal favourite of mine, I never fail to have one plate of momos each week from my favourite momo stall round the corner.
Pakodas/Bhajjia: What goes best with a rainy day? Some sizzling hot pakodas and bhajjia. Whether it be paneer pakoda, aaloo pakoda, pyaaz pakoda or mirchi pakoda, we will devour everything. Want to please your girl but don’t have the bucks? Chill! Just buy some pakodas and become the man of her dreams.
Idli/Dosa: We have taken these South Indian dishes and made them totally national. Wherever you go in India, a guy shouting “Masala Dosa, Rava Dosa, Mysore Dosa, Paper Dosa, Uttapam, Rava Uttapam, Idli Smabar, Vada Sambar” at the top of his voice in record time, won’t be far. You’ll be tempted to measure his speed with a stopwatch. But don’t waste your time there, go and eat the delectable treats he’s selling.
Parathas: Who doesn’t miss those mummy ke haath ka parathas. Remedy- have some at the nearest paratha stall, most definitely found outside colleges and offices. Don’t forget to say “Thoda makhan maarke dena”. Some fresh curd and ‘aachar’ to go with it is an added bonus .
Gola/ Ice soda: Coke and Pepsi be damned, nothing tops some cold kalakhatta to quench the thirst. The crushed ice and the vibrant myriad of colours is an absolute favourite in summertime. Add some trusted chat masala and you are good to go, rejuvenated to take on the world.
Kulfi: Move over Baksin Robbins, Haagen Dazs and make way for our favourite Kulfiwala. Because nothing, I repeat, nothing can beat our gali ki kulfi! That creamy, melt in your mouth, scrumptiousness is totally unique to Kulfi. Throw in some Falooda and it’s nothing short of pure bliss!
Kebabs: Last but definitely not the least, a little something to please our more omnivorous friends- Kebabs! Being a non-vegetarian myself, I can vouch for the sheer delectableness of these mouth-watering delights. Just the sight of those kebabs and tikkas skewered on the seekhs is enough to make any person forget navratri and shravan and mangalvar ka upvas and dig in to your hearts content.
So the hit the streets fellows. Have kuch sasta, kuch chatpata! 🙂