The Aromatic Galis of Delhi

A guide to some of the best street food of Old Delhi
No matter how diverse we Indians are, there is one thing which binds us all together – our love for Indian food. And if you are one to forget about everything else – ambience, hygiene, et all, there cannot be a better experience for you than the galis of Old Delhi. After all, no fine-dining experience can beat the old world charm of the bustling streets of Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid. If you ever get a chance to visit Old Delhi, these are a few of the places you just cannot afford to miss.

Paranthe Waali Gali:

You can sense the aroma of desi ghee and exotic Indian spices from metres away. And the sight of the hot, sizzling paranthas made fresh in front of you is enough to make even the most health conscious of people go weak in the knees. Established way back in 1875, this historical gali offers all varieties of paranthas imaginable – from plain to salted to dal, aloo, gobhi and paneer to papad and even sweet! What is special about these paranthas, however, is that instead of being grilled on the tawa, they are deep fried in desi ghee or butter. “The more oil used for frying, the tastier the parantha,” says Piyush Dikshit, who currently handles the place.

Fateh Ki Kachori:

A little off Rajniwas Marg, next to the Gujarat Samaj building, Fateh ki Kachoris are legendary among the perennial residents of Delhi. And any Dilliwala would swear by the fact that you will not get kachoris like this anywhere else in the region. Why? Because unlike the usual kachoris served with chutney, Fateh tops up his kachoris with boiled chhole, mixed with a variety of spices, after which he sprinkles on them some coriander and grated ginger. To give it a final touch, the kachoris are doused with some sweet and tangy chutney. Just looking at the whole process of preparing the kachori is enough for any foodie to lose all control over his/her salivary glands. And the feeling of such eclectic tastes intermingling on your tongue is heavenly – truly one of a kind!

Bilal Hotel:

This small joint located in Jama Masjid is almost 80 years old and claims to make dishes which were favorites among Mughal emperors. Well, not quite sure of Mughal emperors but the ‘chicken fry’ and ‘chicken changezi’ are definitely hot favorites among the Delhi-ites. The large chunks of chicken in piping hot spicy gravy, served with roomali roti are any non-veg lovers’ delight. The specialty of this place is the Chicken Changezi, made in rich gravy of garam masala, cream and dry fruits like pistachio and cashew-nuts. No wonder it was a favorite among the emperors!

G.S. Biryani:

Hands down the best biryani served in Delhi – guaranteed, served hot with gravy of your choice. Among the options available are the classic, traditional Mutton Nahari, Mutton Korma and Chicken Pasanda. The Nahari, especially is a must try, made with garam masala and kesar, a taste so unique, it will leave you licking your fingers clean!

Neehar Mishra