If you dream of an unforgettable trip to India that won’t break the bank, prepare for a mouthwatering journey through the vibrant world of Indian street food.
I made a big mistake in my first year of traveling around India, which was to avoid all street food. I thought it was too risky. But now, more than 3 years later, and having tried street food in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and many more, I’ve come to see the light. Street food is delicious and can be low-risk for tourists — if you know what you’re doing.
Here are the 15 best street foods in India:
- Pani Puri (Gol Gappa/Puchka)
- Vada Pav
- Pav Bhaji
- Dahi Puri
- Bhel Puri
- Aloo Tikki
- Chole Bhature
- Aloo Chaat
- Ragda Pattice
- Chana Chaat
- Sev Puri
But India has such diversity you can find 35 more dishes found in North, South, East, West, & Central India. I’ll also cover sweet desserts and street drinks.
So, buckle up and prepare for a mouthwatering journey as I take you on a tour of 50 delectable street foods from every corner of incredible India!
Planning a trip to India at some point? Check out my free ebook to help you save time and money, and avoid headaches. After +4 years in India, I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and this guide shares what I’ve learned so you can have a smoother trip.
Top 50 Street Foods in India
1. Pani Puri (Gol Gappa/Puchka)
Oh, where do I even begin with this delightful snack? Pani Puri is a crowd-pleaser loved all over India, but each region puts its unique twist on it. It’s essentially hollow, crispy puris filled with spicy, tangy tamarind water, chickpeas, potatoes, and savory spices. You’ll find a spicy version in Delhi, while Mumbai serves it with a sweet and tangy touch.
Pro Tip: For an adventurous twist, try “Pani Puri Shots” in Bengaluru, where vendors serve these little flavor bombs in test tubes.
Read more: What is real Indian food? Another big list of delicious dishes!
2. Vada Pav
A true street food icon in Mumbai, Vada Pav is often called the Indian burger. It’s a simple yet flavorful combination of a deep-fried potato patty (vada) sandwiched in a soft bun (pav) with spicy chutneys and a sprinkle of masala. The burst of flavors in every bite is pure bliss.
Pro Tip: For the best Vada Pav in Mumbai, head to Ashok Vada Pav near Kirti College. It’s been serving up this deliciousness for generations.
3. Pav Bhaji
Mumbai takes the spotlight again with its famed Pav Bhaji, a mouthwatering medley of mashed vegetables cooked with spices and loads of butter, served with buttery pav bread. The sizzling-hot bhaji and fluffy pav combo is an explosion of taste.
Pro Tip: For a twist on the classic, try Cheese Pav Bhaji at Sardar Refreshments in Mumbai. Your taste buds will thank you.
Read more: Why Does Indian Food Make You So Gassy?
4. Dahi Puri
This refreshing snack is popular across India, especially during scorching summers. Dahi Puri consists of crispy puris filled with a mix of tangy tamarind chutney, potatoes, chickpeas, and spiced yogurt. The blend of textures and flavors will leave you craving more.
Pro Tip: Indulge in Dahi Puri at Elco Market in Mumbai; their version is renowned for its perfect balance of sweet and tangy.
5. Bhel Puri
A beloved street food staple, Bhel Puri, is a medley of puffed rice, sev (crunchy noodles), chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and tangy tamarind chutney. It’s an explosion of sweet, sour, and spicy in every bite.
Pro Tip: Experience the best Bhel Puri at Kailash Parbat in Mumbai, where this iconic dish has been perfected over decades.
6. Aloo Tikki
Craving something crispy and savory? Aloo Tikki is the answer! These golden potato patties are spiced to perfection and served with mint chutney and sweet tamarind sauce.
Pro Tip: Sample the Aloo Tikki Chaat at Natraj Chaat Corner in Delhi; it’s been a hit since 1940!
7. Chole Bhature
In the northern region, especially in Delhi and Punjab, you cannot miss the delightful Chole Bhature. Soft, fluffy bhature (deep-fried bread) are paired with spicy and tangy chickpea curry (chole) for a soul-satisfying combination.
Pro Tip: Head to Sita Ram Diwan Chand in Delhi for one of the best Chole Bhature experiences in the city.
A street food classic that has won hearts worldwide! Samosas are crispy triangular pastries stuffed with spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes minced meat. They are perfect for a quick, savory snack.
Pro Tip: For authentic taste, try the legendary Samosas at Shree Krishna Samosa in Jaipur.
No Indian street food journey is complete without indulging in Jalebi. These golden, coiled sweets are made by deep-frying pretzel-like batter, then soaking them in sugar syrup, resulting in a heavenly treat.
Be sure to try them when their hot. I walked the night markets in Paharganj and had one that was hot out of the fryer and it was far and away the best I’ve had.
Pro Tip: For the best Jalebis, visit Jalebiwala in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, where they’ve been mastering this art since 1884.
10. Aloo Chaat
Craving a chatpata (spicy and tangy) snack? Aloo Chaat to the rescue! This popular street food features crispy fried potatoes seasoned with tangy chutneys, spices, and a burst of lime.
Pro Tip: In Delhi, head to the famous Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala in Chandni Chowk for their lip-smacking Aloo Chaat.
A native of Gujarat, Dabeli is a delightful street food burger. It consists of a spiced potato filling tucked inside a pav bun, along with pomegranate seeds, peanuts, and a medley of chutneys.
Pro Tip: Sample the best Dabeli at Kutchi King in Ahmedabad, where this snack has a cult following.
12. Ragda Pattice
Popular in Mumbai, Ragda Pattice is a delightful combination of spicy potato patties (pattice) served with a flavorful white peas curry (ragda) and chutneys.
Pro Tip: Head to Ghatkopar Khau Galli in Mumbai for an array of tantalizing Ragda Pattice options.
Kachori is a deep-fried snack made of flaky pastry filled with spicy lentils or pea stuffing. This crispy treat is perfect for satisfying mid-day hunger pangs.
Pro Tip: In Jaipur, Rawat Mishthan Bhandar is the go-to place for mouthwatering Pyaaz Kachori.
14. Chana Chaat
A popular street food snack all over India, Chana Chaat is made from boiled chickpeas mixed with chopped onions, tomatoes, chilies, and tangy chutneys.
Pro Tip: Savor the delicious Chana Chaat at Chaat Gali, Khau Galli in Mumbai.
15. Sev Puri
A cousin of Bhel Puri, Sev Puri is a delightful dish made with crispy puris topped with mashed potatoes, onions, chutneys, and a generous sprinkle of sev (crunchy chickpea noodles).
Pro Tip: For a Sev Puri extravaganza, head to Elco Pani Puri Centre in Mumbai.
Hungry for more? Don’t worry; there’s plenty more street food to explore in India! Keep an eye out for more, where I’ll take you through North, South, East, West, and Central India flavors. Until then, keep your taste buds on standby and continue your gastronomic adventure through the vibrant streets of India!
Best Street Foods from North India
16. Chole Kulche
Hailing from the streets of Delhi and Punjab, Chole Kulche is a heavenly combination of spicy chickpeas (chole) served with soft and buttery kulcha bread.
Pro Tip: The Amrtisar Kulche is a popular variation and one of my favorites in the city of the Golden Temple. However, it’s almost as good as the Chur Chur Kulche, which is similar but crushed up and covered in butter. Exercise is needed afterwards, if you can stand 🙂
Originally from the mountainous regions of the North-East, Momos have become a street food sensation all over India. These steamed or fried dumplings are filled with various fillings, such as vegetables, chicken, or mutton.
Pro Tip: If you find yourself in the bustling market of Ladka, head to any people sitting with freshly made momos to taste.
18. Aloo Paratha
A breakfast favorite across North India, Aloo Paratha is a delightful whole wheat flatbread stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes.
I had an amazing one in the mountains of Kashmir in Sonamarg. Surrounded by snowcapped peaks we waited for the highway to open and watched bikers prep for the popular trip through the highest points in India.
Pro Tip: For an authentic taste, head to Parathe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, and indulge in the mouthwatering Aloo Parathas.
19. Ram Ladoo
Craving something crispy and unique? Ram Ladoo is a popular snack in Delhi, made from deep-fried lentil fritters topped with grated radish, chutneys, and spices.
Pro Tip: For an authentic Ram Ladoo experience, visit the bustling Chandni Chowk in Delhi, where numerous vendors serve this snack.
20. Papri Chaat
Hailing from the streets of Delhi, Papri Chaat is a delightful melange of crispy papris, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt, and a medley of chutneys.
Pro Tip: Indulge in the best Papri Chaat at Bengali Market in Delhi, where several vendors serve this delightful snack.
21. Bedmi Puri with Aloo Sabzi
A popular breakfast choice in North India, Bedmi Puri is a type of puri made from ground lentils and spices, served with spicy potato curry (aloo sabzi).
Pro Tip: For an authentic Bedmi Puri experience, head to Shyam Sweets in Delhi, a renowned spot serving delicious Bedmi Puris since 1920.
Bonus: Golgappa (Pani Puri)
We can’t miss mentioning the beloved Golgappa, known as Pani Puri in some regions. These crispy puris are filled with a mixture of spicy, tangy tamarind water, chickpeas, potatoes, and savory spices.
Pro Tip: Explore the streets of Jaipur for the famous Pyaaz Kachori and indulge in Golgappas at Rawat Mishthan Bhandar.
Bonus: Chole Bhature
We’ve covered Chole Bhature before, but it deserves a second mention! Soft and fluffy bhature served with spicy, tangy chickpea curry (chole) is a street food delight.
Pro Tip: For a memorable Chole Bhature experience in Amritsar, head to Kesar Da Dhaba, a legendary eatery dating back to 1916.
Of course, outside of India, not as many people have experienced the delights of South Indian cuisine, and Indians love it. They’re keeping it for themselves. Since I spent more than 4 years in South India, it is some of the best food on the planet. Let’s dive into more savory details!
Best Street Foods from South India
22. Idli Sambar
Get your day off to a fantastic start with the quintessential South Indian breakfast – Idli Sambar. Soft, fluffy, steamed rice cakes (idlis) are served with a flavorful lentil-based vegetable stew (sambar) and coconut chutney.
Pro Tip: For the best Idli Sambar experience, visit Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) in Bengaluru, a legendary eatery that has been dishing out deliciousness since 1924.
23. Masala Dosa
Hailed as the king of South Indian breakfasts, Masala Dosa is a thin, crispy crepe made from fermented rice and lentil batter, filled with a spiced potato mixture.
Pro Tip: To enjoy the iconic Masala Dosa, head to Mylari in Mysuru, a hidden gem known for its buttery and flavorful dosas.
Vada, or medu vada, is a beloved South Indian snack that resembles a savory doughnut. It’s made from a combination of ground lentils, spices, and deep-fried to perfection.
Pro Tip: If you find yourself in Chennai, try the traditional Vada at Murugan Idli Shop; their crispy vadas are renowned.
Paniyaram is a delightful South Indian delicacy made from fermented rice and lentil batter, similar to idli batter. The batter is poured into a special mold and cooked to create delicious, fluffy dumplings.
Pro Tip: For a unique twist on Paniyaram, visit Paniyaram Street in Chennai, where you can choose from a variety of sweet and savory fillings.
Craving a crispy, deep-fried snack? Bonda is the answer! These golden fritters are made from spiced mashed potatoes coated in chickpea flour batter.
Pro Tip: Sample the best Bondas at Sri Krishna Cafe in Pondicherry, a beloved spot for locals and travelers alike.
26. Egg Bajji
Egg Bajji, also known as egg pakora, is a popular street food snack in South India. Hard-boiled eggs are coated in a spiced gram flour batter and deep-fried to perfection.
Pro Tip: For a memorable Egg Bajji experience, head to Vasudev Adigas in Bengaluru, where you’ll find these crispy treats.
27. Mirchi Bajji
Looking to add some spice to your life? Mirchi Bajji is the way to go! Long green chilies are coated in a spicy gram flour batter and deep-fried until golden and crunchy.
Pro Tip: In Hyderabad, stroll through the bustling streets of Charminar and enjoy the best Mirchi Bajji from local vendors.
*We’ve just scratched the surface of South Indian street food wonders. Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll uncover the mouthwatering delights of East India. Trust me; you don’t want to miss it!*
Best Street Foods from East India
Let’s explore the lip-smacking street foods from the eastern regions of India. Get your taste buds ready for a burst of flavors and spices!
28. Egg Roll (Kathi Roll)
Originating in Kolkata, the Egg Roll, also known as Kathi Roll, is a mouthwatering street food delight. Flaky parathas are filled with scrambled eggs, onions, chilies, and a dash of tangy sauce.
Pro Tip: For an authentic Kathi Roll experience, head to Nizam’s in Kolkata, a place renowned for popularizing this culinary gem.
29. Ghugni Chaat
A popular street food from West Bengal, Ghugni Chaat is made from dried yellow peas cooked with spices, served with chopped onions, tomatoes, and green chilies.
Pro Tip: Indulge in the best Ghugni Chaat at Ganesh Ghugni Wala in Kolkata; it’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
30. Chhena Poda
Hailing from Odisha, Chhena Poda is a must-try dessert. It’s a sweet delicacy made from fresh cottage cheese (chhena), sugar, cardamom, and nuts, baked to caramelized perfection.
Pro Tip: Visit Pahala in Odisha, known as the land of Chhena Poda, where you can savor this delightful treat from various local sweet shops.
31. Litti Chokha
Litti Chokha is a rustic and flavorsome dish popular in Bihar and Jharkhand. Litti, a wheat-based round bread, is served with a spicy mix of mashed vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Pro Tip: For an authentic Litti Chokha experience, explore the streets of Patna, where you’ll find numerous vendors serving this regional favorite.
Bonus: Phuchka (Pani Puri)
In the eastern states of India, Phuchka is the name for what’s commonly known as Pani Puri in other regions. These crispy, hollow puris are filled with spicy tamarind water, mashed potatoes, and chickpeas.
Pro Tip: Head to Kolkata, where you’ll find some of the most flavorful Phuchkas, especially at Vivekananda Park and Vardaan Market.
Phew! We’ve had quite a gastronomic adventure through the eastern delights of India. But hold on tight; we’re not done yet! In the next section, we’ll be journeying to the western regions to explore more street food treasures. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!
Best Street Foods from West India
32. Misal Pav
From the vibrant streets of Maharashtra comes Misal Pav, a spicy and flavorful curry made from mixed sprouts, garnished with crispy farsan, chopped onions, and served with buttery pav bread.
Pro Tip: Experience the best Misal Pav at Mamledar Misal in Thane, Mumbai; their fiery version is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
33. Sabudana Vada
A favorite during fasting days, Sabudana Vada is a delightful snack made from soaked tapioca pearls, mashed potatoes, and spices, deep-fried until golden and crispy.
Pro Tip: Visit Aaswad in Mumbai for their soft-centered and crunchy Sabudana Vadas.
34. Kanda Poha
In the state of Maharashtra, Kanda Poha is a breakfast staple. Flattened rice (poha) is cooked with onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and garnished with peanuts and cilantro.
Pro Tip: If you find yourself in Pune, check out Goodluck Cafe for a satisfying plate of Kanda Poha.
35. Kutchi Dabeli
Similar to Dabeli but with a unique twist, Kutchi Dabeli is a specialty of Kutch, Gujarat. It includes a mix of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors.
Pro Tip: In Bhuj, Kutch, try the mouthwatering Kutchi Dabeli at Dabeli Hub.
West India has spoiled us with an array of delectable street foods. But our journey isn’t over yet! In the final installment, Part 5, we’ll be exploring the street food wonders of Central India. Trust me. You won’t want to miss the delightful surprises that await you!
Best Street Foods from Central India
We’ve come a long way on our street food exploration across India, and now it’s time to uncover the hidden gems of Central India. Get ready for unique flavors and dishes that will tantalize your taste buds!
36. Poha Jalebi
A match made in heaven, Poha Jalebi is a beloved breakfast combo in Madhya Pradesh. Poha, flattened rice, is cooked with onions, mustard seeds, and spices, while Jalebi adds the perfect touch of sweetness.
Pro Tip: Visit Sarafa Bazaar in Indore, a bustling night market, to savor the best Poha Jalebi.
37. Shikanji (Nimbu Pani)
Stay refreshed with Shikanji, a zesty lemonade infused with spices and a pinch of black salt, perfect to beat the scorching heat of Central India.
Pro Tip: While exploring the streets of Bhopal, try Shikanji at the local stalls near Chowk Bazaar.
38. Sabudana Khichdi
Another fasting favorite, Sabudana Khichdi is a delightful dish made from soaked tapioca pearls, peanuts, potatoes, and spices.
Pro Tip: Indulge in the flavorful Sabudana Khichdi at Chhappan Dukan in Indore, a street food hub.
Central India boasts a variety of delicious Kachoris, stuffed with spicy lentils, moong dal, or spicy peas.
Pro Tip: For an authentic taste, try Raj Kachori at Joshi Kachori Bhandar in Bhopal, a popular spot since the 1970s.
*Congratulations, foodies! You’ve successfully explored the incredible street foods from all corners of India. From the flavorful spices of the North to the delightful sweets of the East, the fiery curries of the West, and the unique flavors of the Central region, India’s street food culture has something for every taste bud.*
Best Street Desserts in India
Now that we’ve indulged in savory delights, it’s time to satisfy our sweet cravings with heavenly street desserts all over India. Get ready to experience a sugary symphony like never before!
A favorite summer treat, Kulfi is a rich and creamy Indian ice cream made from thickened milk, flavored with cardamom, saffron, pistachios, or almonds.
Pro Tip: For the most authentic Kulfi experience, visit Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale in Delhi, where you can savor unique flavors, including stuffed Kulfis.
Falooda is a delightful dessert drink with vermicelli noodles, basil seeds (sabja), sweetened milk, and ice cream, flavored with rose syrup or other fruit syrups.
Pro Tip: Experience the best Falooda at Badshah Falooda in Mumbai, a legendary spot with a legacy of over a century.
Rabri is a creamy, thickened milk dessert that’s a real indulgence. It’s made by boiling milk for hours until it reduces to a velvety consistency, then sweetened and garnished with nuts.
Pro Tip: Indulge in the mouthwatering Rabri at Mishrilal Hotel in Hyderabad; it’s a hidden gem loved by locals.
Malpua is a delightful deep-fried dessert made from a batter of flour, milk, and semolina, soaked in sugar syrup, and garnished with nuts.
Pro Tip: Head to Pushkar in Rajasthan, where you’ll find numerous street vendors serving delectable Malpuas during the famous Pushkar Mela.
43. Kulhad Chai
Last but not least, let’s indulge in some warm comfort with Kulhad Chai. Chai, or tea, is brewed with spices, herbs, and milk, and served in earthy clay cups (kulhads).
Pro Tip:For an authentic Kulhad Chai experience, explore the streets of Varanasi, where you’ll find numerous tea vendors serving this beloved drink.
There you have it, sweet-toothed adventurers! From creamy Kulfi to indulgent Malpua, and refreshing Falooda to comforting Kulhad Chai, India’s street desserts will leave you in a state of pure bliss.*
So, after exploring the savory wonders of Indian street food, make sure to save some room for these delightful desserts. Your taste buds will thank you, and your culinary journey through India will be complete!*
Best Street Drinks in India
Before we quench our thirst with the delightful street drinks of India, let’s raise a word of caution.
Warning: Drinks can be riskier regarding hygiene because contaminated water is the most common way travelers get sick. Avoid consuming ice, and make sure the vendors use bottled water to prepare these refreshing treats.
Now, let’s dive into the vibrant world of Indian street beverages!
44. Sugarcane Juice
Beat the heat with the naturally sweet and refreshing Sugarcane Juice. Extracted from fresh sugarcane stalks, this green elixir is a popular street drink, especially during scorching summers.
Pro Tip: To experience the freshest Sugarcane Juice, head to the streets of Mumbai, where you’ll find vendors juicing cane on the spot.
45. Nimbu Pani (Lemonade)
Simple yet satisfying, Nimbu Pani is a quintessential Indian lemonade. Freshly squeezed lemons, water, sugar, and a pinch of black salt create a zesty and revitalizing drink.
Pro Tip: For a tangy twist, try the special Nimbu Pani at Khan Market in Delhi, where vendors add a mix of spices.
From the northern lands of Punjab comes the classic Lassi, a yogurt-based drink that’s incredibly creamy and flavorful.
My favorite is banana, and I like it best when they keep the chunks of banana.
Pro Tip: Savor the best Lassi at Gian Di Lassi in Amritsar, where you can choose from a variety of flavors, including the iconic Mango Lassi.
Read more: Is It Safe To Try Lassis In India?
Thandai is a cooling drink popular during festivals, especially Holi. It’s made from a mixture of milk, nuts, spices, and sometimes cannabis seeds.
Pro Tip: During the festive season, head to Varanasi and experience the authentic Thandai, often spiked with bhang (cannabis).
48. Masala Chai
Ah, the famous Masala Chai! This spiced tea is brewed with a mix of aromatic Indian spices, milk, and black tea leaves.
Pro Tip: While exploring the streets of Jaipur, make sure to try the flavorful Masala Chai served in clay cups.
49. South Indian Filter Coffee
The beloved South Indian Filter Coffee is a must-try for coffee aficionados. It’s brewed with dark-roasted coffee beans and served with frothy milk.
Pro Tip: In the coffee capital of India, Bengaluru, visit Brahmin’s Coffee Bar for an authentic and strong cup of South Indian Filter Coffee.
50. Jal Jeera
When you’re in need of a refreshing drink with a unique twist, look no further than Jal Jeera. This tangy and spiced beverage is made from cumin seeds, tamarind, mint, and other spices.*
Pro Tip: For an authentic Jal Jeera experience, head to the streets of Delhi, where vendors serve this thirst-quencher during hot summer days.
There you have it, fellow travelers! From the cool and sweet Sugarcane Juice to the zesty Nimbu Pani, and from the creamy Lassi to the aromatic Masala Chai and Filter Coffee, not to forget the revitalizing Thandai and the tangy Jal Jeera, Indian street drinks have a delightful surprise for every palate.
Before we conclude this delightful journey, let’s raise a toast to the countless street food vendors serving these amazing delicacies for generations. Their passion and skill have made India’s street food scene one of the most vibrant and diverse in the world.
On your trip to India to be sure to try India’s most popular street foods, including crispy and tangy Pani Puri to the savory and satisfying Vada Pav.
But don’t forget to try lesser-known favorites like Masala Dosa from South India, Egg Rolls from West India, and Chur Chur Kulche from Amritsar.
Then you can top it off with sweets like Kulfi ice cream or Falooda sundae. To wash it down, get a cool and refreshing Nimbu Pani (bubbly soda water with freshly squeezed lemon) and of course, a spicy, creamy Masala chai.
So, the next time you plan your budget travel to India, remember to explore the bustling streets, where the real culinary magic happens. Trust me, every bite will be an adventure, and every flavor will leave an indelible mark on your heart.
Until our next gastronomic journey, happy eating and safe travels!