Food and Purani Dilli…ahhhhhh Bliss!
These are synonymous to each from time immemorial. You come to Delhi and don’t go to Old Delhi for its cuisine, then it is the highest form of SIN you are committing.
Delhi has been ruled over and over by Mughals to Tughlaqs to the Britishers, which each era the cuisine changed, with each era Delhi developed more. All these years later that taste and smell of Old Delhi are still Alive… you step into old Delhi and you are immediately transported into an era bygone.
Old Delhi, known as Shahjahanabad (which is a city in itself) being the power center of the Mughal empire with wide streets and bazaars. The main attractions are the massive Red Sandstone Fort popularly known as Red Fort or Lal Qila. It was built by Shah Jahan and was his command center. On the western side of the fort is the biggest mosque of the country: Jama Masjid
Red Fort itself is huge and has many interesting sites inside. The main road leading until the Red Fort is called Chandni Chowk.
There was a time when a waterway ran down its center and on full moon nights, the water reflection used to cast a magical spell over the entire area, that’s why the name Chandini (rays of the moon) Chowk (a place of gathering).
Well, now nothing of that sorts remain. It’s noisy, its over populated, people, monkeys, and cows rule the roads. Nevertheless, if you wander towards the many Alleys and pathways which spurt from Chandini Chowk, there is nothing in this world you can’t find there. Absolutely everything is sold here and each market has gained popularity for selling its own kind of stuff. So if you wanna go for Wedding shopping, be it silk robes, garlands or other nitty gritties then head straight to Kinari Bazaar.
Be dazzled by Jewellery in Dariba Kalan while Khari Baoli and Naya Bazar is for spices, herbs and dry fruits
Meena Bazaar and beyond, is my friends your getaway to Food Heaven. This place is situated just at the base of the Jama Masjid and if you happen to be there during Ramzaan then be rest assured, the Food Gods will smile upon you and open their pearly gates.
This part of the Foodies world is so varied that I have started doubting whether I will be able to do justice to its varieties in just one Blog Post… hmmmm !
If you want I can make a detailed itinerary for you to explore these places at ease 🙂
Butter Chicken…. Malai Chicken… Changezi Chicken.. Aslams Chicken… White Pepper Chicken… blue pepper chicken… uhh not quite so… but you get the drift
So did I mention earlier that it’s a Paradise for foodies?? ok I did. So without being biased towards the Vegetarians, this truly is a Non-veggies paradise more… ahem! Street food at its best, thy name is Chandni Chowk.
Agreed you have some absolutely lip smacking delicacies in Vegetarian fare as well… and let me take you straight to the point as to what to have and what not to have…
How to Reach Chandni Chowk
There is no better way to reach this place other than a Metro. You may get down on at Chawri Bazaar or Chandni Chowk
Both are near to each other but have different exit points and you will simply get to see a different version of the same place.
Wherever you get down, you may either take a Rickshaw or decide to walk towards the Jama Masjid gate No. 3 – Meena Bazaar (especially for the non-veggies)
P.S: Remember you are in the busiest and noisiest street of Delhi so it would be wise to keep a track of your belongings and be aware of your surrounding. Most people are nice and Helpful and will guide you to whichever side you wish to go. Jama Masjid is quite a walk, keep that in mind.
What to eat in Chandni Chowk & Where
Woaaah the good stuff is about to being disclosed….. remember that most of the eateries which i mention in this blog are personally tried and tested on me and my friends and after the day ended none of us ended up in a hospital. Which just means that these places are safe to eat and “usually” take care of hygiene. But if ur the one who freaks out on plates being washed “only” in water and that the servers are not wearing Gloves then darling this place ain’t for the faint-hearted.
I would suggest go with an “open mind” and eat your heart out. If you’re still worried about the hygiene then carry a Sanitizer, period. You have entered the Mecca of foodzilla.
Till date whatever veg fare, I have eaten in CC (Chandni Chowk) has been phenomenal. There ain’t anything called Bad Food friend. And the veggie fare has often compensated for the unexpected sudden failure of not so great non-veg fare.
From their parathas to samosa.. to daulat ki chaat everything is yummy and you must try the following:
- Paratha… made up of anything and everything in the famous Paranthe wali gali. You should never ever miss this
- Dahi Bhalle and Chaat at Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala… a very small shop opposite paranthe wali gali and always crowded very near to the Chandni Chowk Metro Station
- Lala Duli Chand Naresh Gupta and Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale in Sitaram Bazaar : for their fruit Kulfis including the ever famous Mango, Anar, Tamarind, Rose and what not. To be found in Kucha Pati Ram in Sitaram Bazaar
- Khemchand Adesh Kumar’s Daulat ki Chaat, Nai Sadak or many other small hawkers sell this delectable variety of sweet milk froth very delicately made and is a Must Try
- Jalebi’s at Dareeba Kalan
- Samosa and Sweets at Shyam Sweets
- Egg Curry and Roti at Manzoor Hotel, Gali Qasim Jaan
- Nagori Halwa and Puri or Malpua … now this one is a real Jem and mostly is available for Breakfast. You will find it small alleys near the Jama Masjid. These are so delicious that you will want to come here for more again n again.
- Dal Kachoris again a Morning delicacy. The yummiest and simplest forms of pleasure is hidden in these Rs. 10/- per plate kachoris-to-die-for
- Katori chaat or kulla chaat and fruit chaat.. gullies of chandni chowk. Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar, Bishan Swaroop, Hira lal chaat corner for the kulle
- Besan ka Chilla and Pav Bhaji near Chawri Bazaar
- Shahi Tukda with home made ice cream in the alleys of meena bazaar
- Rabdi falooda at Giani’s
- Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala
- Kake di hatti
and the list is unending. I could have written down all the addresses to these places but the truth is it won’t be useful at all. You will have to venture our and Ask the people around. You will be guided correctly.
Most of these places have a TripAdvisor and Zomato ratings and few even feature on the Times Food Guide
Well, there isn’t much to say about it, cos there are so many shops with varieties and mostly all of ’em taste the same. But as always there are a few standouts and for a new comer it’s always better to know where you are eating. Non veg is a delicate matter since it involves meat and one needs to be doubly sure about its quality. Be rest assured the following eateries have been personally tried by us.
- Al Jawahar – Full Fledged restaurant and we found it a tad better than the oh-so-famous Karims. They specialise in Raan, but you need to order beforehand for the same. Keep walking straight from Gate No. 3 of Jama Masjid and after walking past Karims, a little ahead will be this gem hidden in the corner
- Aslams Chicken – Just stop whatever you are doing in CC and run to Aslams Chicken and try their Butter Chicken with rumali roti. My friends, this is the mecca of Butter Chicken, a dish so different than the distorted butter chickens you have ever ever had. Try nothing else but the Butter Chicken.
- Karims – yeah well you can go there and have their Biryani. Though there are many many more joints now but well give the man the credit he deserves. Karims is one of the best, no denying that, but it isnt the only one. My point.
- Changezi chicken in Daryaganj
- In search of Niharis you can head to Kallu Nihariwale
- Many many vendors sell Kababs and platters in front of the Jama Masjid Gate No.3 the ones which are tried and tested are Qureshi Kabab Corner ( try chicken rolls)
- Haji Mohd Hussain or Anmol Chicken for those KFC styled fried chicken and fish
- The entire road which leads directly from Jama Masjid contains numerous kebab corners and rolls wala and biryanis. I suggest you finish the list given above and contact me if you’re still hungry 🙂
P.S: Along with a Hand Sanitizer carry some Pudin Haras or digestives.. just in case you know
Last but not the least do not forget to enjoy yourself, it will be best if you avoid going in Peak summers as it tends to become very hot and suffocating. Nevertheless, the crowd still remains. From personal experience going in winters, during Ramzaan or in the late evening works best.
Your one night’s meal will be super tasty and very very cheap… hmm let’s say all the above in around 500 bucks each, that too is on the higher side.
If you need a detailed walk around the town, we arrange for some awesome Food Walks where you don’t have to worry about where to go. Write to us for more information.
Till then.. go out.. try the Indian KFC and asli Butter chicken, while savouring on those gorgeous Jalebis and Fruit Kulfis.