Delhi is a great place for those who love food. It has a diverse food culture and a dizzying range of cuisines to tickle taste buds. The predominant food culture in Delhi is a mixture of North Indian, Mughlai and Punjabi cuisines. But Delhi is also a place to sample food from different regions of India. Punjabi food is what is known as “Indian food” in most parts of the world, and is characterized by rich, buttery dishes and a heavy use of breads and other wheat products. Popular Punjabi foods include channa kulcha (chickpeas served with thick, grilled bread), dal makhani (buttery black lentils), and shahi paneer (cubed Indian cheese in tomato cream sauce). Mughlai food traces its roots back to the Muslim invasion of North India, and is characterized by its many rich meat dishes (notably chicken and mutton).New Delhi is perhaps one of South Asia’s largest open-air kitchens. Street vendors prepare and sell everything from cut slices of pineapples to Chinese noodles to local specialties right from the street. Low budget restaurants, eateries, road-side Dhabas and mobile food wagons abound and are great to sample Delhi’s varied food culture. Bengali Market (near Connaught Place) and central Delhi’s Sunder Nagar Market both have a high concentration of famous roadside eateries. Then, there are the cheap roadside restaurants (known as dhabas) and stalls that serve tandoori chicken, tandoori rotis, kababs, chaat, bhelpuri, sweetmeats, biryani, and various Indian snack foods (collectively known as “chaat”).
Much of the food offered by these sidewalk hawkers is fresh and delicious, but it requires intestinal fortitude. Avoid these snacks unless your stomach has become habituated to Indian spices and you have become indifferent to the dust and flies hovering around such stalls. Also check if the food stall is using clean water to wash the plates and spoons. These stalls often lack refrigeration and are thus best avoided in the summer.
There’s also a large selection of international cuisine of varying qualities in India. The most popular of these is Italian food, although Mediterranean, Thai, and even Japanese food are becoming increasingly popular among Delhi’s sophisticated residents. Mexican food is also available, although it never really took off in the same way many of the other foreign cuisines have.
Most upscale neighbourhoods have grocery stores which provides for people in the area. Vegetables and greens like Shitake and Inoki Mushrooms, avocado, red/yellow peppers, basil, and zucchini, to name a few, are termed as ‘exotic’ or ‘imported’. Upon request your local vendor should be able to source them for you. Most also offer home-delivery.