Street food is an essential part of experiencing a new destination and its diverse culture but in India, street food is something more than just that. Here, Indian street food is a way of life. Every region, state, and even city has its own delicacies that are adored by locals that will tell you that the street food in their food in india town is better than anything else you might try in India. And they are all right.
Most Indian street food dishes consist of simple, easy-to-make dishes but that doesn’t mean that they won’t explode releasing an array of rich, exotic flavors in your mouth and leave you craving for more. India is like a giant, tasty labyrinth whose only exit is to eat your way out.
I spent a year in India and was fortunate enough to travel across the country and taste hundreds of different Indian street food dishes and in this article, I’ll share my 74 favorites. I know it’s very long, but if it was shorter it wouldn’t do any justice to the dishes that would get leaved out. So from the delicious cheeses of Kashmir to the Dosas of Tamil Nadu, here are the best street food dishes in India.Indian Street Food that’s popular around the countryPanipuri
Pani Puri is one of the most popular street foods on the Indian subcontinent. It consists of round flatbreads (called food in india puri) stuffed with a mix of chickpeas, onions, potatoes, chutney, chaat masala, chutney, and soupy water (pani). The mix of the ingredients, as well as the name of the dish varies from state to state. In Uttar Pradesh, this dish is known as Golgappa, in West Bengal, Phuchka, in Central India, it’s called Gup Chup, etc. Another popular Indian street food that you can find in all parts of the country is…Aloo Chaat
This simple potato-based snack is beloved everywhere on the subcontinent from Pakistan to Tamil Nadu and from Gujarat to Bangladesh. You can find an aloo chaat stall in pretty much every city in India. Aloo chaat is made by frying cubed potatoes and adding chutney and a myriad of local spices that vary from city to city. It’s a perfect snack for any part of the day and is super tasty.Samosa
Samosa is India’s most popular baked pastry and it’s so popular that you can find it in a lot of other places, like Burma, Indonesia, Central Asia, and even the southern and western parts of Africa. The pastry is stuffed with spiced potatoes, onions, peas, and lentils, and it comes in different shapes; triangular, half-moon, and cone, depending on the region. This delicious treat also happens to be one of the oldest snacks in the world.
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This crispy-fried spicy potato dish cooked with bell peppers in a sweet and spicy sauce is one of the most popular Indo-Chinese snacks and appetizers. Honey chili potato originally derives from China but India’s version is just as tasty, if not tastier than its Chinese counterpart. It’s a perfect beer snack and a great appetizer because its perfect mix of sweet and spicy is a great appetite stimulant.Lassi
This refreshing, creamy drink is a mix of yogurt, water, spices, and/or fruits. It can be salty or sweet but you can also find different versions around India. Not only is lassi super-tasty but it’s also a great drink after a spicy meal because it contains a high amount of casein, a protein that removes the effects of capsaicin (that chilies component that makes you feel like you’re about to turn into a dragon and start spitting fire). Paan
This simple snack is a local favorite not only across India but also in parts of Southeast Asia as well. Paan consists of an areca nut and berries, accompanied by different spices, wrapped in a betel leaf. But paan is more than just a snack. A lot of people also use it as a breath freshener, palate cleanser (supposedly, it’s great for digestion), and some people even use it due to its psychoactive effects. As you’ll see below, there are different variations of paan in different parts of India.
Now that we covered some of the street food dishes that are popular in all parts of India, let’s see which are some of the most popular street food snacks in different regions.The best North Indian street foodChole Bhature
Across India but for the best chole bhature, head to Punjab.
What started as a quick snack available on street food stalls across Uttar Pradesh has quickly taken India by storm and can now be found pretty much anywhere. Chole bhature is a combo of chana masala and hot bhatura (fried bread made from maida). The dish is simple to make, tastes good, and is super cheap, hence, it’s no surprise that it became popular so quickly, especially in Punjab where you can find the best chole bhature in India.Aloo Tikki
Pretty much anywhere in North and West India, but for the best aloo tikki, head to Lucknow.
When it comes to potato-based Indian street food, aloo tikki tops the charts. This delicious treat consists of bite-size potato pieces combined with tamarind, coriander, and chutney that will cause an incredible taste sensation in your mouth even though hearing the ingredients might not make you think so.Siddu
Anywhere in the state of Himachal Pradesh, but for the best sidu, head to Manali.
Sidu is an absolute favorite in Himachal Pradesh and if you try it, you’ll soon realize why. This wheat flour bread is the perfect winter snack (and winters in Himachal get pretty cold). Siddu is mostly served as a side dish but locals like to have it as a snack too. It’s usually served with ghee, green chutney, or meat curry.Kalari Kulcha
Anywhere in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Kalari is a tasty local cheese that can be found in Jammu and Kashmir. The cheese is sauteed in its own fat and is traditionally made from full-fat milk that’s separated using soured milk. Kalari kulcha is a round baked bread split open and filled with this cheese. It’s one of the most popular snacks in Kashmir but unfortunately, due to the isolation of this state, you can’t get it in a lot of other places.Tunday Kebab
In several different places around India, but for the best tunday kebab, head to Lucknow.
Kebabs are probably the most relished non-vegetarian street food dish in Uttar Pradesh and the tunday kebab is the best of the best. This dish was invented to satisfy the culinary cravings of a dying Mughal emperor and was originally made by Haji Murad Ali, a one-handed chef which is why this kebab is called tunday kebab (tunde in Hindi means one-handed). This is definitely the softest kebab I have ever tried. In fact, it’s so soft that it can even give a foodgasm to a toothless person.Aloo Ke Gutke
Aloo ke gutke is one of the best kept-secrets of Paharian cuisine. It’s a potato-based dish that looks similar to aloo chaat but it actually tastes very different. The dish consists of potato cubes that are fried in mustard oil with red chilies and coriander. If you’re visiting Uttarakhand, this is one dish you absolutely can’t miss.Nagori Halwa Bedmi Puri
Mostly in North India, but for the best Nagori Halwa Bedmi Puri, head to Delhi.
Nagori halwa bedmi puri actually consists of two different dishes that when combined together make one of the most popular local breakfasts in Delhi. The dish consists of a soft puri-like bread made of wheat flour filled with dal and a sweet-spicy potato gravy. This seemingly odd mix causes a flavorful sensation as soon as you smell it and once you try it, you might get addicted.Daulat Ki Chaat
Mostly in North India, but just like the previous dish, this is also a popular Delhi delicacy.
If nagori halwa bedmi puri is Delhi’s favorite breakfast, then daulat ki chaat is probably Delhi’s favorite dessert. Unfortunately, this dish ultra-delicious creamy souffle is only available during the winter months (November-February). The dessert dish is made of raw milk mixed with cream. The mix needs 8-10 hours of cooling before it’s manually whisked until it becomes light and frothy. Finally, the milk mix is blended with khoya, saffron, and chenna before getting its final form.Kachori
Anywhere in North India, but the dish originates from Uttar Pradesh.