India’s 5 Best Street Food Tour Destinations

As one of the culinary capitals of the world, India’s cuisine is as sophisticated as they come with its unmatched ability to blend a wide variety of spices, vegetables, grains, and fruits to create some of the world’s most unique flavors. And there is truly no better place to see this culinary celebration in action than on the streets of India.

Whether you’re exploring Old Delhi’s liveliest markets or Varanasi’s endless labyrinth of alleyways, you are sure to stumble upon local street food vendors whipping up special regional delicacies that reflect the geographic, cultural and religious diversity of this incredible country. In this blog post, we share India’s 5 Best Street Food Tour Experiences, which are sure to inspire you to explore India’s world-class street food scene for yourself!

Delhi

Food Stall near Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi © Alan Morgan / Flickr

As the capital city of one of the world’s most delicious countries, it comes as no surprise that Delhi tops the list for India’s best food street tour destinations. Although Delhi’s main draw is it’s historical heritage sites such as India Gate, Humanyun’s Tomb, Red Fort, and Qutab Minar, it’s street food stalls are also worth the visit in their own right. If you’re in search of the city’s most authentic street food, there’s no better place to explore than Old Delhi. With its charming alleyways and crowded streets, a visit to Old Delhi is sure to be one of your most unforgettable experiences in India. To get the most out of your visit to Old Delhi, we suggest joining a local host who can help you navigate the chaos in search of India’s best street food. 

If you’re a morning person, then there’s no better way to start the day in Delhi than with Anubhav on his Old Delhi Breakfast Food Tour. Although it’s hard to believe, one of India’s most chaotic cities is actually somewhat calm during the mornings, making this the ideal time to explore the culinary highlights of Old Delhi. Walk along the fascinating streets of Old Delhi and sample the area’s tastiest morning snacks like Paneer Pakoda, Bedmi Pooris, Mata Kachori, and Nahari. And if that wasn’t enough, Anubhav will take you to sample some of Old Delhi’s most sought after sweets like Nagori Halwa, Moong Dal Halwa, and Kheer

If mornings aren’t your thing, you can always join Lavy for his Old Delhi Food Tour, which will take you to discover the street food at the famous Chandni Chowk, one of Delhi’s oldest and busiest markets. Situated right in the heart of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is a street market full of fragrant spices, dried fruit, traditional clothing, handcrafted jewelry, and delectable sweets. At Chandni Chowk, you can sample a wide variety of Delhi’s local street food delicacies like Samosas, Kachori, Poori Bhaji, and Dahi Bhallas.

For a special treat, visit the world-famous ‘Paranthe Wali Gali,’ which is a narrow street that features some of the city’s oldest Paratha vendors that date back to the late 19th century. Other famous Old Delhi street food institutions include Chaatwallah for Fruit Chaat, Old Famous Jalebi Wala for traditional Jalebi, and Hazari Lal Jain Khurchan Wale for Delhi’s best Khurchan, which is the Hindi word for “leftover scrapes” and is a dessert made from evaporated milk cream.

No matter the time of day, Old Delhi’s street food scene is sure to satisfy even the most particular of street food cravings.

Kolkata

At the Egg Toast Stand © Eric Parker / Flickr

As India’s cultural capital, Kolkata is sure to amaze you with its striking contrasts of colors, creativity, sites, and sounds at nearly every street corner. Yet, India’s third-largest city is surprisingly less chaotic than some of the country’s other modern metropolises. This intellectual and artistic hub is home to some of India’s most spectacular monuments, such as the opulent Victoria Memorial, Marble Palace, and Belur Math. But beyond its magnificent sites, Kolkata is also home to some of India’s most distinct cuisines with its fusion of Bengali, Chinese, and Persian influences.

The diversity of Bengali cuisine is highlighted by its wide variety of vegetables, herbs, roots, spices, seafood, and sweets. But one Kolkata original that is famed for its simplicity is the classic street food staple – the Kathi Roll. This paratha flatbread is stuffed to the brim with beef, chicken tikka, mutton, egg, paneer cheese, or spiced potato and seasoned in a delicious fusion of onions, chilis, and sauces. Just add a splash of vinegar or lime for good measure and take a bite. For Kolkata’s most authentic Kathi Roll we suggest visiting Nizam’s, which is the birthplace of this classic street dish that has survived decades of competition and change to remain a Kolkata street food staple. 

If you have a sweet tooth, then you’re in luck as Bengali sweets are some of the most craved throughout India. Explore the city’s large variety of local sweet shops, bakeries, and family-run dessert parlors to sample traditional Bengali sweets such as Roshogolla, Mishti Doi, Chom Chom, Kheer Kadom, and Sandesh. For a delicious seasonal treat, try Kolkata’s famed Patishapta, which is a thin crepe stuffed with coconut or kheer, and served in a sweet milk cream. Every January during the festival of Makar Sankranti, many Bengali homes prepare this traditional treat as part of the festivities. 

With so many culinary secrets to be discovered in Kolkata, ditch the guide book and join Avishek on his Kolkata Food Tour. Avishek will share his local knowledge and insights with you as you explore Kolkata’s charming back alleys to discover the city’s unique cuisine, culture, and traditions. 

Varanasi

Varanasi Street Food © Saurabh Chatterjee / Flickr

No visit to India is complete without a trip to one of the country’s most enchanting destinations, Varanasi. One of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, the sacred city of Varanasi is certainly not for the timid traveler. Pilgrims from around the country flock by the thousands to Varanasi for many reasons, whether it be to cleanse their sins in the sacred waters of the River Ganges, to cremate their loved ones or even as a place to pass on into the next life hoping to seek liberation from the cycle of rebirth. If you choose to explore Varanasi’s endless labyrinth of winding lanes and tiny alleyways, you’ll be greeted with exquisite details, friendly encounters, and unforgettable experiences that make Varanasi one of the world’s most unique travel experiences. 

And although everyone is familiar with the mesmerizing monuments and ancient rituals of Varanasi, this is also an incredible destination to sample traditional Indian street food. We suggest starting your culinary journey early in the morning with Varanasi’s most popular breakfast snack – the Kachori. This roadside delicacy is made by stuffing crispy deep-fried bread with a masala of spicy lentils or mixed mashed potatoes and dressing it up in an aromatic curry loaded with cloves, black pepper, and chilies, which is sure to delight even the pickiest of eaters. 

As Varanasi is considered to have some of India’s tastiest milk, it comes as no surprise that dairy plays an essential role in Varanasi’s culinary arsenal. One drink that Varanasi is celebrated for is Thandai, which is a cold milk-flavored drink blended with a variety of spices, dried seasonal fruits, and extracts such as rose or hibiscus. If you happen to visit Varanasi during the winter, order the seasonal delicacy Malaiyyo, which is a saffron-flavored cream garnished with a variety of nuts like almonds and pistachios and only prepared during the winter months.

If you want to visit Varanasi’s best local street food stalls, then join Kuldip and his friends on their Varanasi Food Tour. They’ll guide you through the endless maze of Varanasi to taste some of the city’s most sought after local delicacies like Lassi, Bondas, Dahi Vadas, Uttapam Chhena Vadas, Jalebis, and Luanglata!

Udaipur

Pani Puri Stall © Adam Cohn / Flickr

Known as the “City of Lakes,” India’s Udaipur has a romantic ambiance that is perhaps unmatched anywhere else in India. With its fairytale palaces, scenic boat rides, stunning natural beauty, fascinating temples, grand Havelis, and vibrant bazaars, it’s easy to see why Udaipur is one of the most visited destinations in all of Rajasthan. But beyond its enchanting attractions, Udaipur is also home to a thriving street food scene. 

One tasty street-side delicacy that is quintessentially Rajasthani is the Daal Baati Churma. Not only can you find this versatile dish at street food stalls around Udaipur, but also as a tasty staple in cultural ceremonies like marriages and festivals. Traditionally cooked in a charcoal fire, Daal Baati Churma is composed of three main ingredients. The dal, which is a traditional spiced lentil dish. The baati, which is an unleavened whole wheat dumpling. And the chorma, which is a sweet whole-wheat ball that is deep-fried, mashed, and infused with ghee, sugar, and dried fruits or nuts. 

Another culinary highlight on Udaipur’s street corners also happens to be one of India’s most beloved street food dishes, Pani Puri. These deep-fried crispy crepes (puris) are stuffed with a variety of savory fillings such as potato masala and chickpea masala and topped with a tangy tamarind chutney. No matter where you go in the city, you’re bound to find other tasty Pani Puri variations that are sure to awe your tastebuds with flavors like coriander, mint, cumin, tamarind, and a variety of different spices. 

To eat the best local street food dishes that Udaipur has to offer, join Jaidev on his Udaipur Food Tour as he guides you through this magnificent city to visit some of Udaipur’s hidden gems that only the locals know of. Visit traditional markets, famous food stalls, and some of the best family-owned eateries in all of the city as you sample Mirchi Vada, Kachoris, Onion Samosas, and a variety of Chaats on this fantastic culinary tour through Udaipur.

Jaipur

Food Vendor, Jaipur © Klaus Henkel/ Flickr

Rajasthan’s capital city Jaipur is a charming desert city teeming with a fascinating history, majestic architecture, and timeless traditions. The city known as the “Pink City” effortlessly blends colorful and calm neighborhoods alongside chaotic boulevards as rickshaws and motorbikes swarm by rustic storefronts, noisy bazaars, and the occasional elephant or camel. But this city of contradictions also has a more relaxed side to it, with the city’s historic heart offering a pleasant break from the chaos of modern Jaipur. In this area, you can discover some of India’s most majestic palaces such as the City Palace or Hawa Mahal and visit other famous sites such as the Jantar Mantar, Amjeri Gate, and the eclectic Johari Bazaar. 

But Jaipur’s illustrious history doesn’t just apply to its significant cultural sites, but also to its cuisine. The culinary traditions of Jaipur have been passed down for generations and originated in the imperial kitchens of the royal family, which have long since trickled out into every home kitchen and street corner of Jaipur. At Masala Chowk, you can taste this imperial history with the best Rajasthani street food that Jaipur has to offer, making this a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. This outdoor food court will leave you spoilt for choice as nearly every dish under the Jaipuri sun is served here like Pani Puri, Jalebi, Samosa, Golgappa, Dosas, Chaat, Mishri Mawa and much, much more! 

Another famous Rajasthani delicacy that you shouldn’t miss while in Jaipur is the Laal Maas, which is considered to be one of India’s spiciest dishes. Traditionally, this dish was prepared with wild game meat and used the intensity of the chilies as a way to mask the strong odor of the meat. Roughly translating to “Red Mutton,” Laal Maas combines a blend of spices, yogurt, garlic, whole red chilis, and the famous local mustard oil to create this dish’s distinct flavor. To try the best (and spiciest) Laal Maas in Jaipur, we suggest heading over to Spice Court Restaurant.

For another unique local food experience, we suggest joining Monty’s Jaipur Food Tour or Payal’s Jaipur Heritage Food Tour, where you’ll be treated to some of the city’s tastiest delicacies, which have been hand-picked by these local experts. Indulge in the rich gastronomic history of Jaipur with Monty or Payal as you explore the diverse culinary traditions of India’s “Pink City’!

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