5 Indian Street Foods That Everyone Must Try

Hira Shaikh
April 30, 2021
 min read

Over the last few years, India’s street food scene has gained massive popularity everywhere as famous YouTube food vloggers Trevor James (The Food Ranger), Mark Weins and others have traveled to India to try Indian street food delicacies.  If you have lived in India or have visited India,  there is something exciting and fascinating about taking a quick break and stopping to eat your favorite street food from a street vendor.  Aside from the feeling of nostalgia, you experience the authentic taste and flavor of your favorite finger food. India is known for its rich history, culture, culinary cuisine and fashion.  It is home to extraordinary over the top smorgasbord street food. India’s street food is an experience itself, the taste is difficult to replicate in a restaurant setting.

What is street food?

Street food consists of ready to eat foods and drinks sold usually in a cart outside of a shopping market or a business hub. Street food is meant for immediate consumption.  Street food carts usually carry  finger foods or fast food and are usually cheaper compared to a cafe or restaurant.  You will find street food in every corner of India and each region has its own specialty to offer and the locals will tell you that the street food in their town or city is better than anything else you will try in India. In North India, popular street food items include vada pav, pani puri, bhel puri, chole bhature, aloo tikkis, pakoras, kachoris, and samosas. In South India, street food items include dosa, fried fish, and potato bondas.  

The food street scene in India is exceptional and the options are endless. We have compiled a list of five street foods that are bound to release an array of rich, bold, exotic flavors in your mouth and leave you craving for more.

1. Pani Puri also known as Gol Gappa

Perhaps everyone’s favorite street food, pani puri street carts are found all over India. The dish consists of mini puri shells which are deep fried and hollowed out. The puris are stuffed with chickpeas, potatoes, onions, and chilies and dipped in spiced tamarind water (pani) and mint chutney.  You are guaranteed to have a burst of flavors in your mouth when you try pani puri.  It is nearly impossible to have one. It is one of the most addictive street foods. Once you start eating pani puri, you will lose track of how many you ate. Watch our Pani Puri shots video recipe if you want to make your own.

2. Aloo Tikki

When it comes to street foods made solely with potatoes, Aloo Tikki takes the cake. Aloo Tikki is prepared by boiling potatoes and adding a variety of spices,  onions, green chilies and cilantro. The potato mixture is shaped into individual patties and deep fried to create a crispy outer layer yet remaining soft from the inside.  Aloo tikkis are usually served mint and tamarind chutneys. Aloo Tikki is known as one of the most delectable street foods in India.  It is also a staple food in Indian weddings and parties. We strongly recommend trying our Aloo Tikki recipe at your next dinner party. It is guaranteed to leave your family and friends talking about it for days to come.

3. Pav Bhaji

Known as the king street food of India,  pav bhaji is a blend of mixed vegetable curry which includes potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, green peppers, tomatoes, and spices. The curry is usually cooked on a big griddle and served with warm buttery pan-toasted bread, onions, and lime. Unlike other street foods, Pav Bhaji is a wholesome and filling meal. Check out our easy Pav Bhaji recipe which can be served as dinner on any weeknight.

4. Pakora

Chai’s favorite companion on a rainy day, Pakoras are spicy fritters made by dipping vegetables in a gram flour based batter and is deep fried. There are endless varieties of Pakoras, however, common varieties include onion, potato, spinach, and eggplant.  Pakoras are served with mint chutney.  Check out our easy to make crispy Pakora recipe.

5. Kulfi

India’s favorite traditional dessert, streetside Kulfi is served in a classic mold. Temperatures skyrocket during summers in India and streetside kulfi vendors are a blessing in disguise. Nothing beats eating kulfi roadside on a humid day. Kulfi is a frozen dairy dessert that is milk based and is richer and creamier compared to ice cream. As Kulfi is denser, it takes longer to melt than ice cream.  Popular kulfi flavors include malai, pistachio, and mango. Check out our easy foolproof Kulfi recipe.

Now that we have presented a mouthwatering list of popular top Indian street food, be sure to try Indian street foods the next time you visit India, it will transport you to gastronomical heaven. Until then, we suggest making a pit stop at your local Patel Brothers store to try some of these delicacies. 

Leave a comment to let us know which of these Indian street foods you have tried (or if we have missed your favorite).

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