India is famous for its vibrant street food culture, offering a wide array of delicious and flavorful dishes. These roadside foods are just a glimpse of the diverse street food culture in India, with each region having its own unique offerings. Here are top 5 popular roadside foods in India that are loved by locals and tourists alike:
1. Vada Pav
Vada Pav is a popular street food originating from the state of Maharashtra in India, particularly Mumbai. Vada Pav consists of two main components: the Vada and the Pav. The Vada is a spiced potato fritter made by mashing boiled potatoes and mixing them with spices such as green chili, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and mustard seeds.
The mixture is then shaped into patties and deep-fried until golden and crispy. The Pav refers to a small bun or bread roll, similar to a dinner roll. Vada Pav is often served with additional accompaniments such as fried green chilies or green chili pickle, and sometimes with fried green chili peppers or garlic chutney for an extra kick of spiciness.
It is commonly found at street food stalls, food carts, and even dedicated Vada Pav joints throughout India, especially in Maharashtra and Mumbai.
2. Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji is a popular street food dish from Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai. It is a delicious and flavorful combination of a spiced vegetable curry (bhaji) served with buttered pav (soft bread rolls). The Pav is typically slit horizontally, buttered, and lightly toasted on a griddle or tawa.
The buttery and slightly crisp Pav is served alongside the Bhaji. Pav Bhaji is often served with additional accompaniments such as finely chopped onions, fresh lemon wedges, and sometimes, pickles or papad (thin crispy wafers).
Pav Bhaji is immensely popular across India and is widely available at street food stalls, fast food joints, and even restaurants. It is a beloved snack or meal option, especially among vegetarians.
3. Chole Bhature
Chole Bhature is a popular North Indian dish that consists of spicy chickpea curry (chole) served with deep-fried bread made from fermented dough (bhature). It is a flavorful and hearty combination that is enjoyed as a breakfast item, a main course, or as a special treat.
The curry component, known as Chole, is made from chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) cooked with a blend of aromatic spices, including ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and a mix of powdered spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Bhature refers to the deep-fried bread made from a fermented dough. Chole Bhature is typically served hot. The fluffy Bhature is served alongside a generous portion of the spicy Chole curry.
Chole Bhature is often accompanied by yogurt (curd) or a side salad consisting of sliced onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Chole Bhature is widely popular across North India and is commonly found at street food stalls, roadside dhabas (eateries), and restaurants.
4. Pani Puri
Pani Puri, also known as Gol Gappa or Puchka, is a popular street food snack in India. It is a favorite among people of all ages and is loved for its burst of flavors. Pani Puri starts with small, crispy and hollow puris.
These puris are made from a mixture of semolina (sooji) and all-purpose flour (maida), which is rolled into small discs and deep-fried until they puff up and turn golden brown. Pani Puri is typically filled with boiled and mashed potatoes, cooked chickpeas, and sometimes moong beans. These fillings are mixed with spices such as chaat masala, cumin powder, and salt, giving it a tangy and flavorful taste.
The highlight of Pani Puri is the tangy and spicy water that is used to fill the puris. Pani is made by blending together mint leaves, coriander leaves, green chilies, ginger, tamarind pulp, and a mix of spices such as black salt, roasted cumin powder, and chaat masala. The resulting water is tangy, spicy, and refreshing.
Pani Puri is widely enjoyed across India and is especially popular as a street food snack. It is commonly found at roadside stalls or carts, where vendors prepare and serve it fresh.
Samosa is a popular Indian snack enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a deep-fried pastry filled with a savory mixture of spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes meat or lentils. The outer covering of the samosa is made from a mixture of all-purpose flour, oil or ghee (clarified butter), and salt. The dough is kneaded until smooth and then rolled out into thin, circular sheets. These sheets are cut into triangles or circles, ready to be filled.
The filling of the samosa is the highlight of this snack. It typically consists of a spiced potato mixture that is cooked with onions, peas, and a blend of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. The samosas are then deep-fried until they turn golden brown and crispy. Samosas are often served with chutneys and sauces.
Samosas are immensely popular throughout India and are widely available at street food stalls, tea shops, and even restaurants. They are often served as a snack with a cup of tea or as an appetizer at parties and gatherings.
India is home to a wide variety of popular street foods, each offering its own unique flavors and specialties as you travel from one state to another. Other popular snacks (road side food) in India are:
- Dahi Vada
- Kathi Roll
- Aloo Tikki
- Masala Dosa
- Jalebi with Rabri
- Bhel Puri