These Indian Street foods deserve more love from the global foodie community
From the tiniest towns to the biggest cities, street food is a vital part of everyday life across India. Everywhere, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of vendors and traders, each occupying the pavements of busy roads, enticing passers-by with both hot and cold dishes. In fact, The Huffington Post shared its list of top 10-must try dishes, and Indians all over the world celebrated in glee. There we could spot our very own Masala Dosa, ranking fourth, standing tall with the likes of Pavlova and Peking Duck. With this, there are many other Indian street foods that can be found in the menu of high-end fine dining restaurants across the globe – be it LA or London!
The paper-thin, plate-covering savory dish made from lentils and rice has left every Indian as well as Non-Indian in complete awe, since its inception. Cooked to lacy perfection, dosa is layered with spiced mashed potato filling and served with a liberal dose of coconut chutney. Now, there’s been an increasing global interest in the humble dish and this street food can now be found in upscale restaurants in the US, Australia, and even London.
One of the tastiest and cheapest things to savor, chaat has always been spotted at every nook and corner across the country, and in fact, even the world now! The tangy Gol Gappas and Bhel Puri have come a long way. Rather than standing by the roadside to enjoy a plate full of Sev Puri, find a place at a fancy restaurant, anywhere in the world, and make use of a syringe to stuff your puris with chutney for Gol Gappa.
If you spot a sandwich being stuffed with meat (and cheese or vegetables), then the famous Kathi Roll bows to the definition. The Roll is so popular and loved that you’ll find it, or its variations, in much of India and around the world. At its most basic, the Roll consists of a kebab, wrapped inside a roti, with spices, onion slices, and chutneys for the extra spice and tanginess. In some parts, a thick layer of egg is wrapped in the bread for those who prefer the taste of it.
A favorite amongst Mumbaikars, this spicy-tangy mix of pureed vegetables served with bread doused in butter has been the go-to street food option for decades. It’s now being called the ‘Indian Sloppy Joe’ by the whole of the fine dining community across the world. Pav Bhaji couldn’t have gotten a fancier name!
In layman’s terms, kulfi is the Indian counterpart of ice cream. However there are several differences between kulfi and ice cream, in the contexts of flavor and texture. Roadside kulfi is often served in its classic mold or with a delicious topping to create kulfi falooda, a type of ice cream float made with a base of rose syrup sauce, cooked vermicelli noodles, and basil seeds. The whole of India screams for kulfi in summers!
Originally from the lands of Punjab, this Indian yoghurt-based drink is typically consumed to cool the system during summers. Owing to its freshness, uniqueness, and simplicity, Lassi has found a place around the world, in different variations; having additives like spices, jaggery, or fresh fruits. Though it may not be known as Lassi outside India, the concept of Smoothie is a replica of the former.
Vadas are one of those snacks that, whether you’re 5 or you’re 50, will always be your comfort food, and I bet you can’t have just one. The batter is made out of lentils and is formed into blobs which are plopped into hot oil to create fritters. They can be found floating in a piping hot bowl of sambar or in a flavorful yogurt sauce which is a separate dish in itself known as dahi vada, or can be just eaten with coconut chutney or green chilli sauce.
This is what makes the world of food and drinks so magical! Regardless of where you are in the world, you’ll certainly find something that’s exciting and new to enjoy.