The very best 27 Indian street food dishes to try on the streets of India, order online, or make at home. Learn about the common ingredients, frequently asked questions, side dishes, and regional variations to the addictive street food dishes!
1. Dhosa (Dosa)
Pancakes and crepes are a favorite in many parts of the world so it’s not surprising that Dosa is one of the most popular Indian street foods. Dosa is a paper-thin crepe served in a street food style of savory pancake. The style of dosa dish originates in South India and is very popular street food.
The batter is made from a fermented mixture consisting of lentils and rice. And thus, the resulting flatbread style is somewhat similar to a crepe in appearance and renowned as a popular savory Indian street food.
Dosas are most common in South Indian cuisine, although they can be found at restaurants and street food style markets all over the Indian subcontinent.
By tradition, Dosas are served along with chutney and sambar – a lentil-based vegetable curry and tamarind broth. The most popular version is a masala dosa where the filling of the rolled crepe is made with potato masala.
But there are many newer recipes that create a fusion of cuisines where a dosa is served with paneer, cheese, beetroot or semolina. Pretty much, anything goes!
If you are looking for new Indian street food to try with confidence – order a dosa. It’s a great breakfast or a trusty street food snack at any time of day.
by Sarah at Away with the Steiners
Idli, which has its origins in South India, is a very popular street food across all of India and even Sri Lanka. No matter which city you’re in, chances are if you find yourself at a place that serves snacks or South Indian fare, you’ll discover Idlis and sambar on the menu.
Idli has been mentioned a few times in ancient Indian texts; however, the dates of its exact origin are unknown.
Black gram and rice are soaked and then pulsed to make a batter which is left to ferment and rise overnight. The fermentation helps to break the starches so the body can easily ingest them.
This is then poured in an Idli maker, usually a vessel made of steel with Idli moulds stacked on top of each other. This is then left to steam for a few minutes till the Idlis are ready.
While Idli can be found in most parts, some of the best Idlis can be found in South Idli. Here they’re spongier and lighter.
Idlis are best eaten hot with some chutney and sambar and a great budget-friendly option to have no matter the time of day!
By Lavinia from Continent Hop
Pakora is a vast term that encompasses such a rich and diverse variety. It is also called Bhaji in some places but it is a specific type of pakora.
In its simplest form pakora is made with usually potato slices dipped in gram flour and deep-fried.
The flour is flavored with a range of things from chili powder, garlic, salt, dried pomegranate seeds as well as lots of other spices and herbs, mint is also quite common. Sometimes they are also made with tangy spices to make them extra fun.
Street vendors offer a range of options from eggplant, potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, onion and, for the adventurous, green chili pakora.
In the case of bhaji, different vegetables are mixed and added to the batter and fried as nuggets which are a tad different but delicious.
Pakoras aren’t complete without a great serving of chutney. The most common choices are mint chili chutney, ketchup, and imli (tamarind) but these vary depending on the region with exotic flavors as well such as walnut and coconut chutney.
Pakora is the perfect choice for street food and you are never too far from someone serving this deliciousness whenever you are in India, Bangladesh, or Pakistan.
By Ucman at Brown Boy Travels
4. Pani Puri
Panipuri is one of the most popular street food in India, originated in North India approximately 125 years ago. Panipuri is named differently in different parts of the country.
It is also called as golgappa, gupchup, pani ke batashe, or phuchka. It may be named differently, but what brings it all together is the love people have for this street food.
You can find small pani puri stalls in every other corner of the streets. While you do get Pani puri in most of the famous north Indian restaurants, nothing can beat the taste offered by the roadside shops.
It is often a repetitive sight to spot a roadside pani puri shop surrounded by a bunch of people holding a small bowl in hand and mouth full of puri.
Pani Puri is ball-shaped and is usually deep fried in oil. It is let to cool down and then dumped with mashed potato, boiled black chickpea, onion, and spices.
This puri is finally filled with spicy and tangy water. Coming to the most difficult part of it – eating it! Yes, the whole puri has to go into the mouth in one go! While it may seem like a challenging thing to do, eating Pani Puri itself is an art.
By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
5. Matar Kulcha
Every state, city, and town in India has its favorite street food. Delhi is a treasure trove in terms of street food and people would swear by their favorites.
There is the omnipresent golgappe and the hot Sunday breakfast Chole Bhature. But Matar Kulcha stands somewhere in between.
Matar Kulcha is a combination of a curried white pea (also called matra in India) mash served with soft bread that is fermented and baked with white flour.
The spices in the dry curry are balanced by the rather bland taste of the kulcha bread.
The peas in the dish provide protein while the bread provides carbohydrates. Hence, this is somewhat a complete dish that is way more filling than the snack golgappe while not as sinful as its richer cousin Chole Bhature.
Matar Kulcha is mostly served with a squeeze of lemon on top of matar, onion and cucumber salad, green chili pickle, chutneys, and at many places a glass of Boondi Raita.
Matar Kulcha has traditionally been a street food item. At present, this dish is available in cafes as well.
But for the authentic dish that titillates one’s taste buds, the best source is still the neighborhood Matar Kulcha hawker standing with his cart around the street corner.
By Sundeep and Bedabrata from Delhi Fun Dos
6. Papdi Chaat
Papdi Chaat is also known as ‘Dilli Chaat‘ (as it is linked to Delhi), but you can buy/eat this snack in various parts of the Indian subcontinent.
Papdi Chaat is savory, crispy sweet, and spicy at the same time. It is mixed with dahi or yogurt, and has whole wheat crackers, gram flour noodles called ‘sev‘, and a variety of chutneys or sauces.
Many also consider Papdi Chaat to be healthy, which is light on the stomach with the right ingredients. It is a healthy snack option, and paired well with a nice cup of chai (or tea) on a rainy day!
There are variations of chaat as street food, from samosa chaat, sev puri to name a few. Although a popular street food, you can also try this snack at a proper restaurant such as Raju Chaat Bhandar or Chaat Chowk.
By Mayuri from To Some Place New
India has the biggest variety of interesting and flavorsome dishes that are often only found here. Puttu is one such favorite that can be found in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is also a popular food in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
This dish consists of steamed rolls of ground rice flour with a sweet or savory filling on the inside that is layered with freshly grated coconut. It is generally served at breakfast but can be eaten at any time of the day.
Puttu can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. With the main ingredients being rice flour and coconut water, it is both a healthy and vegan option.
When trying this for the first time, it is worth noting that the perfect consistency is neither dry nor sticky, but slightly moist.
It is often served alongside curries (such as kadala or cherupayar), while the sweet variety includes plantain, steamed banana, and palm sugar.
The simplicity, texture, and unique taste of puttu make this a popular street food option and a good way to start the day.
By Rai of A Rai of Light
Paan is a sweet street food snack that freshens your mouth and aids your digestion. Indians have been offering it to their guests after meals for centuries. It has become a symbol of hospitality in Indian culture.
According to Ayurveda practitioners chewing paan containing certain ingredients can be good for the body, and in the Kama Sutra, it’s considered an aphrodisiac.
There are also paans that are considered unhealthy such as those containing tobacco and areca nut.
Paan is basically a green heart-shaped betel leaf filled with all kinds of delicacies. You will find many different varieties all over India.
Some of the very popular paans are Fire Paan (paan lit by fire), Sada Paan, Meetha Paan (sweet paan), Silver Paan, Chocolate Paan, Rasmalai Paan and Maghai Paan.
The ingredients can be candied fruits, Indian palate fresheners (mukhwas), raisins, roasted coconut, fennel seeds, Areca nut (Katha or Supari), Areca Nut paste, saffron, sugar, cardamom, rose jam (Gulkand), edible silver foil, slaked lime paste or tobacco.
Generally, Chuna (white lime powder) is sprinkled on paans.
These are the most popular ingredients. But, today, actually you can have the betel leaves filled with whatever you want, just name it: from pineapples to ice cream!
The ingredients are placed on the betel leaf, then the leaf is folded and sealed with a toothpick or a clove.
by Diana at The Globetrotting Detective
Kachori, is a deep-fried puffed bread snack filled with different stuffings. The most popular stuffings are pulses, peas, and onions mixed with flavorful Indian spices.
Kachori is usually eaten along with chutneys (mint and tamarind condiments) and even with potato curry at many places. It is even a popular breakfast item mainly eaten in the Northern part of India.
There is even a sweeter version of the Kachori called the ‘Mawa Kachori’ that is famous in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
It is believed that Kachori was invented by the Marwaris, a business class of India who was usually traders. But regardless of who originally invented it, Kachori has found an integral place in the plates and hearts of India.
As Kachori traveled through the different places in north India, a new version was born. Like Onion Kachori is famous in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. While visiting Bikaner in Rajasthan, indulging in some great Onion Kachori and Raj Kachori is a must.
By Neha from Travel Melodies
10. Chole Bhature
A ubiquitous street food in Delhi, and a crowd favorite everywhere, no one can accuse chole bhature of being healthy.
Round bread made of white flour dough (called poori) is deep-fried in oil or ghee and served with thick, spice-laden, and also often oily chickpea curry.
It’s one of those magical combinations that defy logic, good sense, and propriety. And yet, chole bhature is an enduring street food that many eat for breakfast or while on the run.
Though it is known as a Punjabi dish, chole bhature was invented in Delhi in the 1940s. Today, you can find it all over India — and the world — including in south India where the pooris are sometimes massively outsized.
Chole bhature is often served with onions, pickles, and chutneys, and accompanied by a thick lassi (yogurt drink).
Chole bhature is one of the most famous foods of Delhi and can be found in street stalls and restaurants all over the city. Of course, you can eat chole bhature almost everywhere in India, but to enjoy the sinful deliciousness of this very special dish in Delhi is to imbibe its very culture.
For the full-on street food experience, try it at Nand di Hatti, Sadar Bazaar in Old Delhi. If you want a more genteel experience, go to Kwality Restaurant, Regal Building in Connaught Place.
By Mariellen at Breathe Dream Go
11. Assamese Tekeli Pitha
Tekeli pitha, also known as keteli pitha, bhapot dia pitha, and few other names, is a popular street food of Assam in Northeast India. Pithas are the traditional cuisines of Assam.
Among the different ‘pithas’, tekeli pitha is the easiest to cook, hence the reason why it is sold in tea stalls and be eaten as street food.
The name is derived from the technique of how it is prepared. Traditionally steamed at the mouth of Tekeli (an earthen pot) and now in keteli (a kettle) wrapped in cheesecloth, these steamed rice cakes are a mixture of gluten-free ground rice, grated coconut, sugar, and molten jaggery.
Tekeli pitha is mostly eaten as a breakfast snack with tea or coffee. Tekeli pitha is the favorite amongst office-goers and daily workers. It can be found in all major towns and is also cooked in every household.
To experience the delicious ethnic delicacies of the Assamese community, it is best to visit Assam during the Magh Bihu (Bhugali Bihu) and Bohag Bihu (Rongali Bihu) which is celebrated in the month of January and April every year.
By Joydeep at The Gypsy Chiring
If you have been to India and not tried out Uttapam then you have surely missed out on something worth tasting.
Indian cuisine is a mix of various regional cuisines that are native to Indian subcontinent. With diversity in culture & ethnic groups there is diversity in taste across different states thanks to locally available spices, herbs and vegetables.
One such delicacy is Uttapam, native to Tamil Nadu. Mostly served on Banana leaves this traditional dish is a classic breakfast go-to option. Uttapam is a type of pancake that can be made with whatever toppings one wishes to add based on one’s taste buds.
The most common are onion, tomato, chilies, salt, pepper & garlic is added to add flavor. To give it a final touch, pure ghee is added that enhances the flavor and adds richness to the dish.
Though it’s native to Tamil Nadu, you will find this dish across multiple states that have added their own twist to it.
For Example in Mumbai, one can taste Mumbai Uttapam that is made with spices added to mashed boiled potato. The potato is smeared on the uttapam and is topped with grated cheese to give it a different flavour.
Uttapam is a very famous dish and can be found across India in any Uddipi restaurant.
By Jesal at Tourist to Travellers
13. Dahi Vada
Dahi vada refers to a popular Indian street food snack of soft lentil fritters soaked in creamy yogurt. Dahi means yogurt and vada refer to fritters so the dish‘s name literally means fritters soaked in yogurt.
To prepare, washed urad dal (split black lentils) are soaked overnight and ground into a batter before being deep-fried in oil.
They’re then soaked in water, drained, and covered in a tangy whipped yogurt before being topped with tamarind chutney, green coriander chutney, spices, and other garnishes.
Dahi vada is usually enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or as a side dish to the main meal.
It’s frequently sold at roadside stalls and is often prepared at Indian homes to celebrate special occasions and festivals like Diwali and Holi.
It’s enjoyed in many parts of the country though it’s a dish that’s typically associated with North India.
Depending on where it’s from, dahi vada can be referred to by different names like dahi bhalla, dahi bara, or dahi bade.
Soft and creamy with an interesting balance of sour, sweet, savory, and spicy, it’s a dish that you should definitely look out for on your next trip to India.
By JB Macatulad at Will Fly for Food
Malpua is undoubtedly the best sweets in Pushkar. Malpua’s history goes back to ancient Vedic times. Some food historians consider the sweet dessert to be one of the oldest desserts of the subcontinent.
Food lovers will be amazed at how addictive these little sugar syrup-dipped pancakes are. It is difficult to resist these ghee-dripping treats. You can pour some Rabdi (sweet condensed milk). another unmissable sweet, on the Malpua, to make it even richer in taste.
Rajasthanis prefers to eat dessert at the start of the meal followed by the main course/appetizers. Eat the Malpua while it is hot!
A great place to try Malpua is Sarvadia Mishtan Bhandar in Badi Basti. Malpua costs 35-40 Rs per plate (1 or 2 pc).
By Anukrati at Bulbul on the Wing
15. Dahi Puri
Dahi puri is a snack, or locally known as chaat, and is a popular Indian street food. Originating in Mumbai and mainly eaten in the state of Maharashtra, Dahi puri can still be found in food stalls all over the country.
A dahi puri dish usually starts with 5-6 mini puris, a round, hard, and puffy deep-fried leavened Indian bread. To the puri, a mix of mashed potatoes or chickpeas is added inside the shell and topped with a dash of chili powder.
Two different chutneys are then placed on top in sweet tamarind and spicy green chili versions. Fresh yogurt is poured over the top of the puri, which is then garnished with crunchy chickpea noodles, and in some instances, pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander leaves.
Each puri is meant to be devoured whole so the different layers, textures, and flavors can be properly married in the mouth.
In New Delhi, rose water is mixed with the remaining sauce and drank out of the dish. Dahi puri can be found in most marketplaces, and in New Delhi, the famous Chandni Chowk stalls have some amazing renditions.
by Haley at Haley Blackall
16. Bombay Sandwich
Originating from the cosmopolitan melting pot that is Mumbai/Bombay, the Bombay Sandwich has clear English influences. It’s made from thickly cut European-style white bread, usually from the iconic Wibs brand.
The sandwich is smeared with chutney, sprinkled with chaat masala, and laden with various vegetables, almost always potato but also including cucumber, onion, and beetroot.
The sandwich’s outside is then buttered, put into a kind of jaffle iron, and toasted over coals. When golden brown, the sandwich is usually sliced up and served with any kind of toppings you prefer, from chickpea batter to ketchup.
17. Vada Pav
Vada Pav is a close cousin of the Bombay Sandwich. The Vada Pav (or Bombay burger) also hails from Mumbai/Bombay.
Put simply, Vada Pav is a deep-fried potato dumpling snug inside a bread roll. It’s flavored with a variety of spices and condiments, including the ever-present chutney and sliced chilies.
Originating in the 1960s, the Vada pav is closely tied to the city’s complicated history, becoming the emblem of the Marathi nationalist party, Shiv Sena.
The party conflated the street food with its appeal to the Mumbai-born working class and it’s since become a staple of the local food culture.
18. Pav Bhaji
Another variant of the Vada Pav is the Pav Bhaji. The humble Pav Bhaji began life as a quick vegetarian meal for textile workers in Mumbai’s industrial districts.
The word pav derives from the Portuguese for bread and denotes the soft bun that encompasses the bhaji or vegetable curry. The bhaji itself includes various ingredients such as potatoes, peas, onions, carrots, chilies, and tomatoes.
Common street food additions include cheese, paneer melted on top of the bun, or fragments of fried bread themselves stirred into the curry.
19. Dahi Kachori
Dahi Kachori is a style of kachori, a kind of stuffed fritter originating in Uttar Pradesh in the north of India but found right across the subcontinent.
Kachori has been talked about in literature since at least the 17th Century and a wide variety of kachori variants can be bought on India’s streets today.
Dahi Kachori is usually filled with crushed mung beans (or moong dahl), which are combined with ingredients such as curd (dahi) and various types of chutney and spices to make for a popular and spicey roadside treat.
20. Ragda Pattice
Hailing from the western Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Ragda Pattice is made from mashed-up potato patties (pattice) flavored with a gravy (ragda).
Not much is known about the history and origins of ragda pattice, only that is one of many potato-based dishes that popped up around India’s west after the Portuguese first introduced the vegetable from the Americas.
Usually had at breakfast, the ragda component is typically made from peas stewed in various spices while the pattice is salted potato mash, fried before the two are combined.
Dabeli means pressed in Gujarati and comes from Kutch, a flat region on the border with Pakistan and at the very west of India’s coastline.
Though originating in the port city of Mandvi in the 1960s, different types of dabeli are made across the state and the region.
Traditional dabeli is made by mixing boiled potatoes with a unique masala. This mix is pressed into a bread bun, flavored with chutney, and garnished with various toppings including coriander, pomegranate, and roasted peanuts.
Samosa is one of the most well know of India’s street snacks. The word samosa comes from Persian and simply means a triangular pastry.
The Samosa is thought to have originated to India’s west, either from the Middle East or Central Asia, with local equivalents documented there since at least the 9th Century.
The samosa traveled to India in the following centuries, where it achieved its current form, a crisp deep-fried pyramid of a pastry filled with all manner of ingredients, from potatoes to lentils to various meats.
No matter where you go in India (and even many countries beyond) your local samosa will be something local and unique.
23. Chicken Tikka
Not to be confused with British chicken tikka masala, the word tikka comes from the Persian for bits or pieces, and chicken tikka is essentially pieces of tandoori chicken, covered in ghee, dahi (yogurt), ginger, and spices and stuck on a wooden skewer.
Dating back to the Mughal period, modern chicken tikka offers a highly efficient way to get some tasty protein on the go and is often served with bright green coriander or tamarind chutney for added flavor.
A traditional kind of ice cream eaten in India since at least the 16th Century, Kulfi is a Mughal era dessert that takes its name from the Persian word for covered cup.
Kulfi is prepared by slowly reducing milk over a stove until it is dense, sweet, and partially caramelized. This mix is then frozen in moulds and stored in an earthen pot, hence its original name.
Kulfi now comes in all sorts of flavors, with common traditional varieties including cream, almond, rose, mango, cardamom, and pistachio.
25. Ram Ladoo
Though with a name that is evocative of the gods, Ram ladoo are simply deep-fried fritters comprised of moong dal (yellow lentil and split chickpeas) and chana dal batter.
There are many kinds of Ladoo, mainly sweet varieties.
Ram ladoo is most often served with radish and sour chutney and a squeeze of lime juice, making for a perfect warm winter snack.
It’s unknown when or where ram ladoo first appeared, but it’s seen as particularly iconic on the streets of Old Delhi, where dedicated wallahs serve them across the city.
26. Ras Malai
A popular dessert, ras malai is made from flattened curds (or chhana) split from milk through heat and lime juice.
With the whey separated the curds are then kneaded into dough, before being soaked in clotted cream (malai) flavored with cardamom.
Ras malai comes from the Subcontinent’s East, either from the states of West Bengal or Odish or from over the border in Bangladesh, possibly by famous Bengali industrialist and sweet maker, K. C. Das.
27. Mutton Rolls
Usually associated with Sri Lanka, and more specifically its Tamil community, mutton rolls are said to have come to the Isle of Serendipity from China via ancient traders. They are a favorite snack in Kolkata.
Based on the spring roll, mutton rolls bind mutton and vegetable curry up in a white flour roll.
The roll is then dunked in a mixture of egg and breadcrumbs before being deep-fried until golden brown.
Frequently Asked Questions about Indian Street Food
What is the most popular street food in India?
There is no Indian survey to give a definite answer, by Aloo Tikki is consistently rated among the most popular street foods in India by food and travel writers.
What are popular Indian snacks?
Popular Indian snacks include tea, samosa, pakora, Khatta Dhokla, chai and chaat.
What is Indian street food called?
There are dozens of common street foods with names like pakroa, kebab, rolls, tikki, puri, and pav.
How much is street food in India?
Street food is priced per platter, at about 80 Rs per dish.
How much is a meal in India?
Breakfast costs less than lunch and dinner. Lunch and dinner for most travelers averages to 187 Rs per meal and 468 Rs per day.
Is street food in Indian safe?
Like all street foods, the food needs to be freshly prepared, thoroughly cooked through or boiled, and eaten almost immediately.
Refrigeration cannot be relied upon and so ice cream and other frozen desserts, as well as beverages that have not been boiled or freshly squeezed (and mixed with unboiled water) should be treated with suspicion.
Which fast food is most popular in India?
What is Mumbai’s famous food?
Fast food such as pattice, Bombay sandwich, Bhel Puri and Akuri are some of the most famous street food in Mumbai.
What is the popular sweet dish of Mumbai?
Further Links and Resources
- See all of the best things to do in India, from Get Your Guide
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- Read about the best Tokyo Street Foods and the best Korean Street Foods.
- Read all about Myanmar (Burmese) cuisine
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