October 3, 2016 7:46 am
Infamous Delhi belly is every traveller’s worry, and, if you’re unlucky, eventuality, when landing in India. Brushing your teeth with bottled water, being wary of quiet food vendors and wondering how long pre-cooked foods have been sat in the sun become everyday worries and matters to be cautious of. With these things in mind, we’ve actually managed to have some incredible food in our first two days in Delhi, setting particularly high standards for the rest of the trip.
All of the places we ate were by recommendation. Although it’s great to find good food and restaurants independently, it doesn’t hurt to get some advice at the start of a trip when you, and your insides, aren’t used to the food. Indian food also seems designed to be shared, particularly at dinnertime, so getting ourselves involved with a group of fellow hungry hostel-dwellers led to some top-notch shared dinners. Here’s some of the tasty dishes that have already wetted our Indian palate.
This was a local recommendation given to us by the staff at our hostel. We ended up eating samosa snacks and parathas breakfasts here (a second vote of favour was ticked in our minds when we realised that there was always a large number of locals around the restaurant), but the highlight was said hostel dinner. Most of the backpackers we met were new to Delhi like us, so choosing from an extensive foreign menu was treated with the utmost pressure and seriousness – no one wanted to make a bad choice, even if a mistake would only take the equivalent of £1 from their pocket. The Indian waiter in charge suggested that he choose a range of dishes for us to share, with chapatis and rice, to which we wilfully agreed. We were brought around six vegetarian dishes, each which was deliciously full of flavour and entirely satisfying, even for a gang of carnivores. We had daal, a red lentil daal, chickpea, paneer (Indian cheese), chilli and cashews, and mixed vegetables. The combination of textures, tastes and colours was not only a great introduction to authentic Indian cuisine, but a fun, unified experience to share with other travellers and an example of the generous sharing event that mealtimes can be at their best. As is also often the case, the restaurant itself was entirely humble and basic – the ideal location for a genuine taste of India.
Gali Parathas Wali, Chandini Chowk
This gem of an alley lies hidden behind the main bazaar of Old Delhi. It is easy to miss, but persevere and you will find a few local-filled restaurants selling what are believed to be some of the best parathas in town. Choose from a wide array of fillings for your bread, and receive it within moments on a thali dish of various dips and small curry portions. The turnaround is quick and the popularity evident, both of which promise your food will be well-placed on the freshness scale. Whilst good meals can by no means be judged on the length of the experience in Delhi, your happy pocket will say it all – just £0.60 for this filling and comforting lunch.
Sita Ram Diwan Chand
This was, admittedly, a Lonely Planet recommendation, but what are these things for if not to guide you to the best places? This breakfast location was packed with locals, and nice and simple given there was only one option. For 60 rupees we got two extra doughy parathas, and a chickpea and potato dish. Eating is done whilst standing around steel counters with other customers, adding further authenticity to a delicious breakfast. This place is definitely worth the journey, for both food and atmosphere.