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A Guide to Eating and Drinking in New Delhi

Hot Chilli Peppers

In many ways, eating out in New Delhi is precisely the ‘typical experience’ backpackers in India should be looking for. While there are plenty of upmarket restaurants, the emphasis is rather more on noisy, chaotic, delicious and (best of all) cheap street food.

Delhi is a huge city where finding something to eat can seem a little daunting, so it’s a good idea to break it down into a series of bite-sized(!) chunks. The best place to start is probably over to the north of the city in the Main Bazaar of Paharganj, before moving into neighboring Ram Nagar.

From ‘parantha’ and ‘golgappas’ to ‘samosas’ and ‘jalebi’, the range of dishes on offer will satisfy even the most daring of diners. Here, too, amidst the shoving crowds and the noise of the rickshaws, you can settle down over a cup of ‘chai’ (spiced Indian tea) and watch the crowds.

A little to the east of the center, the Bengali Market is one of the best places to try the local take on ‘chaat’. Essentially a variety of light dishes (generally wrapped up in pastry), ‘chaat’ is a quintessential dining experience, as well as a great vegetarian option in Delhi.

Although Old Delhi (to the north) is the better - and more authentic - option for street food, it’s perhaps best tried only by those travelers with truly iron stomachs! Snaking in every direction from its central artery, Chandni Chowk is a heaving mass of cheap stalls perfect for the adventurous.

For something a little more refined, Connaught Place, at the heart of the new town, is packed with some of the smartest places to eat in New Delhi. Here, the ‘dhabas’ (which stand alongside a wide range of Western-style fast-food joints) offer spectacular views across the city.

After a while, though, most backpackers will almost certainly find themselves longing for the din and squalor of the streets. That, after all, is why they’ve come to New Delhi: for its unique atmosphere and the sense of unending spectacle that comes along with it.

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