There is no singular gastronomic identity of Delhi as there are no cuisines specific to Delhi. With the history of people who occupied the city and various dynasties that ruled over it, the palette of cuisines that Delhi has on offer today has adapted itself. The various dynasties have left their marks on the cuisine of the present day Delhi. The most famous mark being of the Mughal dynasty. Some of the dishes which are adapted from the Mughal kitchens are nihari, biryani, kulfi. One of the most famous restaurants in old Delhi for non vegetarian delicacies, Karim’s has its history with the Mughal empire. Hajji Karimuddin, the son of a Mughal cook, Mohammed Aziz, started the restaurant in 1913. Not only Karim’s, a lot of other restaurants in the old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area have a long history. A walk through the lanes and bylanes will most certainly surprise and tempt the visitor for a quick bite.
There are however a few dishes Delhi is quite popular for:
1. Paranthas: The Delhiites love their paranthas which is evident by the fact that there’s a whole market dedicated to it. Called the Paranthe wali Gali, in Chandni Chowk serves all kinds of paranthas imaginable to the human mind. Political stalwarts like Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee were regulars here.
2. Butter Chicken: Butter chicken originated in Delhi and in an odd manner. The cooks at Moti Mahal Restaurant accidentally tossed chicken into a pot containing butter, tomato puree, Chicken kabab and emerged a new dish, the famed butter chicken.
3. Chole Bhatoore: A must try combination. Any Delhiite will take Chole Bhatoore over any other dish when it comes to breakfast.
4. Chaat: The Delhi wallahs swear by their chaat. The options in this lipsmacking street food are aplenty, from gol gappe to papdi chhaat, fresh fruit chaat. Extremely easy to find and indulge.
5. Kulfi: Originated during the Mughal empire, it the traditional ice cream of the Indian subcontinent. Like many popular Delhi foods, the options are abundant. The traditional ones are cream, rose, mango, cardamom, saffron, and pistachio. There are newer variations such as apple, orange, strawberry, peanut, and avocado. A great desert to experiment flavors with.