For the past two years or so I’ve been a regular in Old Delhi, delighting in the wonderful street food – most weeks I’m either checking up on a new dish, gorging on an old favourite, begging for recipes or stocking up on crockery for our Uparwali Chai tea parties. We always take visitors for a quick spin and recently I’ve been doing a few food tours too.
Whatever the excuse (and I need very little excuse to jump on the Metro to Chawri Bazaar), there are a couple of places I always visit. At Bade Mian in Lal Kuan I scoop up a week’s supply of the best kheer (rice pudding) in town; I never miss korma at Ashok and Ashok; I gorge on Daulat ki Chaat whenever it’s in season and I always, always come back with a big bag of sticky, sweet, still-warm jalebis from Old and Famous Jalebiwala.
All of these I have written about droolingly, except one. Amazingly, I have never mentioned Old and Famous. Time to make amends.
I recently put together this street food list for The Guardian newspaper to coincide with the Commonwealth Games. I’m not sure how many athletes or officials have managed to get beyond the Games Village canteen to sample Delhi’s incredible street food but for anyone intrigued by Delhi’s wonderful street food, these are just a few of my all time favourites.
Best korma: Ashok and Ashok
If you only eat out once during your stay in Delhi, head for Ashok and Ashok: the chicken and mutton kormas here have been known to make grown men crumple. As well as boasting an edgy gangster heritage, A&A make chicken korma every day, mutton korma on Wednesday and Saturday (invariably sold out an hour after opening at 1pm) and biryani. The meat just melts, hinting at a magical mystery masala (apparently up to 30 different spices), pistachios, and a devilish pact with the ghee (clarified butter) tin.