Delhi is the most hectic city I have been in, there is no doubt about that. It’s hard to find your way as there are no street signs (anywhere), but thanks to the good old Google offline Maps Claire and I managed to find our way. We had a few recommendations of places to eat in Delhi given to us by Divya Mohan from @myasianfoodstory and we researched some ourselves. We mostly walked in Delhi, taking in the complete intensity of the life on the street. Although we weren’t in a rush to see all the highlights the city has to offer, we managed to visit a few and find something (delicious) and cheap to eat nearby.
Aslam’s Butter Chicken
Near the Jama Masjid Mosque
In Delhi, most of the time you have no idea what’s going on. Even though a place can be perfectly pinpointed on a map, it is easily possible to pass a place three times without noticing it because of the chaos around you and the overwhelming number of signs. Aslam’s Butter Chicken, also known as Aslam’s Chicken Shop, is no exception. At first it looks like a small place, but in the back is a narrow staircase that leads you up to the 4 floors this restaurants is spread across.
You will be ushered to an available seat, but don’t expect a menu. A bottle a coke with cups is placed on you table, but you can refuse if you want something else to drink. We were also shown a random ready-made dish (some kind of kebab) but when we said we wanted butter chicken the dish was taken back or given to someone else (I guess that’s how it goes in India). The butter chicken showed up quickly and was deliciously greasy and full of flavour (but not too spicy).
2-person bowl of chicken, roti, side salad and bottle of water — 250 Rupee (€3.50 or $3.70)
Cafeteria Awadhi Andaaz
Near Raj Ghat
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet in Delhi, the Raj Ghat is a good place to be. It is the place where Mahatma Gandhi has been cremated, and surrounding this site is a park with plenty of grass to sit on. Children fly their kites, couples come here to chat and groups of boys and girls come here to chat and gossip (I don’t know who gossips more). Just across the road from the park is a simple but friendly cafeteria, where you can get decent food for very low prices. There are English menus and there is table service with some helpful waiters. We ate here twice as we enjoyed chilling in the park for a few hours, away from the city’s noise.
1 Masala Dosa to share, 4 small cups of Chai, 1 Lassi and a bottle of water — 146 rupee (€2.00 or $2.20)
Sitaram Diwan Chand
Near the budget accomodations area
When you are travelling on a budget in Delhi, good chance you will stay in the old part of Delhi, which is definitely the most hectic. We stayed in a hotel near the west side of the New Delhi train station, in an area with amusing hotel names such as ‘Hotel Millenium 2000 Deluxe’, ‘Relax Hotel’, ‘Hotel Cottage Good Day’ and ‘Metropolis Tourist Home’. When we walked down towards the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara (Delhi’s Sikh Temple) we stopped by a place which had some good online reviews.
Sitaram Diwan Chand is a fast-paced eatery where you will eat your food standing up, as there are no places to sit down. You will have to eat what you’re given here; you pay upfront and get a token, which you can exchange for a plate of Chole Bhature. This is a combination of Chana Masala and fried bread called Bhatoora from India. Chole Bhatura is a world famous recipe from the Punjabi Cuisine. Chole is a spicy curry made from white chickpeas where as Bhatura is a fried leavened bread. Don’t worry, you’ll love it!
Chole Bhature — 60 rupee (€0.85 or $0.90)
Natraj Dahibhalla (Natraj Cafe)
Near the Red Fort
The area around the Red Fort is one of the most hectic ones in the whole city. We decided to walk there from the Old Delhi train station, as we had some time to kill before our train journey out of Delhi. On the way we stopped by the Natraj Dahibhalla (or Natraj Cafe), a popular corner food stall. In the morning and early afternoon you can get Dahi Bhalla, which are lentil-based fritters dunked in yoghurt and chutney sauce. The combination of the last two give it an interesting mix of sweet and spicy flavors. In the late afternoon/evening you can get a Aloo Tikki, a North Indian recipe for potato patties with a spicy chickpea curry, which on the way back (we passed the place again) looked delicious as well.
Dahi Bhalla — 50 rupee (€0.70 or $0.75)
Andhra Bhawan Canteen
Close to India Gate
This is definitely one of those places we would never have found if it wasn’t for the recommendation we got. After a stroll in a long stretch of park to the west of the India Gate we arrived at this place too early; it opens from 7:30pm. We strolled around some more and found ourselves passing the German Goethe institute, where they happen to show a free outdoor movie in German with English subtitles (Hotel Lux, great movie by the way). We strolled back again and entered the canteen (after a not-so-thorough security check of my bag).
A pleasant, bustling vibe filled the hall. We pay the fee for “unlimited Thali” (I like the sound already) and sit down. Soon a metal plate arrives with rice, roti and small side-dish sized curries. Soooo good! They weren’t kidding with the “unlimited” either, every few minutes someone comes by with a big pan offering everyone rice, roti and side-dishes.
Unlimited Thali — 120 rupee (€1.70 or $1.80)