The food served in the fanciest of restaurants usually is never able to match the flavours of street food for the simple reason that after all street food evolved on the streets!
Can you imagine Mumbai without its street food- vada pao, bhelpuri, franky, Bombay sandwich? Or Kolkata without puckha, kathi roll, guguni, mughlai paratha as the street food? Or for that matter Delhi which has street food corners at every lane selling chola kulcha, chola bhatura, momos, parathas ? Hyderabad is not Hyderabad without people thronging street food joints to eat lukmi (a minced mutton samosa), shawarma, variety of dosas, bhajjis and punugulu (little fried dal fritters)! Lucknawi street food for me means galawati kebabs, nihari, kulcha, makhan malai, kachori aloo and jalebi! No trip to the mountains is complete without eggs, maggi and parathas, all of which are made best by street food vendors.
You may go and order all this in an upmarket restaurant but you can’t deny the fact that the food served there never matches the bold and robust flavours of the food served on the streets. That is because India eats on its streets. The actual local food of a city packed with authentic flavours is never found in the fine dining restaurants but on the streets, where the true craftsmen are found. Most of them have been using the same recipes for generations and take pride in guarding their secret recipes- after all that is what makes all the difference.
The flavours on Indian streets are absolutely unbeatable. The joy of biting into something hot and crispy, laden with masalas on a noisy chaotic street bustling with activity is what completes the experience of eating street food in India. There is nothing that represents the rich and diverse fabric of Indian cuisine as well as street food. Street food in India is not just about the diverse ingredients and techniques but it encapsulates within itself the history of the city along with story of the people behind it, sometimes as old as 100 years if not older. These stories are usually about the eureka moment of the dish and its evolution over the years!
What would Delhi be without Chandni Chowk, Bombay without Chowpatty, Lucknow without Chowk, Hyderabad without Old city, Indore without Sarafa Bazaar and Kolkata without Darce Lane (this is just a super short list), or what would India be without its street food!
Every time you travel never forget to eat the local street food because remember you haven’t visited a place if you didn’t eat in its street!