Walking around in the congested lanes of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi can be a daunting task in the summers. So while you are here, we suggest you try out some real cool options, for which the area is known for — eat and drink! From chilled dahi bhalla (made at a shop that’s been around since 1940) to the special kulfi (made by a local family), you can sample some real good eatables in this area at affordable prices. Take a dekko yourself.
Dry fruit kulfi
What better way to beat the Delhi heat than by savouring this desi ice cream? While walking down the super-crowded streets of Chandni Chowk on a hot summer afternoon, pick up a kulfi to cool you down. It’s easier to walk around with a kulfi stick in your hand than with a loaded plate of eatable. Try the pista kulfi sold at the mobile carts, priced at Rs. 10 a piece. You can find another popular kulfiwalla right outside Nataraj dahi bhalla shop. With two options to choose from, one can go for kulfi faluda (Rs30) or a stick kulfi (Rs 15).
This desi form of lemonade — a sweetened soda bottle — is popularly known as bunta or kancha in Delhi. The bottle has a marble that works as a cork and is a best-seller in this part of Old Delhi. The drink is mixed with ice chunks and a special masala that gives it a distinct flavour. To make your own bunta at home, you can buy this masala here at Rs. 30 (200gm). The drink comes in two varieties — salted and sweet. Try chilled lemonade for Rs. 25 at Pandit Ved Prakash Lemon Wale located at Dariba Kalan, opposite Sis Ganj Gurudwara.
The juice extracted from the bael fruit, is a big hit with people who frequent this market. High in roughage, the orange-coloured sweet juice has a cooling effect. To serve it cool, the thick pulpy juice is stored in a huge clay pot. “Bael juice helps in combating heat strokes. I make it a point to make my daughters drink this juice, whenever we come here to shop in the afternoon,” says Kalpana Jain, 34. You are likely to spot the vendor at Fatehpuri Chowk.
This traditional summer cooler has a cooling effect, and comes loaded with the healthy properties of mint. Garnished with special spices, this tangy drink comes in two sizes — small for Rs. 5 and large for Rs. 10. It’s a must-try while you are in Chandni Chowk. The drink, served in a glass (a disposable one only on request), is garnished with gram flour pakori. You can munch on these small particles, as you enjoy this refreshing drink. You are likely to spot many vendors selling jaljeera in the market. We spotted this vendor near the Town Hall area.
Natraj dahi bhalla
Don’t be surprised to see a big crowd outside this stall, all shoving and pulling. All they are jostling for is a plate of dahi bhalla, sold here for R30. Established in the 40s, this shop is a hit during summers. The plate of sweetened curd comes with two water-soaked spongy bhalle, garnished with tamarind chutney. “Our dahi bhalla is almost synonymous to Chandni Chowk,” says Inder Bhai, the owner of the shop. You can also try their desi ghee tikki for Rs. 30.
Two lassi joints — Amritsari Lassiwalla (established in 1974) and Meghraj (been there since 1900) near Fatehpuri Masjid — are the most popular lassi shops here. Meghraj’s lassi, priced at Rs. 30, is a mix of yoghurt and sugar. The adjacent Amritsari lassi stall has a lot of flavours to choose from — mango, rose, banana, saffron, cumin, often garnished with chopped almonds.
A fine mix of lemon, spices and chilled sweetened water (with chunks of ice) makes shikanji a true summer thirst-quencher. We sipped a big glass of the drink, priced at R10, and it gave us a kick, literally! This mobile shikanji-selling cart has no fixed address. If you are lucky, you might find his cart parked at the Nai Sadak area, amidst the busy shops selling second hand books. The vendor has a trash bin attached to the cart.
Keep in mind
Before you gorge on these street food, just remember that it’s not for those who’re prone to Delhi Belly!Keep an eye on your valuables; the market has a fair share of pick-pockets
Nearest Metro station: Chandni Chowk on the