Take a stroll away from the smart restaurants and you can often find some of the best food you’ll ever eat. Street food is the only food some people ever eat in India. They street vendors are effectively their restaurants to them. Some have one or two rickety chairs and tables; for others you have to grab and go. Ask and of the vendors why their food is so good and they’ll tell you: “we don’t need rules and regulations. If our food is not healthy and tasty we will lose our customers. They are the only rules we need. Next time you are in India skip the tablecloths and fancy waiters and yourself down the streets for some proper treats. Until then why not try these five favourites at home…
Here are Five Best Indian Street Foods
1. Kathi Roll (Calcutta)
The famous Kathi Rolls are from the streets of Calcutta in West Bengal but they are now famous all over the world. The rolls are ideal for commuters eating on the go and would traditionally have included meat, fried onion and spices in a paratha. Today Kathi Roll has become a catch-up phrase for any spicy wrap, so you are likely to find it will all sorts of fillings.
2. Roasted corn (Goa)
Roasted Corn is a simple street snack you’ll find all over the sub-continent and it’s delicious rubbed with grainy salt and spice. For that delicious roasted taste the vendors briefly finish cooking the corn in the coals, leaving the leaves on the corn to protect it. You can cook on the barbecue at home or try to replicate the taste under the grill. On the street it’s eaten with your hands, of course.
3. Tali Machli (Maharashtra)
Tali Machli (Spicy Fried Fish) is a popular street food snack eaten all over India but is especially popular in coastal Maharashtra. It’s lightly spiced so you don’t need a sauce, which makes it ideal for eating on the move, but it’s also delicious with your favourite chutney or pickle.
4. Bunny Chow (Durban)
Ok, you won’t find this in India but you street food lovers must try this! It’s simple, it’s rustic and it’s tasty… it’s a Bunny Chow! You’ll find someone selling them on every street corner in Durban, South Africa. Ideal for that steamy tropical climate, yet also great comfort food for cold winters. Cut off the bottom of a loaf, scoop out the white stuff leaving a crust shell. Fill with hot chicken curry (don’t forget the sauce now), settle down and use the bread you scooped out to mop up and eat your curry. No cutlery permitted. Durbanite and Bunny Chow lover Richard says bunnies are best eaten sitting cross-legged while staring at the Indian Ocean with a bottle of ice-cold Coke by your side.
5. Chicken Tikka (North India)
You may know it as the archetypal restaurant starter but there are not many more popular dishes on the street than Chicken Tikka. The stalls are filled with long skewers hanging ready for customers. But few hang there for long as they are soon snapped up and eaten on the go with hot chapatis by the hungry customers. Cooked in makeshift tandoors, often no more than a old drum that’s been coated on the inside with thick concrete to hold the heat, the chefs are kept busy from one morning till the early hours of the next.