The cuisine of Delhi came to be heavily influenced by the Mughal era, when the dynasty chose to make this city its capital. The Mughals brought Islamic influence to the Delhi cuisine, which especially can be seen reflected in the non-vegetarian dishes. Delhi has been ruled successively by the Rajputs, Arabs, Afghanis, Mughals and the English, and even if they don’t exist in the city anymore, their cuisine is well preserved. In addition, one can find international cuisine like Thai, Lebanese, Chinese, Israeli, Italian, Indonesian, Spanish, Mexican, French, Moroccan and Swiss very easily. As a result, even the traditional food of New Delhi has no distinctiveness. It comprises of South Indian food, Punjabi food, Gujarati food, Rajasthani food and so on.
For instance, Chandni Chowk area of the city boasts of the most delicious ‘Paranthas’. Infact, the entire area of Old Delhi is famous for the local Delhi cuisine. Then, there is the Bengali Market in New Delhi that is very popular for ‘Papri Chaats’, ‘Golgappas’, ‘Sweets’ etc. However, there are certain food items for which Delhi is quite famous.
Punjabi Foods at Delhi
Tandoori food, rich and succulent, cooked in hot clay ovens is a Punjabi speciality. The "Paranthewali Gali" in Old Delhi is famous for different kinds of ‘Paranthas’. The layered parantha - a type of bread fried on a griddle, is said to have been officially brought to Delhi by the Punjabis.
Mughlai Foods at Delhi
The best place to eat Mughlai food is in the Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk area. Places like "Karim’s and Babu Khan’s" near Jama Masjid, "Kallu’s Halim" near Gali Chitli Qabar and "Nalli Nahari" in Beradari, beyond Ballimaran, for Mughlai food just like it was in the good old days of the emperors. The reason for this is that most of the families who own these restaurants in Old Delhi are descendants of the royal cooks who used to serve in the kitchens of the Mughal emperors. They take fierce pride in having successfully preserved the culture of the Mughlai cuisine in face of the Tandoori onslaught.
Sweets at Delhi
Delhi’s oldest known sweet shop is "Ghantewala" which started business in 1790. Down the centuries, it has remained in the same family and is now in the hands of the 11th generation. The Ghantewala Halwai is celebrated for its ‘Sohan Halwa’, a sweet made from dry fruits, sprouts and sugar.
Street Food of Delhi
Delhi is also very popular for its roadside vendors that serve mouth-watering local cuisine. The range covers ‘Chaat’, ‘Corn on the Cob’, ‘Pakoras’, ‘Sandwiches’ and many varieties of local ice cream and fruit juices. ‘Thandai’ -a traditional iced syrup is a must try in the summer months.