72 Indian street food dishes you absolutely have to try

Street food is an essential part of experiencing a new destination and its diverse culture but in India, street food is something more than just that. Here, Indian street food is a way of life. Every region, state, and even city has its own delicacies that are adored by locals that will tell you that the street food in their town is better than anything else you might try in India. And they are all right.

Most Indian street food dishes consist of simple, easy-to-make dishes but that doesn’t mean that they won’t explode releasing an array of rich, exotic flavors in your mouth and leave you craving for more. India is like a giant, tasty labyrinth whose only exit is to eat your way out.

I spent a year in India and was fortunate enough to travel across the country and taste hundreds of different Indian street food dishes and in this article, I’ll share my 74 favorites. I know it’s very long, but if it was shorter it wouldn’t do any justice to the dishes that would get leaved out. So from the delicious cheeses of Kashmir to the Dosas of Tamil Nadu, here are the best street food dishes in India.

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Indian Street Food that’s popular around the country

Panipuri

Where to find it?

Across India.

pani puri

Pani Puri is one of the most popular street foods on the Indian subcontinent. It consists of round flatbreads (called puri) stuffed with a mix of chickpeas, onions, potatoes, chutney, chaat masala, chutney, and soupy water (pani). The mix of the ingredients, as well as the name of the dish varies from state to state. In Uttar Pradesh, this dish is known as Golgappa, in West Bengal, Phuchka, in Central India, it’s called Gup Chup, etc. Another popular Indian street food that you can find in all parts of the country is…

Aloo Chaat

Where to find it?

Across India.

aloo chaat

This simple potato-based snack is beloved everywhere on the subcontinent from Pakistan to Tamil Nadu and from Gujarat to Bangladesh. You can find an aloo chaat stall in pretty much every city in India. Aloo chaat is made by frying cubed potatoes and adding chutney and a myriad of local spices that vary from city to city. It’s a perfect snack for any part of the day and is super tasty.

Samosa

Where to find it?

Across India.

Samosa is India’s most popular baked pastry and it’s so popular that you can find it in a lot of other places, like Burma, Indonesia, and even the southern and western parts of Africa. The pastry is stuffed with spiced potatoes, onions, peas, and lentils, and it comes in different shapes; triangular, half-moon, and cone, depending on the region. This delicious treat also happens to be one of the oldest snacks in the world.

Do you enjoy exploring foreign exotic cuisines while traveling? Then you’ll definitely love our list of the best restaurants in Vientiane.

Honey chili potato

Where to find it?

Across India.

This crispy-fried spicy potato dish cooked with bell peppers in a sweet and spicy sauce is one of the most popular Indo-Chinese snacks and appetizers. Honey chili potato originally derives from China but India’s version is just as tasty, if not tastier than its Chinese counterpart. It’s a perfect beer snack and a great appetizer because its perfect mix of sweet and spicy is a great appetite stimulant.

Lassi

Where to find it?

Across India.

lassi

This refreshing, creamy drink is a mix of yogurt, water, spices, and/or fruits. It can be salty or sweet but you can also find different versions around India. Not only is lassi super-tasty but it’s also a great drink after a spicy meal because it contains a high amount of casein, a protein that removes the effects of capsaicin (that chilies component that makes you feel like you’re about to turn into a dragon and start spitting fire).  

Paan

Where to find it?

Across India.

paan indian street food

This simple snack is a local favorite not only across India but also in parts of Southeast Asia as well. Paan consists of an areca nut and berries, accompanied by different spices, wrapped in a betel leaf. But paan is more than just a snack. A lot of people also use it as a breath freshener, palate cleanser (supposedly, it’s great for digestion), and some people even use it due to its psychoactive effects. As you’ll see below, there are different variations of paan in different parts of India.

Now that we covered some of the street food dishes that are popular in all parts of India, let’s see which are some of the most popular street food snacks in different regions.

The best North Indian street food

Chole Bhature

Where to find it?

Across India but for the best chole bhature, head to Punjab.

chola bature

What started as a quick snack available on street food stalls across Uttar Pradesh has quickly taken India by storm and can now be found pretty much anywhere. Chole bhature is a combo of chana masala and hot bhatura (fried bread made from maida). The dish is simple to make, tastes good, and is super cheap, hence, it’s no surprise that it became popular so quickly, especially in Punjab where you can find the best chole bhature in India.

Aloo Tikki

Where to find it?

Pretty much anywhere in North and West India, but for the best aloo tikki, head to Lucknow.

aloo tikki

When it comes to potato-based Indian street food, aloo tikki tops the charts. This delicious treat consists of bite-size potato pieces combined with tamarind, coriander, and chutney that will cause an incredible taste sensation in your mouth even though hearing the ingredients might not make you think so.

Siddu

Where to find it?

Anywhere in the state of Himachal Pradesh, but for the best sidu, head to Manali.

siddu Indian street food

Sidu is an absolute favorite in Himachal Pradesh and if you try it, you’ll soon realize why. This wheat flour bread is the perfect winter snack (and winters in Himachal get pretty cold). Siddu is mostly served as a side dish but locals like to have it as a snack too. It’s usually served with ghee, green chutney, or meat curry.

Kalari Kulcha

Where to find it?

Anywhere in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

kalari kulcha

Kalari is a tasty local cheese that can be found in Jammu and Kashmir. The cheese is sauteed in its own fat and is traditionally made from full-fat milk that’s separated using soured milk. Kalari kulcha is a round baked bread split open and filled with this cheese. It’s one of the most popular snacks in Kashmir but unfortunately, due to the isolation of this state, you can’t get it in a lot of other places.

Tunday Kebab

Where to find it?

In several different places around India, but for the best tunday kebab, head to Lucknow.

tunde kebab

Kebabs are probably the most relished non-vegetarian street food dish in Uttar Pradesh and the tunday kebab is the best of the best. This dish was invented to satisfy the culinary cravings of a dying Mughal emperor and was originally made by Haji Murad Ali, a one-handed chef which is why this kebab is called tunday kebab (tunde in Hindi means one-handed). This is definitely the softest kebab I have ever tried. In fact, it’s so soft that it can even give a foodgasm to a toothless person.

Aloo Ke Gutke

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Uttarakhand.

aloo ke gutke

Aloo ke gutke is one of the best kept-secrets of Paharian cuisine. It’s a potato-based dish that looks similar to aloo chaat but it actually tastes very different. The dish consists of potato cubes that are fried in mustard oil with red chilies and coriander. If you’re visiting Uttarakhand, this is one dish you absolutely can’t miss.

Nagori Halwa Bedmi Puri

Where to find it?

Mostly in North India, but for the best Nagori Halwa Bedmi Puri, head to Delhi.

indian street food

Nagori halwa bedmi puri actually consists of two different dishes that when combined together make one of the most popular local breakfasts in Delhi. The dish consists of a soft puri-like bread made of wheat flour filled with dal and a sweet-spicy potato gravy. This seemingly odd mix causes a flavorful sensation as soon as you smell it and once you try it, you might get addicted.

Daulat Ki Chaat

Where to find it?

Mostly in North India, but just like the previous dish, this is also a popular Delhi delicacy.

If nagori halwa bedmi puri is Delhi’s favorite breakfast, then daulat ki chaat is probably Delhi’s favorite dessert. Unfortunately, this dish ultra-delicious creamy souffle is only available during the winter months (November-February). The dessert dish is made of raw milk mixed with cream. The mix needs 8-10 hours of cooling before it’s manually whisked until it becomes light and frothy. Finally, the milk mix is blended with khoya, saffron, and chenna before getting its final form.

Kachori

Where to find it?

Anywhere in North India, but the dish originates from Uttar Pradesh.

kachori

Kachori is usually made from maida but comes with different feelings in different regions with the most common ones being onion, potato, dal, and peas. This crunchy, deep-friend treat filled with hot gravy and spicy chutneys doesn’t look very appetizing but you’ll change your mind as soon as you taste it. After all, this Uttar Pradesh-originated dish spread like wildfire due to its unique taste and it’s even famous in most of West and East India, and even in parts of South India. In places like Rajasthan, there are even different variations of this popular dish, such as…

Nasirabaad Ka Kachori

Where to find it?

In Nasirabaad, Rajasthan.

kachori Indian street food

Even though kachoris originate from UP, they’re mega-popular in Rajasthan. That’s why, here, you can find a lot of crazy variations like the Nasirabaad ka kachori. This dish is the pride of the city of Nasirabaad. It’s very similar to the regular kachori but the main difference is that this kachori is giant and served with tamarind chutney.

Mirchi Pakoda

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Rajasthan but for the best one, head to Jodhpur.

mirchi pakoda

Mirchi Pakoda is a popular Rajasthani ‘fast Indian street food’ that is usually eaten as a side dish or a snack. The dish consists of a crispy, deep-fried coating stuffed with green chilies and potato or paneer. Combine it with some of the tasty local chutneys and you have one of the tastiest snacks of Rajasthan.

Matar Kulcha

Where to find it?

Mostly in North India, but the best one can be found at the markets of Delhi.

matar kulcha

In Hindi, matar means beans and kulcha is a type of flatbread. Together, they constitute one of Delhi’s most popular street food delicacies. The combination of a hot, soft flatbread and a juicy gravy garnished with tomato slices, ginger, and juliennes is guaranteed to enchant your taste buds.

Bhalla Papdi

Where to find it?

Across North India, but you’ll find the best bhalla papdi in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

bhala papdi

This sweet and sour dish is much more than just a popular Indian street food dish. You can see Bhalla papdi everywhere- on weddings, family functions, people’s homes, and of course on the street food stalls. The dish consists of a vada soaked in a thick mixture of spices, cashew nuts, and curd, topped with green and sweet tamarind chutney. You’ll inevitably notice this distinctive dish on any street and its appetizing look will make you try it sooner or later, so don’t try to resist.

Lakhanpur Bhalle

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir.

Apart from bad roads, long queues of trucks waiting for clearance and dusty streets, there’s another thing that makes Lakhanpur special. It’s bhalle; a delicious fried snack made of pulses served with shredded radish and the inevitable green chutney.

Chicken Tikka

Where to find it?

Across India, but the best chicken tikka comes from the place this dish originates from- the state of Punjab.

No list of the best Indian street food can be complete without chicken tikka. This ultra-popular street consists of small pieces of grilled marinated chicken and it’s served either as a wrap, on a stick, or in a gravy. But whatever the serving is, chicken tikka is extremely flavorful and there’s a good reason why it’s one of the most popular non-vegetarian dishes in the whole country.

Chicken Tikka can be found at street food stalls but also in a lot of restaurants. If you’re looking to prepare it as a main course dish, check out our recipe.

Fire Paan

Where to find it?

In numerous places around India with the most popular one being in CP, New Delhi.

The fire paan at the street food stall at Connaught Place in New Delhi are one of the most popular street food attractions. It’s just like a regular paan flavored with a fruit/chocolate syrup set on fire and shoved in your mouth by the street food vendor. It certainly is one of the most unique street food experiences in India. Oh, and there’s also another frozen variation of this dish, perfect for Delhi’s ridiculously hot summers. 

Mutton Roll

Where to find it?

In numerous locations around India, but you’ll find the best mutton rolls in Lucknow.

by Sarkardurba02 CC by SA 4.0

If you’re looking for a warm, savory non-vegetarian dish that explodes releasing irresistible flavors in your mouth, look no further. You won’t find anything better than the mutton roll, one of the most popular mutton-based street food dishes in India. The roll is prepared on a large gril called Tawa and served with a side of vegetables and a lemon wedge. You can get mutton rolls in numerous different locations around India, but if you want the best of the best, definitely visit Lucknow.

The best East Indian street food

Kappa

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Meghalaya.

kappa Indian street food

Kappa is a traditional Meghalayan stew made of chicken entrails prepared with cooking soda and an array of fresh garden spices. The main dish is prepared with chicken but some people make it with pork and buff too. The dish originates from the Garo tribe but nowadays it’s one of the most popular dishes in the entire state.

Singju

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Manipur.

by Punshiba18 CC by SA 3.0

This Meitei-originated dish has been widely adopted by most ethnic communities in the state of Manipur. Singju has a vegetarian and non-vegetarian version with the latter one being far more popular and the former one being reserved only for religious rituals where fish and meat is not allowed. The non-vegetarian version includes fermented fish, chilies, and an array of local seasonal vegetables and the vegetarian version has perilla seeds and chana powder instead of fish.

Shapale

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Sikkim.

Shapale is a meat pie that originates from Tibet that looks like a large deep-fried momo. The exterior is crunchy while the interior is gooey, filled with meat that melts as soon as it touches your mouth. This Sikimmese ‘street food bestseller’ is usually served with red hot chili sauce and a rutang soup (made from bony meats).

Pork Bharta

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Tripura.

pork food

Pork Bharta is one of the most popular dishes in Tripura. As the name suggests, the main ingredient is pork and the dish is prepared by boiling pork pieces mixed with chilies, ginger, a local plant leaf, and of course onions. Being so easy to make yet tasty, it’s easy to see how this dish became omnipresent on every street around Tripura.

Mishti Doi

Where to find it?

In numerous places around India but for the best one, definitely visit Kolkata.

This tastebud-tickling fermented sweet is West Bengal’s favorite for a good reason. Mishti doi is prepared by boiling the milk until it becomes thick, after which it’s sweetened with sugar and left to ferment overnight. The dish is prepared and served in earthenware because it makes it easier for the water to evaporate and thicken the milk. Before trying it, be careful; its sweet and sour taste might make you addicted and leave you craving for more.

Arsa Buhchiar

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Mizoram.

Indian street food

In Mizoram, Arsa Bunchiar is a lot more than just street food. It’s one of the most basic local staples. The dish is basically an advanced chicken porridge enriched with spicy rice and a mix of local Mizo herbs. When traveling to Mizoram, trying this dish is practically inevitable.

Kinalas

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Nagaland.

Naga cuisine is all about beef and pork and this stew is a proof of that. This juicy broth is made of beef/pork head and other entrails enhanced with brown sauce and a bunch of local spices and herbs. I know that hearing what the actual ingredients are doesn’t make this dish appetizing at all but no trip to Nagaland is complete without at least trying kinalas.

Ghugni Chaat

Where to find it?

Anywhere in West Bengal.

ghugni chaat

When it comes to street food in the eastern and northeastern parts of India, this list couldn’t be complete without ghugni chaat. This popular street food dish consists of dried white peas soaked in a delicious gravy and topped with some fresh vegetables and local herbs. The snack is 100% vegan and it’s one of the healthiest choices when it comes to street food.

Egg Rolls & Kathi Rolls

Where to find it?

Pretty much anywhere in India, but Kolkata is the absolute king of rolls.

indian food

No trip to Kolkata is complete without trying at least one of the city’s mouth-watering rolls. Rolls in Kolkata come in many different shapes, sizes, and variations, but the two most popular one are the egg roll (a soft bread mixed in a raw egg and filled with onions, chilies, cucumbers, and other vegetables spiced up with chaat masala, lime, and a few other spices)

 and the chicken kathi roll (a roll with a delicately-prepared filling of chicken kebab and raw veggies that’s a real treat not only for the stomach but for the eyes too).

Jhalmuri

Where to find it?

Mostly in West Bengal and numerous other places around East India.

Jhalmuri is another one of Kolkata’s on-the-go snacks that can be found at almost every corner pretty much anywhere in West Bengal and Bangladesh. This beloved snack includes puffed rice cooked in an assortment of spices, vegetables, and bhujia. The rice is cooked in raw mustard oil that makes the rice juicier and gives it a nice, pungent taste.

Momos

Where to find it?

Anywhere in India, but you’ll find the best momos in their ‘native country’, Sikkim.

momos indian street food

There’s a hard debate on the internet over where did momos originate from but everyone agrees that this is one of India’s favorite snacks. It has been widely accepted around India and north Indians have actually mastered the art of momo making to perfection and some of the momos in Delhi are almost as good as the ones you’ll get in Sikkim and the other northeast states. In case you don’t know what momos are, they are a tangy variation of hot dumplings filled with chicken, pork, beef, or veggies. Momos come in three variations; steamed, fried, and boiled but the most popular version is by far, the steamed one.

Chow Mein

Where to find it?

Anywhere in India but the best chow mein street food stalls can be found in East and Northeast India.

chow mein indian version

I know you might be thinking ‘isn’t chow mein Chinese?’ And yes you’re right, chow mein does originate from China. However, if you spent some time in India, you’ll know that all foreign food in India is doomed to be localized because of Indians’ infinite demands of giving the dish a local flavor. That’s why you get a spicy, rich-in onion pizza, only-chicken burgers with meat cooked in different kinds of masala, etc. A lot of these dishes don’t taste good to most foreigners, but chow mein is an exception. Similarly like the momos, the Indian rich-in-flavors version of chow mein is different but just as good as the original Chinese chow mein.

Thukpa Soup

Where to find it?

Mostly in Northeast India but you can also get it in different parts of the country.

thukpa soup

Thukpa is actually a Tibetian dish but the thukpa soup you get in Northeast India is slightly different but just as tasty. The soup is made of long, thick noodles, fresh vegetables, and strong local herbs and spices. The best place to try thukpa soup is probably the easternmost state in India, Arunachal Pradesh.

Khar

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Assam.

Khaar is an Assamese dish made from raw papaya, taro, ginger-garlic paste, and jackfruit seeds sprinkled with banana peel’s ash extract (surprisingly similar to sodium bicarbonate) that gives this dish a very inviting aroma that just adds to the already refreshing flavor.

Laksa

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Assam and the neighboring states.

laksa

When Assamese street food is the topic, Laksa simply can’t be forgotten. This delicious stew mixes thick noodles and rice, two of Assam’s favorite staples The soup is enriched with coconut milk, tamarind paste, fish paste, and a myriad of local spices and herbs to enhance the flavor. As you can see from the ingredients, this street food dish is actually very healthy.

Chikhvi

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Tripura

chikhvi

The northeast people love their bamboo shoots and pork and chikhvi is a prime example of this. Chikvi features the unavoidable pork pieces and bamboo shoots spiced with turmeric, rice flour paste, raw papayas, green chilies, and ginger and garlic pace. If you ever visit Tripura, your trip wouldn’t be complete without trying this aromatic dish.

Sanpiau

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Mizoram.

By now, you’re probably starting to understand the northeastern cuisine that mostly relies on rice, bamboo shoots, and local herbs and spices which makes northeastern street food a lot more healthy than its ‘mainland’ counterparts. Sianpiau is another healthy street food from the far northeast. It’s a type of rice porridge spiced up with black pepper, fish sauce and coriander paste and topped with spring onions. You can get this popular street food in almost every corner of Mizoram.

Litti Chokha

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Bihar and in some other parts of India.

Bihar might not be famous for its street food but the list of the best street food in East India wouldn’t be complete without Bihar’s simple yet delicious litt chokha. This spicy curry made from brinjal and mashed potato is served with litti and ghee and is enjoyed by locals for breakfast, dinner, and lunch.

The best Central Indian street food

Mutton Paya Soup

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Central India.

mutton paya soup

Mutton Paya is one of the oldest and most delicious treats of Central India and arguably the tastiest street food dish in this part of the country. As the name suggests, this soup is made of lamb leg that’s tenderized to perfection and added in a bowl of flavorful local spices. The dish can be found anywhere in Central India, from street food stalls to restaurants.

Poha – Jalebi

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Central and West India.

jalebi

If you know a thing or two about street food you’ll inevitably notice that this dish combines two seemingly incompatible dishes. Namely, poha is a spicy flattened rice dish while jalebi is one of the most popular and most sugary sweets you can ever find. It’s one of those dishes that you have to be extremely open-minded to try, but if you ever do this, you’ll be in for a treat. The mix of sweet and salty makes this dish arguably the most contrasting street food India has to offer and actually, the primary breakfast choice of most people in Madhya Pradesh.

Faraa

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Chhattisgarh.

Did you ever hear of steamed dumplings made of rice? This intriguing mix exists in Chhattisgarh, one of the least visited states in India. It looks like a chicken sausage, it feels like a momo, but it tastes different than anything you tried before. The recipe is relatively short but the dough preparation requires a lot of skill and patience which is more than enough to put this dish on the list of best street food dishes in India.

Ragi muddle

Where to find it?

In parts of Central and South India.

ragmi mudde

Ragi muddle is Andhra Pradesh’s favorite staple. The dish consists of crispy ragi balls dipped in a flavorful tomato gravy. The dish consists of ragi, a finger millet, and a muddle which is a moist ball. Ragi has been used in these parts of India as a budget alternative of grain for ages and throughout the years it became one of the most popular street food dishes in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh but a lot of people eat it as a full meal too.

The best West Indian street food

Bombay Duck

Where to find it?

In Mumbai.

bombay duck

I know what you might be thinking; duck meat is not very common in Indian cuisine. And you’re right. I can’t think of any dishes that contain duck meat. The truth is the Bombay duck doesn’t have any duck meat in it. It’s made of small strips of deep-fried fish prepared in red curry and lightly battered with a crispy exterior while remaining soft on the inside. This is one of the best seafood street food dishes in India and an absolute must when visiting Mumbai.

Dabeli

Where to find it?

In Gujarat, parts of Western India, and Bangalore.

The rest of India always jokes with the names Gujarati dishes have and it’s true; Guju foods sound a bit intimidating just like this one (Dabeli) but most of them are quite tasty. Dabeli is basically a spicy potato sandwich topped with crispy noodles, onions, and spicy peanuts served with namkeen. The dish preparation requires a special dabeli masala, garlic, and tamarind chutney and a flat barbecue called Tawa.

Bhelpuri 

Where to find it?

Anywhere in West India.

bhelpuri

I know it sounds like a cliché but bhelpuri is like a chaotic party of flavors inside your mouth. This west Indian snack might luck some things but flavors sure isn’t one of them. The dish is a strange mix of sweet, salty, and spicy combined in one delicious, 100% vegan snack. The dish is usually eaten as an appetizer because nothing can open an appetite like its contrast of flavors.

Kanji Vada

Where to find it?

Anywhere Rajasthan and most of West India.

by Ravi Talwar CC by SA 4.0

The mix of rai, chilies, and mustard probably doesn’t sound like something you would like to have in your drink. But this popular drink is actually quite tasty and it also aids digestion (if you happen to stuff yourself with too many of the delicious treats on this list). The preparation includes a process of fermentation that takes three days and adding dal vadas immersed in a mustard flavored kanji can that will surely tickle your tastebuds.

Misal Pav

Where to find it?

Mostly in Maharashtra, but it can be found in other parts of West India too.

by Dheerajk88 CC by SA 4.0

This popular Maharashtrian snack consists of a flavorful spicy curry (missal) and a soft bread roll (pav). The spicy curry is made of bean sprouts, moth, and several different local spices and topped with coriander, chilies, chivda, and sev. Together with its close cousin, Vada Pav, Misal Pav is one of Mumbai’s most popular treats.

Moong Dal Bhaji

Where to find it?

In Gujarat and most parts of West India.

The name is self-explanatory; this dish consists of moong dal and a crunchy bread (bhaji) served with different types of local chutney. Moong Dal Bhaji is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy and its combination with chai makes it one of the most popular afternoon snacks in Gujarat and a lot of parts of West India.

Vada Pav

Where to find it?

Across India, but for the best vada pav, you’d have to visit its birthplace- Mumbai.

by Rutvi Mistry CC by SA 4.0
by Rutvi Mistry CC by SA 4.0

Vada Pav is one of the most popular Indian street food dishes that can be found in different parts of the country but it’s not included in the ‘’Pan India section’’ because it would to injustice to the meaning vada pav has for the city of Mumbai. The day of the average Mumbaikar is difficult to imagine without the legendary vada pav, also known as the ‘Indian burger’. This mouth-watering burger consists of a bread bun cut in half with a deep-fried potato dumpling inside. So simple, yet so delicious.

Dahi Puri

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Maharashtra.

dahi puri

Dahi Puri is the ‘Marathi bhai’ of the iconic pani puri. It consists of semi-puffed puris filled with delicious, juicy chaat. The dish is served with curd and tangy chutney. The preparation starts with cracking the puri on the top and stuffing it with mashed potatoes or chickpeas and chili powder. Finally, the puris are topped with beaten yogurt, garnished with sprinklings of crushed sev, and are ready to serve.

Pav Bhaji

Where to find it?

Across India but you’ll find the best pav bhaji in Maharashtra.

pav bhaji

Spicy, hot, and flavorful, Pav Bhaji is the pride of Mumbai. It consists of a thick, spicy vegetable gravy that first attacks your smell buds and lures you to the nearest street food stall before giving the final blow to your taste buds and a soft bread bun with a few lime drops to open your appetite even more. Initially, the dish originates from Maharashtra but it became so popular you can even find instant pav bhaji in most big supermarkets across India.

Kulfi Falooda Rabri

Where to find it?

In Mumbai.

kulfi faluda rabri

If you’re a fan of ice cream, this is one of the dishes you simply can’t miss on your trip to Mumbai. This sweet and savory dessert is the ultimate sweet combo that combines three of West India’s most popular desserts into one. Kulfi is a popular local ice cream, falooda is a cold fruit-based dessert, and rabri is a sweet dish made of condensed milk. The dessert is topped with vermicelli, pistachios, and almonds. If I have one word to describe it, I would use ‘sensational’.

*I won’t mention these three desserts separately in this list, but do try all of them one by one too. They are all amazing!

Ice Gola

Where to find it?

In Mumbai.

Temperatures in Mumbai skyrocket during summers and ice gola vendors are a blessing in disguise during these hot summer days. Ice gola is a sweet and salty popcycle-like thing that helps you cool down and gain some energy for exploring the city. This dessert consists of pieces of shaved ice shaped around a stick enriched with various exotic fruit flavorings depending on the buyer’s preference and salt. I know it sounds like a weird combination but the taste is surprisingly refreshing.

Nitrogen Biscuit

Where to find it?

In Ice Cream Factory, in Mumbai.

If fire paan is the most popular tourist attraction among street foods, its Mumbai pandan is the nitrogen biscuit. The biscuits are nothing different than regular biscuits. They’re practically flavorless but when you eat them the heat from your mouth turns the liquid nitrogen into a gas that starts coming out of your nose and mouth, making it seem like you’re breathing smoke like a dragon.

Ragda Pattice

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

by Ravi Talwar CC by SA 4.0

The street food scene in Maharashtra and Gujarat couldn’t be complete without the vibrant colors and flavors of ragda pattice. The heart of the dish are the two potato cakes (pattice) served with a light stew of rehydrated dried white peas (ragda) enriched with chopped onions, coriander pieces, local spices, and different local chutneys that take the flavors of ragda pattice to another dimension.

Sabudana Vada

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Maharashtra.

sabudana vada

Even though served mostly during religious festivals, sabudana vada deserves a special mention on this list. This lip-smacking deep-fried delicacy is made from tapioca or sabudana, peanuts, chilies, potatoes, and coriander leaves formed into small patties. Usually, sabudana vada is served with yogurt and coconut chutney.

The best South Indian street food

Akki Roti

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Karnataka.

sadya

Akki roti is a rice flour flatbread served with coconut or tomato gravy and a dressing of carrots, tomatoes, onions, and green chilies that give this tasty bread an additional punch of flavors. The dish can only be found in the state of Karnataka and is one of the most common local staples. As soon as you taste it, you’ll quickly realize why that is the case and fall in love with it.

Paddu

Where to find it?

Anywhere in South India.

This dish has a lot of different names like appe, paniyaram, and ponganalu but they all represent the same thing; a famous South Indian street food that tastes a lot like dosa but with a slight hint of sourness added in the mix. The batter for these delicious balls is made of rice and black lentils and is at its absolute best when combined with its best friends- onions, coconut chutney, and tasty filter coffee.

Kothu Parotta

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Tamil Nadu.

south indian street food

Kothu Parotta is a simple but flavorful dish that originates from Tamil Nadu but is equally popular in Sri Lanka. The dish consists of minced parotta (a flavorful flatbread mixed with pieces of onions, tomatoes, eggs, and spices) and a signature salna gravy prepared with either chicken or mixed vegetables. Even though it’s not the healthiest dish, no trip to Tamil Nadu is complete without trying Kothu Parotta.

Pindi Vantalu (Muruku)

Where to find it?

Across South India and Sri Lanka, but the best one can be found in Telangana.

This crunchy South Indian delight is one of the most popular snacks in South India and Sri Lanka. It’s made of either moong dal or rice flour and has the special power to add textural crunchiness to pretty much anything and can be combined with a myriad of other South Indian dishes. Everywhere in South India, this treat is known as Muruku but Telanganites call it Pindu Vantalu, and in my humble opinion, their version tops the charts.

Dal Vada

Where to find it?

Anywhere in South India.

vada paav

Dal Vada is one of the most beloved street food snacks in South India and a lot of people even make it in their homes because the preparation is very simple. If you don’t like regular idlis (not for everyone), this crunchy variation will surely be a refreshing change. Dal Vada is prepared by combining uran, chana dal, moong dal, and tiny slices of vegetables, making small balls of the mixture and deep-frying it. This dish is usually served with a coconut chutney.

Moong Dal Ladoo

Where to find it?

Anywhere in South India.

moong dal ladoo

Moong dal ladoo is an easy-to-make, popular South Indian sweet. These delicious, sugary delights are made of the omnipresent moong dal, sugar, and ghee. This delicious sweet requires only 3-4 ingredients, it’s a rich source of proteins and needs only around 30 minutes to prepare which just increases its popularity. The dish is usually garnished with grated mooli (radish) and served with a spicy coriander chutney.

Dosa

Where to find it?

Around India, but needless to say, the best dosas can be found in South India.

dosa Indian street food

Dosa is arguably the most popular snack in South India, in fact, so popular that it can be found pretty much anywhere in India. If you never heard about it, dosa is a crispy and savory, pancake-like-looking dish filled with spicy potato and toppings of your own choice. Dosa is an integral part of South Indian cuisine and can be found anywhere from street food stalls to fancy restaurants.

Mirchi Bajji

Where to find it?

Around South India but for the best mirchi bajji, head to Hyderabad.

Mirchi Bajji is the South Indian cousin of Rajasthani Mirchi Pakoda with a slightly more sour and spicy taste. mirchi bajjis in South India are prepared with lime and green chili fritters. The mirchi bajji of Hyderabad is notorious for inducing sweat and tears to a lot of tourists but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. Your visit to Hyderabad couldn’t be complete without it.

Idli Sambar

Where to find it?

In numerous locations around South India but for the best mirchi bajji, head to Chennai.

idli sambar

Idli Sambar is arguably Chennai’s favorite breakfast and something you can find on every corner in the Tamil capital but it’s also very popular in other parts of South India too. Idli is basically a rice bread dish made of fermented rice and black gram batter steamed in molds while sambar is a spicy vegetable curry with lentil base that will tickle your stomach and leave you craving for more.

Ram Ladoo

Where to find it?

In numerous locations in South India and surprisingly, Delhi.

ram ladoo
Taken at Latitude/Longitude:28.670608/77.307758. km (Map link)

I always refer to Ram Ladoo as the South Indian version of panipuri but actually, this is one of the rare South Indian dishes that became one of Delhi’s most sought-after street food items. It’s basically a fried spicy pakoda served with flavorful moong dal and topped with chilies, onions, coriander leaves, and lime juice that offers a burst of different flavors that will satisfy every food lover out there.

Idli vada

Where to find it?

In numerous locations in South India, but for the best idli vada, you’d have to visit Bangalore.

idli vada

If Idli sambar is Chennai’s favorite breakfast, its Bangalore counterpart has to be idli vada. As you probably know by now, idlis are South India’s popular rice bread steamed in banana leaves while vadas are fresh and crispy doughnut-like snack served with spicy hot sambar and coconut chutney, making up for one of South India’s most glorious combos.

Vellayappam

Where to find it?

Anywhere in Kerala.

A list of the best South Indian street food wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Kerala’s most famous breakfast- vellayappam. This tasty snack is the closest Indian thing that comes to a pancake but the preparation steps are slightly different. The batter for vellayappam is made of rice flour, coconut, yeast, salt, and sugar. Traditionally, this dish is accompanied by one of the local curries but it can also be eaten straight up.

Idli chili fry

Where to find it?

Anywhere in South India.

Chili idli fry is a popular snack that’s a rare mix of South Indian and Chinese cuisines. The dish consists of South India’s favorite rice bread (idli), chilies, and a bunch of optional vegetables. This dish quickly rose to popularity because it takes no longer than 10 minutes to make it and a lot of people in South India make this from the leftovers from yesterday’s lunch. But even if that’s the case, this famous street food delight is probably the world’s most tasty ‘leftover dish’.

Tips for enjoying street food in India

Don’t be afraid of Indian street food. There’s always a risk of encountering an unhygienic street food stall and getting a bad stomach but then again, sometimes, this can happen in famous restaurants too. This leads me to my next point…

Go where the locals are. If you see a long queue of locals in front of a street food stall, that’s the best indicator that this particular vendor serves not only food that’s safe to eat but also delicious.

Be careful with street food drinks that aren’t hot. If the water didn’t boil, you can never be too sure how the water used to prepare that drink will impact your stomach. Just because locals are drinking it doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe for you to try it. Their body is used to the local water unlike yours.

Beware of the sauces. Sauces and chutneys are made with tap water most of the time. Additionally, some of it might be sitting out in the sun for some time but if you follow the above-mentioned tips, you should be fine.

When drinking fresh juice, always make sure it’s juiced in front of you and you’re not getting a cup of pre-made juice.

Now that you’re ready with all these tips, I’m sure you’ll have a great time discovering the taste of India through some of its most popular street food dishes. Did you try any of these? Which one is your favorite Indian street food? Let us know in the comments!

If you liked this post, also check out our guide to street food in Europe.

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10 thoughts on “72 Indian street food dishes you absolutely have to try”

  1. Samosa is purely Indian snacks .
    Different states made different way , but I like only West Bengal specially Kolkata Style Samosa , because it only make with white flour and the stuffing are make with Cauliflower , potato and peas . We called Shingara
    Not Samosa. There is a big difference
    of stuffing recipe and shape of our
    Shingara from so called Samosa.
    Mostly it is only Indian snacks not Indonesia’s food/snacks.
    Please do not mix up India with Indonesia .

    Reply
    • I’m sorry, but claiming Samosa as a ‘purely Indian snack’ is just not true. Samosa is a traditional local snack in a lot of places from the easternmost islands of Indonesia to the Swahili Coast in Africa. Samosa is eaten in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, and East Africa. We know better than mixing India with Indonesia (I stayed in India for over a year) but get your facts straight.

      Reply
  2. Hello, Awesome Article, and Your information about south Indian street food is very amazing and so much useful for me. Keep it up and thank you very much.:)

    Reply

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