Discovering Delhi: Top 10 Famous And Iconic Dishes To Try
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As the nation’s capital, Delhi is and has always been a melting pot of Indian and global cultures and cuisines. Known as Indraprastha in ancient times, Delhi has seen conquests by the Afghans, Mughals and of course, the British before becoming the nation’s capital once again in 1911. As a city, therefore, Delhi is home to some of the most incredible and iconic foods that have their origins not only in the modern and British colonial eras, but long before that too.  

From Mughlai dishes to delicious street foods you simply cannot find anywhere else, Delhi has a lot to offer in terms of food for the soul. These dishes are not only iconic because they have a legacy attached to them, but also because they are usually a medley of flavours and are filling too. From street foods you can savour on the roadside to specials that are only available in certain places, these Delhi iconic foods are simply not to be missed.  

If you are in the national capital, there are a number of dishes that you simply must try. Here is a whole list of famous and iconic dishes of Delhi that you must savour at least once. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Hebbars Kitchen

Chole Bhature 

A chickpea-based spicy curry that is paired with a fluffy, huge and deep-fried flatbread—describing the iconic Chole Bhature of Delhi this way does no justice to the flavour bomb this combination actually is. Made with a whole range of Punjabi-style spices, the Chole found in North Delhi especially has flecks of ginger julienne too, which adds to the flavour too. In many places, the Bhaturas are also stuffed with paneer or potatoes for that extra bit of Delhi-style richness. 

Butter Chicken 

Also known as Murgh Makhani, Butter Chicken is the most popular dish to emerge from Delhi. A smooth gravy made with tomatoes, onions, butter and cream which has chunks of perfectly cooked chicken, this dish with a smoky flavour is usually served with naan or parathas. Born at the Moti Mahal restaurant of Old Delhi in the 1950s, this dish has now captured the hearts and minds of people not only based out of Delhi but the world over. 


Parathas in Delhi are so iconic that there is a whole street named after the dish in the Old Delhi area. If you haven’t been to Parathe Wali Gali in Delhi and savoured the myriads of stuffed parathas and kuchas paired with raita, dahi and pickles, then your trip to the national capital is truly incomplete. Apart from staples like Aloo Paratha, do look out for seasonal varieties like those stuffed with winter greens and peas. 

Nalli Nihari 

If you ever visit Delhi, everyone will tell you to visit the Jama Masjid area early in the morning just so you can taste the Nalli Nihari cooked at the iconic old shops like Kareem’s and Al Jawahar. Made with mutton that has been slow-cooked all night long in an onion and spices-based gravy, Nalli Nihari in this area of Delhi is usually sold out by 8AM because of the huge demand for the dish. Of course, you can also taste this one at other restaurants all day, but tasting it first thing in the morning is an unmissable experience. 


Tibetan in origin and yet found at every street corner in Delhi, the Momo story in the national capital has evolved over the last two-three decades. These traditional meat dumplings with a side of spicy chilli sauce are so beloved by the people of Delhi that now you can just as easily find Momos stuffed with paneer and soya! From small vendors with simple setups on the streets to big restaurant chains centred around the dish, there is no dearth of Momos in Delhi for those who love it. 

Aloo Chaat 

Simple potato chunks are deep fried to perfection, doused in spicy chutneys—especially one made of coriander, mint and green chillies—and topped with chopped onions and more to make this iconic Delhi street food. To be fair, all sorts of Chaats in Delhi, from Ram Laddoo to Kuliya Ki Chaat, have an iconic status, but if we had to pick one, Aloo Chaat would win hands down every time. 

Rabdi Falooda 

Intertwined with Delhi’s Mughlai culinary heritage, Rabdi Falooda is believed to have originated in the royal kitchens and is now served across Delhi, especially Old Delhi. The dish primarily consists of vermicelli, soaked basil seeds and rose-flavoured milk called rabdi, but today, there are plenty of variations that you can also try across Delhi. A summer treat that shouldn’t be missed, Rabdi Falooda is perfect for people with a sweet tooth. 


When we say that Delhi is famed for delicious Kebabs, we don’t just mean the meaty seekh kebabs, tandoori kebabs and malai kebabs made with meat, fish or chicken. Originating in Mughlai cuisine, kebabs in Delhi today have evolved to offer a taste of the category of dishes to vegetarians and vegans too! This is why you will just as easily find great soya or paneer kebabs across Delhi just as much as meaty platters. 

Dahi Bhalla 

Call it Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla, but when in Delhi, indulging in this dish is a must. A batter made of lentils like urad dal is divided into scoops and deep-fried, soaked in water to soften, squeezed to release the excess water and then soaked in a creamy, savoury yoghurt mix to create this fabulous dish. The Dahi Bhallas are also topped with chutneys and roasted cumin powder, elevating its flavours further. When in Delhi, visit any good halwai shop or chaat place to get a taste of this one. 


Originating in the Middle East, the Jalebi travelled to India with the Mughals and other Afghan rulers and took over the taste buds of the entire subcontinent and not just Delhi. Now, the iconic saffron-hued spiral sweet is famous across the world. Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area is known to serve particularly scrumptious Jalebis soaked in sugar syrup and these are simply not to be missed.