16 Indian Street Food You MUST TRY as a foreigner in India
Updated: Mar 25
If you're visiting this a list of 16 BEST Indian street food dishes you must try as a foreigner in India. There are a lot of myths about Indian street foods, but the one truth you can be sure of is that Indian street food is exceptionally delicious and not something you should shy away from. A post about food hygiene in India is coming up, but just to make sure you know what is what here's the ultimate list of Indian street foods you MUST TRY as a foreigner in India.
Indian Street Food guide for foreigner in India
I made an Indian street food at home serie where I explain exactly which food is what, if it's spicy and how to eat it. So if you need a bit more explanations make sure to watch these Indian street food videos as well.
8 Indian Street Foods to start with as foreigner in India
1 Pani Puri / Golgappe / Phuschka's
Pani Puri is the epitome of Indian street food and is a food that is very difficult to find outside of India. The name varies as it's pani puri in Mumbai, but in Delhi it's golgappe and in Kolkata it's phuschkas. Basically it's a crunchy hollow dough ball, which is filled with a mash and the a sweet (red) and sour/spicy (green) liquid is added. You'll usually get 5 in a portion for around ₹40-₹100. The sixth is a dry bonus one.
*To make sure not to get sick go to a very busy pani puri stand. If it's crowded it means the quality is good.
2 Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji is an Indian street food I found mysterious to eat as a foreigner in India. Basically it's two white buns, toasted in butter, served with a tomato/vegetable gravy. You tear a piece of the bread and scoop the vegetable gravy with it. Pav bhaji is an indian street food best eaten in Mumbai as it's a staple there. The price is around ₹100-₹120.
3 Chole Bhature
Bhature is a soft fluffy bread made from white flour, and fried in oil for a crunchy outside. it's served with a smoky chickpea curry called cholay and some onions. Chole Bhature is an insanely soul satisfying Indian street food that's a Delhi staple, so if you want to have the best one that's where you'll find it. The price is around ₹80-₹120.
4 Parippu or dal vada
This is a South Indian street food that can be found most in Kerala. It's a super crunchy, spiced, fried, lentil biscuit. I usually eat it just on its own because it's that tasty. Do note it's a breakfast or chai food so can't be found all throughout the day. The price is around ₹15-₹20 per vada.
5 Pozham puri
Another South Indian street food which is best eaten in the State of Kerala. It's a banana fritter, where banana is coated in a soft batter which is then fried crunchy. This is also a breakfast or chai snack so do mind the time if you're looking for this one. The price is around ₹15-₹20 per fritter.
Sugiyan is an India street food that is not easy to find. It's a Kerala snack where soft dough is filled with a sweet moong lentil paste, and then fried to a crunchy golden brown snack. i haven't been able to find it in the streets of Kerala but if you install the Indian food delivery app Swiggy you can search for it. The price is around ₹15-₹20 per fritter.
Paddu is a savoury Indian street food, which can easily be found at VV Puram food street in Bengaluru. It's a South Indian street food which is a savoury spiced fried dough ball (or you could say dough nut). It's served with a mint chutney, and a portion of 6 pieces will seriously fill you up. The price is around ₹50-₹80 per portion.
8 Lemon rice
This is another South Indian street food that will leave you so satisfied. Hoever this one will not leave you feeling heavy. It's rice fried with spices and flavoured with lemon. Hence why it's also yellow. When made fresh this is incredibly satisfying. You can also pair this with other food like dal or a vegetable dish (sabzi). The price is around ₹50-₹180 per portion.
8 Classic Indian Street Foods to start with as foreigner in India
1 Masala dosa
As a foreigner in India you absolutely can't say you've tried the most classic Indian street food if you haven't tried a dosa! It's a fermented rice batter thin savoury crepe, which is traditionally served with a coconut chutney and a sambar (spicy tomato based gravy). The masala is optional, which is a flavourful mashed potato filling of the dosa. You can find a dosa all over India but for the absolute best ones you have to eat them in South India. The price is around ₹50-₹150 per portion.
Momo's are traditionally a Himalayan Indian street food, but luckily we can find them all over India too. The most classic ones are a thin dough dumpling, filled with vegetables or a meat, steamed or fried to perfection for a savoury bite which will warm your soul. My favourite ones are with paneer and really good ones can be found in Delhi. The price is around ₹50-₹80 per portion of 5/6 momos.
Just like a dosa, an idli is an absolute Indian street food classic. It's a fluffy fermented rice steamed cake, which is served with a coconut chutney and sambar (savoury spices lentil gravy). As it's a breakfast food idli is best eaten in the morning but you can easily find the throughout the day as well. The price is around ₹50-₹100 per portion of 2 idli.
4 Medu Vada
Common in combination with an idli, but on its own a medu vada is also a great Indian street food to have as a foreigner in India. A medu vada is made with a dense moong dal based batter so it's almost like a crunchy savory dense donut. Served with a coconut chutney and a sambar it really makes for a delicious start of your day as it's traditionally a breakfast food. The price is around ₹30-₹50 per vada.
Another traditional breakfast in Indian street food, that luckily can be found throughout the day. A paratha is a thick pancake made from wheat flour, which is roasted so it's quite smoky. It can be filled with different things, my favourites are gobi (cauliflower) and paneer (cottage cheese). Traditionally a North indian dish it's best eaten there, although you can also find good parathas in South India. The price is around ₹50-₹180 per portion of 1 paratha.
6 Vada pav
Vada pav is an Indian street food which is the pride of Mumbai. A vada pav consists of a fluffy white toasted bun with a spicy potato patty. It's served with a green (spicy!) and red (sweet) chutney. Make sure to try this in Mumbai specifically as the quality really doesn't get better than there. The price is around ₹30-₹80 per portion.
7 Litti Chokha
A litti chokha can be quite difficult to find as it's mostly served in the State of Bihar. however if you do stumble on it, it's a must try. A wheat flour dough ball, filled with chickpeas, is roasted and served with a tomato/potato gravy and onions. Break open the ball and eat it with the gravy. It's a special experience. The price is around ₹50-₹180 per portion.
8 Mango Kulfi
If I say Indian ice cream is an Indian street food worth trying as a foreigner in India, you may think I'm trying to get you sick. But nope I can vouch for mango kulfi. Kulfi is an extremely creamy Indian ice cream and when mango's are in season, the mango kulfi is the best way to cool down in the heat. Find a crowded street vendor and you probably won't get sick from it. The price is around ₹30-₹70 per portion.
You can watch the videos to see each Indian street food up close and get instructions on how to eat it. I also indicate the spice levels in case you have a sensitive stomach. Part 2 of this list is coming up soon, as well as a post on Indian street food hygiene. So make sure to leave your email on the mailing list to get an update or head over to my YouTube channel to subscribe. You can also follow me on Instagram for daily life of a foreigner in India updates.
Any thoughts or experiences you'd like to share with Indian street food? Let me know in a comment below.