Five Must-Try Indian Street Foods

Street food is an essential part of dining in India, where roadside traders peddle aromatic dishes to hungry locals and travellers with an appetite for the exotic. Fresh produce, pulses and pungent spices combine to make dishes that are at once vibrant and delicious. Consider this an introduction to the country's best street food staples.

A snack-sized guide to Indian street food

Pani Puri

Literally meaning "water pancake", pani puri is a crisp, deep-fried hollow dough ball commonly filled with spiced water, sweet tamarind chutney and potato, onion and chickpeas flavoured with chaat masala. These morsels hold together for mere moments, so they're best eaten all in one. While they're eaten across the country, the names differs depending on the state - look out for "golgappa" in Delhi and "phuchka" in Bengal.


These bright-orange spirals are hard to miss on the streets of India. For this traditional dessert, a sweet batter is shaped into swirls and deep fried before being soaked in sugar syrup. Jalebi is best served warm, when the centre is soft and chewy and the outer layer is crisp. It's a must for those with a sweet tooth, and guaranteed to leave you with sticky fingers.


Combining sweet and savoury flavours, chaat (most commonly enjoyed in northern India) is an appetite-whetting medley of puffed rice, Bombay mix, yoghurt and tangy tamarind sauce. Combinations vary from vendor to vendor - expect additional chickpeas and flecks of coriander thrown into this multi-textured dish.

Vada Pav

No trip to Mumbai is complete without tasting vada pav. Originating in Maharashtra (the state of which Mumbai is capital) in West India, this deep-fried potato dumpling placed in a bread is spiked with chutney, onion and tomato toppings - make sure to add fried green chillies if on offer. This adored vegetarian sandwich is devoured by everyone from students to businesspeople.


A South-Indian delicacy, this savoury pancake is best enjoyed filled with masala-spiced potato and topped with coconut chutney - you'll often find it served with sambar, a soupy vegetable-studded dhal, too. Although originating from southern India, the dish is now popular all over India. In cities such as Mumbai and Jaipur, the traditional dosa has been reinvented with alternative fillings.