Delhi isn’t bound by a specific cuisine. The city’s food ethos has been influenced by countless cultures that have shaped its long history. Catering for an enormous population, the Indian capital dishes up a huge assortment of foods and flavours at a gamut of eateries.
Despite not possessing a typical local cuisine, Delhi is obsessed with food – so much so that the city has whole streets and areas dedicated to eating.
Authentic Indian cuisines from all states and regions can be enjoyed at Dilli Haat. Located in the heart of the city in New Delhi, the food and craft bazaar vibrantly showcases the richness of Indian culture through a number of food stalls.
Chandni Chowk is often referred to as the food capital of India. A major hub in the walled city of Old Delhi, the street is famous for street food, surrounded by lanes and alleys abuzz with activity and filled with exotic aromas. Paratha Wali Gali is one of Chandni Chowk’s most famous food lanes, specialising in parathas (Indian-style flat bread). While centuries-old sweet shops, Jalebiwala and Ghantewala are must-visits; renowned Delhi landmarks in their own right.
Many would argue that the real flavour of Delhi street food lies in the chaat – a plate of savoury snacks. For a genuine Delhi chaat experience, it’s hard to go past Bengali Market nearby Connaught Place in the centre of New Delhi city, or Sunder Nagar Market just south of Purana Qila.
Owing to the Mughal dynasty's former reign, Delhi is also synonymous with tandoori. Tandoori dishes like paneer tikka, tandoori chicken and seekh and boti kebabs are particular popular in Delhi, and are often available at roadside dhabas. From tandoori also came butter chicken – a dish that was invented at Delhi’s Moti Mahal, Daryaganj restaurant.
From age-old eateries in the lanes of the Walled City to glitzy international restaurants in five-star hotels, Delhi is a foodies’ paradise – but travellers beware, this is the city from which the phrase/condition Delhi Belly was coined.
Delhi’s shopping opportunities are endless. Markets, boutiques and bazaar abound, selling everything from traditional Indian handicrafts to international designer brands.
Delhi’s three major shopping areas are Connaught Place, Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk. Connaught Place is Delhi's leading shopping complex offering a wide range of fashion, books, electronics, jewellery, and handicrafts. Located in the heart of New Delhi, Karol Bagh is a residential-cum-commercial neighbourhood known for its shopping streets, like the Ghaffar Market and Ajmal Khan Road. While centuries-old shopping district, Chandni Chowk is divided into bazaars with different areas of specialisation – selling everything from fabrics to electronics, and silver to street food.
Delhi is renowned to host India’s best markets. Made to resemble and feel like a traditional weekly village market (a haat), Dilli Haat offers an exciting blend of handicrafts from all over India. Janpath and Tibetan Market is a hotspot for Indian and Tibetan handicrafts, clothing, shoes, paintings, artefacts, leather work and jewellery. Delhi's classiest market, the Kahn Market has a loyal following of locals and expats who like their suits tailor-made or branded.
At the other end of the spectrum, Paharganj boasts some of the best bargain shopping in Delhi – wholesaling and exporting to foreign countries. An interesting glimpse into Indian culture, abuzz with roadside stalls and showrooms, Lajpat Nagar is one of the country’s oldest markets, and is particularly famous for Mehendiwalas – Henna artists. While Sunder Nagar in renowned as hotspot for Indian celebrities buying art and antiques.