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Classic Chaats

No trip to India is complete without some Indian snack food. The most popular street foods are papri chaat (fried wafers piled high with potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt, and chilli powder), chole bhatura (also known as chana bhatura—spicy chickpeas with fried, airy puri bread), and golgappas (fried dough in a hollow golf-ball shape, which you fill with a spicy mixture of potatoes, chickpeas, tamarind, and coriander sauce), pakoras (battered and fried vegetables, cheese, or chicken), and the Mumbai delicacy known as bhel puri (spicy rice with bits of onion). The best places to nosh on these snacks, other than in the bylanes of Old Delhi, are in neighborhood markets. Here are a few recommendations in Central and South Delhi.

The Bengali Sweet House (27-37 Bengali Market, near Connaught Pl., Central Delhi; metro: Mandi House) is a classic spot for evening golgappa outings.

At Bikanervala (Rajiv Ghandi Handicraft Bhavan, Baba Kharag Singh Margh, 1st fl., near Connaught Pl., Central Delhi) you can sample Gujarati snacks: khandvi is a delicious pan-fried snack made from a seasoned batter of chickpea flour and buttermilk, then cut into rolls and sprinkled with coconut and coriander; dhokla is a savory, fluffy, steamed cake made with chickpea flour, mustard seeds, and an inch of sugar and topped with coriander leaves.

Nathu's (2 Sundar Nagar Market, Central Delhi; www.nathusweets.com) is the perfect place to kick back after shopping for high-end souvenirs, with its robust Indian sweets and pleasant seating area. The nearby Sweets Corner supplies the fried stuff outdoors.

Under a charming tin ceiling at the Evergreen Sweet House (S-30 Green Park Market, South Delhi; metro: Green Park), a large crowd stuffs itself with chole bhatura and vegetarian thalis (combination platters).

Prince Paan Box (M-Block Market, eastern corner, Greater Kailash-1, South Delhi) is where you will find one of Delhi's most popular paanwallahs, attracting a crowd at all hours. They're also known, of course, for their paan, betel-nut leaves wrapped around various ingredients. There's no seating here.

Updated: 03-2013

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