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Indian Street Food: 24 Drooling Dishes to Try

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Indian food has made its mark as one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. Foods like chicken tikka masala, biryani, and butter chicken have become popular everywhere – from London to D.C. to Sydney. But, there’s so much more to Indian food than just the handful of recognizable dishes. With so many different regions in India, each with its own culinary flair, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Indian dishes that are worth a try — especially Indian street food!

Many of the best plates from all around the country are actually Indian street food dishes. Local and tourists love them. You can try the crispy pani puri, the popular vada pav, the bite-sized paddu, and the comforting paya soup.

It is important to note that approximately 40% of India’s population is vegetarian, due to their religious beliefs. Consequently, the majority of the best Indian street food dishes are vegetarian. That said, this list does include a couple of non-vegetarian Indian street food options as well.

If you’re looking for the best Indian street food, this guide has 20 dishes that you should definitely try. Trust me — every single one of these dishes is worth trying. As an Indian-American, I grew up eating a lot of these dishes. These are the best of the best! 

This post contains affiliate links to the products that I use and trust. This means that I might receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase using any of my links below. See full disclosure here.

Tips to Safely Eat Indian Street Food

Follow these tips to safely eat Indian street food.

I visited India quite a few times with my family and the thing that excited me most about my visits was indulging in the delicious street food.

Even though my parents moved to the States around 31 years ago, their stomachs were somehow still made of steel. Me, not so much. I thought I could play on the same level as them when it came to eating street food. I was so, so wrong. I’ve spent quite a few days in India in sheer stomach pain. 

Trust me — it’s horrid. I don’t want you to have to go through this so here are a few things that you should be aware of when eating Indian street food.

  • Go where the locals go. If there’s a huge line, odds are that it’s going to be pretty good. Plus, it means the cook is making the food fresh. If you have any questions about the food, ask one of the locals. They’re eager and happy to help foreigners.
  • Use your judgment. If you feel like something is dirty, don’t eat there. It’s not worth taking the risk.
  • Be cautious when it comes to sauces. Most of the dishes listed below have sauces. I always ask the cook if they used bottled water to make the sauces. Sometimes I’m bad and I’ll still eat it if they used tap water. Don’t be like me.
  • Understand that just because a local is eating something doesn’t mean you won’t get sick. They’re used to everything they’re eating. You’re not. I learned this the hard way.
  • Beware when eating street food dishes with meat. Yep, I learned this the hard way too. You have no idea how long the meat has been sitting out. I always ask the cook how long the meat has been sitting out. 
  • Lastly, say no to drinks that aren’t hot. I know the fresh juices are tempting. But, sometimes they’re watered down or they have ice. Odds are, the ice is from tap water. If you want fresh juice (it’s sooooo good!), have them make it in front of you. Speaking of drinks, don’t pass on the chai. I can almost guarantee that you won’t get sick from it. If you do for some crazy reason, the Pepto is on me. 

24 Drooling Indian Street Food Dishes

Pani Puri

Found anywhere in India

Indian street food is some of the most delicious food in the entire world.

Pani Puri tops just about every list of Indian street food in existence – and for good reason! This crispy dish can be found all over India, although it goes by quite a few names, including gup chup, gol gappa, and puchka.

This tasty Indian street food starts with a crispy, hollow, round shell of flatbread. These spheres are then filled with a soupy potato and chickpea mixture. And finally, it can be topped with everything from green chilis to mint chutney to tangy tamarind – or even all of the above! I know this sounds like a lot of flavors at once, but somehow they all work well together.

Remember to put the entire pani puri in your mouth. If you take a bite of it, all of the filling will fall out and you’ll be left with a sad and lonely puri.


Found anywhere in India

Chaat is a very popular Indian street food dish.

Chaat is kind of a vague term that encompasses many different Indian street foods. The only real similarities between the different types of chaat is that they all blend sweet and sour flavors. They also usually include a starch, a vegetable, and a chutney topping.

As a matter of fact, “chaat” is such an all-encompassing term that it includes many of the Indian street food options on this list, including samosas, pani puri, aloo tikki, and dahi puri.

The most traditional type of chaat usually centers around potatoes, chickpeas, vegetables, and crispy fried dough. It is then topped with a tangy, sour yogurt and a sweet tamarind chutney.

Dahi Puri

Anywhere in Maharashtra 

One of the best Indian street food dishes in Dahi Puri.

Many Indian street foods are variations of each other. Dahi Puri is basically the crunchy, fried flatbread shell of pani puri filled with the sweet and sour flavors of traditional chaat plus with sweetened yogurt on top. Who knows? You might like this “fusion” food better than its original two parts. I know I do. 

Vada Pav

Found anywhere in India, but the best is in Mumbai, Maharashtra where it originated

Don't forget to add Vada Pav to your list of Indian street food dishes to try.

Vada pav is one of the most popular sandwiches in Mumbai. As a matter of fact, it’s such a crowd favorite that many Mumbai locals say that you have to try vada pav during your trip.

Vada pav actually refers to the two different parts of the dish. “Vada” refers to the crispy fried chickpea-covered potato pancake, although “vada” in general encompasses all fried fritter snacks. And “pav” is the bread part that goes around the potato pancake. And then, this sandwich is, of course, served with a wide array of chutneys and sauces.

While this is the basic version of vada pav, quite a few variations of the dish have come about over the years. These include everything from cheese to corn chidva to even chicken!

Dal Vada 

Found anywhere in South India

Dal Vada is an iconic Indian street food dish.

As we already know from vada pav, “vada” refers to fried fritter snacks, so you already have some idea of what dal vada is like.

But while the vada in vada pav is made of potatoes and chickpea flour, the vada in dal vada is made of lentils. And, of course, these crispy lentil balls are flavored with a myriad of spices, including green chilis, red chilis, curry leaves, garam masala, coriander leaves, cumin seeds, ginger, and garlic.

Pav Bhaji

Found anywhere in India, but the best is in Maharashtra

Indian street food consists of many incredible dishes and Pav Bhaji is one of them.

Thanks to vada pav, we already know a little bit about pav bhaji too. Both include pav, the bread roll. Look at that! You’re already catching on to the ins and outs of Indian street food!

Despite the pav similarity, pav bhaji is very different from vada pav. In addition to the bread roll, pav bhaji is a thick vegetable curry made with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. But the thing that sets pav bhaji apart from the rest of the delicious Indian street food on this list is the special pav bhaji masala powder.

Sev Puri

Found anywhere in North India, but the best is in Maharashtra

If you're looking for delicious Indian street food dishes to try, definitely try Sev Puri.

Sev puri includes the same crunchy fried flatbread shell as pani puri and dahi puri. These small, almost bite-sized puri are then topped or filled with potatoes, onions, garlic chili chutney, tamarind chutney, chaat masala, nylon sev noodles, and parsley.

The puris are also topped with sev. These are small pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour paste and other spices. You’ll probably want to eat the sev alone by the spoonful. 

Dahi Vada

Found anywhere in India

Dahi Vada is a classic Indian street food dish.

As you’ve likely picked up on by now, dahi vada is another fried fritter snack! It is actually quite similar to dal vada, as they are both lentil-based. But, it’s the toppings that make dahi vada different.

Like many Indian street food dishes, dahi vada is topped with chutneys, two of them to be exact: green chutney and tamarind chutney. But the “dahi” part of the name clues us into another sauce-like topping: yogurt! The contrasting white, green, and reddish-orange sauces are definitely an eye-catching sight! Then, add the sprinkles of red chili powder, cumin powder, and chaat masala, and this brightly colored dish becomes irresistible! 

Batata Vada

Found anywhere in India, but the best is in Maharashtra

The list of Indian street food dishes contains Batata Vada.

That’s right! I’m including another fried fritter on this list of Indian street food because batata vada is just that good! This potato-based fritter is filled with turmeric, chili powder, and parsley. It is then coated with a besan (a type of ground chickpea flour) and cornflour coating before it’s plopped in the fryer. Once it is fully cooked, it is then served with the ever-popular green chutney, of course.


Found anywhere in India, but the best are found in the state of Sikkim (northeastern India)

When trying Indian street food, you have to try Momos.

Momos have long established themselves as one of the best street foods in India. These are steamed, filled dumplings that are often compared to Japanese gyoza and Korean mandoo.

But the fillings of momos are a little bit different. It can include mixed vegetables, seafood, chicken, or paneer. And since Indian food is often quite spicy, momos are typically served with a spicy sauce.


Found anywhere in South India, but the best is in Kerala

Appam is one of the best Indian street food dishes especially in Kerala.

Appam is a lacy-looking pancake-like dish that is made of rice flour and coconut milk. While the origins of this dish are a little hazy – it could be from the southernmost tip of India or all the way from Syria – there’s no doubt that it’s a very popular street food in Kerala, Sri Lanka, and Tamil Nadu.

Appam can be served with both sweet and savory dishes, including kadala curry, vegetable korma, or coconut chutney. If you want to spice things up, get an egg appam instead. 


Found anywhere in India, but the best is in South India

Dosa is a popular Indian street food dish.

Dosa and appam are quite similar, so much so that it can be difficult for someone unfamiliar with Indian cuisine to figure out the difference. The main distinction is the batter. While appam is made from rice flour and coconut milk, dosa is made from rice flour and black lentil flour.

The most popular dosa filling is potatoes, but you can also eat dosa plain which is my favorite way to eat it. There are also a variety of chutneys that are served with dosa, including mint chutney, coconut chutney, and tamarind chutney.


Found anywhere in South India

Paddu is a wonderful Indian street food dish.

Paddu, also known as ponganalu and appe, are sometimes called “little dosa,” because these two Indian street food dishes have very similar flavor profiles. As a matter of fact, the little spheres known as paddu are essentially the rice and black lentil dosa batter in a different shape!


Found anywhere in India

One of the most iconic Indian street food dishes is Samosas.

Samosas are one of the most internationally popular Indian street food dishes. In other words, if you’ve heard of any of these snacks before, you’ve likely heard of samosas.

If you don’t know what a samosa is, these filled golden brown snacks look a little bit like Latin American empanadas or Greek spanakopita. But then as you bite into the samosas, the flavors are completely different! You’ll taste everything from potatoes to peas to a slew of spices all at the same time! It’s quite an explosion of flavors in one little package. 

Aloo Tikki

Found anywhere in India, but the best is in South India

Aloo Tikki is the perfect Indian street food dish.

Almost every culture in the world has a beloved potato dish, and Indian culture is no exception. Aloo tikki is one of the most ubiquitous Indian street foods. This potato-based snack is sort of like a potato pancake or a potato croquette, but the flavors will of course be different from what you’re used to.

Rather than western flavors, aloo tikki typically boasts the flavors of garam masala, red chili powder, coriander leaves, green chili, and ginger. It’s absolutely fantastic!


Found anywhere in India and each region has its own take on it. Also found in other parts of the world such as South Africa, the Caribbean, Sri, Lanka, Southeast Asia, and more!

Rotis are a delicious Indian street food dish.

Roti – also known as atta, rotli, phulka, and chapati – is a round flatbread made with whole wheat flour. It’s a very simple recipe, as it can be made with just flour and water, although add when the roti is done, most people add a layer of ghee to it. 

While you can eat roti by itself, that’s not traditionally how it’s eaten. Typically, it’s served on the side of many Indian dishes, including chicken makhani (Indian butter chicken), chicken korma, and many curries. But, you can also fill the roti with spiced potatoes, crumbled paneer, roasted vegetables, or curry. The latter option is the easiest to find as a street food.

If you’re down to try one of my favorite snacks as a kid, spread some ghee or butter on a warm roti. Then, sprinkle some sugar on it and roll it up. Pure magic! 

Idli Sambar

Found anywhere in South India, but Chennai has the best

If there's any one Indian street food dish you should try, Idli Sambar is the one!

Okay, my mouth is literally watering as I write about idli sambar. This is a very popular breakfast dish in Chennai and other parts of South India. I honestly eat this dish at all times of the day. As a kid, I used to beg my mom to make this for dinner. It felt like winning the lottery when I saw it on the dinner table.

Idli is a savory rice cake. I like to think of it as a small, round fluffy pillow. The batter consists of fermented black lentils and rice. Then, the batter is put in circular molds and steamed. 

Sambar is simply a lentil-based spicy vegetable soup. Add the idli to a bowl of piping hot sambar and enjoy! Don’t forget to add a dollop of coconut chutney. 


Found in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and a few places in Western India. But, the best is found in Gujarat. (REPRESENT!! That’s where my family comes from).

Dabeli is an interesting yet delicious Indian street food dish.

Dabeli, also known as kutchi dabell and double roti, comes from the western state of Gujarat. It’s so popular that about 2 million dabeli are eaten every single day in the Gujarati city of Kutch.

Dabeli sort of has the same vibe as vada pav, in that it’s also a sandwich with a potato patty. But the seasoning is quite different. As a matter of fact, dabeli has a special dabeli masala that is used! And to top it all off, dabeli also includes pomegranate arils, roasted peanuts, and a myriad of chutneys.

Kathi Rolls

Found anywhere in India, but the best is in Kolkata

Kathi Rolls are an amazing Indian street food dish.

Since India is so large and so diverse, it only makes sense that its food reflects that. Kathi rolls, also known as kati rolls, are a type of Indian street food that used to be pretty much only found in Kolkata. Nowadays, it’s making an appearance in several other parts of the country.

Originally, kathi rolls were simply paratha bread or roti filled with a kebab. But today, there are many more variants of the dish. You can also find kathi rolls with chicken, mutton, potatoes, egg, paneer, and mixed veggies.

To complete the look (and make it easier to carry), most street vendors selling kathi rolls wrap them up in newspapers.

Litti Chokha

Found anywhere in Bihar, but you can also find it in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand

Be sure to try Litti Chokha which is a yummy Indian street food dish.

Chokha and litti are actually two different foods, but they are usually served together in this one dish known as little chokha.

Litti are little whole wheat balls that are filled with spiced sattu, which is a specific type of chickpea flour. Litti can be cooked just about any way you have in mind. You can bake them, fry them, and even grill them!

As for chokha, that’s the dip that you serve alongside it. There are loads of different chokha that can be served as part of litti chokha. A few of the most popular chokha options for litti chokha include aloo chokha (potato-based chokha), tomato chokha, and baingan chokha (eggplant-based chokha).


Found anywhere in India, but the best is in Uttar Pradesh

Indian street food dishes consist of Kachoris.

Growing up, I loathed kachoris. I’d come home from school and sometimes find my mom frying a big basket of them. As an adult, I regret the times I didn’t indulge in these little fried balls of yummy goodness. Pair them with a cup of chai and you’ll never drink chai without them.

Depending on where you visit in India, the stuffing for kachoris will be different. But, kachoris are most commonly stuffed with potatoes, lentils, peas, and onions. Warning — you can’t just eat one. They’re like potato chips: addicting. 

Paya Soup

Found anywhere in Central India

Paya Soup is one of the most unique Indian street food dishes.

A soup might seem like a strange addition to a list of Indian street food, but once you try paya soup, you’ll understand why this mouthwatering dish made the cut.

Popularized in the centrally located city of Bhopal, paya soup is one of the few Indian street foods that is not vegetarian. This soup is typically made with mutton, lamb, or goat leg meat (with the bones), along with loads of spices. Cardamom, turmeric, garam masala powder, green chili, and garlic paste are just the start of this flavorful dish!

Remember how I said not to really eat street food with meat? Yeah, that rule doesn’t apply to this dish. 

This soup is traditionally served to those who are sick or elderly, but it’s also sort of like an Indian comfort food.

Chole Bhature

Found anywhere in India, but the best is in Punjab

Chole Bhature is one of many amazing Indian street food dishes.

This delicious Indian street food dish is from North India and it has been taking over all areas of India. You’ll see why after trying it.

It’s mainly a breakfast dish, but I could honestly eat it three times a day. Essentially, it’s a combination of chana masala (chickpea curry) and a hot and fluffy bhature (fried bread).

If you end up loving it when you try it as a street food dish, make a meal out of it for lunch or dinner. Add some chutney, pickled onions and carrots, and you’ll have an incredible, finger-licking meal!


Found anywhere in India

Another Indian street food dish is pakoras.

Ahhh pakoras. Another one of my absolute favorite Indian street food dishes. This is another one of those things that you can’t just eat one of. Pair them with some chutneys and you’re in for a real treat!

Pakoras are basically vegetable fritters. Potatoes, onions, peppers, and other vegetables are dipped in a batter made from gram flour with various spices and then deep-fried. 

Which one of these Indian street food dishes is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! 

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