Delhi Chaat’s History And 6 Best Spots To Visit

There are few people who can say no to some good chaat, and when you're in Delhi, it's practically the law to stop by some of the chaat stalls in Old Delhi and experience the flavours at their purest. Here's how Delhi became India's chaat destination and some places you need to try.
Delhi Gol Gappe

Delhi Gol Gappe

Photo : iStock
There are some staple food groups that the average Indian can always take comfort in. Dal-chawal, roti-sabzi and of course, chaat. Every state and city might have its own favourites but no matter where you go, you’ll always be able to find some delicious street food options to savour. But if you’re looking for the true chaat experience, you need to go back to where it all began, the heart of old Delhi.
There are a plethora of stories about how chaat originated. Some say that it comes from the literal meaning, ‘to lick’, because it was so delicious that people would like their fingers and the peepal leaf ‘dona’ bowl in which it was served. Others meanwhile believe that it originated from the term ‘chatpati’ which means tangy.
In a more historical bend, another tale attributes its creation to the 16th century and the courts of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. As the story goes, there was an outbreak of cholera and the court physicians were desperately searching for ways to contain the disease. The waters of the Yamuna were heavily polluted and drinking from it inevitably made people ill. As a fix, the royal physician Hakim Ali suggested mixing the water with spices like tamarind, coriander, mint and red chillies to – as he believed – kill the germs and make the water safe for consumption.
From then on people fell in love with this fresh, zingy taste and gol gappe’s legacy was cemented, and chaat became a pivotal part of Delhi's eating habits. Today there are countless spots and type of chaat to try, but if you're looking to sample some of the best, here are 6 spots that should be on your to-do list.
1. Padam Chat Corner, Kinari Bazar
In Old Delhi, walking distance from the famous Paranthe Wali Gali, this spot is a must-try for gol gappe lovers. Fronted by owner Padamji (Or Panditji as he’s fondly known by regulars) this spot is known primarily for its wide variety of Gol Gappe. There are 4 different kinds of water and Padam is known for using amla water instead of the traditional imli water. Panditji likes to keep his customers on their toes and each puri will have a slightly different taste so you never know what delicious bite will be coming up next. Some other favourites include the Dahi Puchka
Address: 2011/1, gali Baraf wali, Kinari Bazar Rd, Kinari Bazar, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006
Timings: 12:30 pm to 6 pm
Cost for two: ?100
2. Prince Chaat Corner, Greater Kailash
An offshoot of the famous Prince Paan, this shop in GK serves up some really special chaat options. Though there are many treats to try here, nothing comes as highly recommended as the Palak Patta Chaat. Their signature item of the crispy battered spinach leaf is perpetually a favourite but they’re also known for other specials like their Samosa Chaat, Aloo Tikki, Raj Kachori and of course the Meetha Paan.
Address: M- 32, S Swaran Singh Bhandari Marg, Greater Kailash-1, M Block, Greater Kailash I, Greater Kailash, New Delhi, Delhi 110048
Timings: 10 am to 11 pm
Cost for two: ?150
Chaat in Old Delhi
Chaat in Old Delhi
Photo : iStock
3. Delhi 6 Chat Bhandar
Serving up the flavours of Old Delhi, the Delhi 6 Chat Bhandar is like an institution for chaat aficionados in the city. Whether it’s for a plate (or ten) of Pani Puri or a taste of their airy, fluffy Daulat Ki Chaat, Delhi 6 doesn’t ever disappoint. Another fan favourite is their freshly fried tikkis, usually served in a decadent butter-soaked pav.
Address: Auditorium, Siri Institutional Area, Asian Games Village Complex, Siri Fort, New Delhi, Delhi 110049
Timings: 4 pm to 6 pm
Cost for two: ?200
4. Chote Lal Chaat Bhandar
Potato-lovers assemble, this spot is well-known for its Aloo Chaat but also has some other unique tricks up its sleeve. They have a mixed fruit chaat and a dry fruit chaat which are totally unlike anything you might have tried before and keeps patrons flocking to this shop in Sitaram Bazaar.
Address: Shop Number 1011, Sitaram Bazar, Delhi - 110006 (Near Main Market)
Timings: 12 pm to 10 pm
Cost for two: ?200
5. Prabhu Chaat Bhandar
More commonly called USPC Chaat, after its main clientele of UPSC aspirants, this stall opens up in the afternoon and draws a consistent queue of eager patrons. While excelling in various menu items, their aloo tikki, accompanied by sonth and mint chutney, is a standout. To enhance the experience, indulge in their creamy Falooda Kulfi for a sweet end to the day.
Address: Shahjahan Rd, near UPSC Bhavan, UPSC, Man Singh Road Area, New Delhi, Delhi 110069
Timings: 12 pm to 8 pm
Cost for two: ?150
6. Hira Lal Chaat Bandar
Another spot with a unique offering, Hira Lal Chaat Bandar draws crowds for their Kulle Ki Chaat which is a unique concept where four seasonal fruits or vegetables are hollowed out and filled with more fruits and a chatpata chaat masala. They’re also known for making delicious Aloo Tikkis and Aloo Chaat.
Address: Shop No 3636 Gali Lohe Wali, Hira lal Chat wale, Chat, Goode Wali Gali, Chawri Bazar, Delhi, 110006
Timings: 12 pm to 10 pm
Cost for two: ?150
So if you’re on the hunt for some of the best Chaat spots in Delhi, look no further than these 6 destinations to experience a street food extravaganza.
End of Article
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