Indore's Sarafa bazar to Mumbai's khau gallis beckon to every foodie in the country. Here's a list of top 10 and the history between how they came to serve lip-smacking food.
A meeting point of all cuisines, food streets or khau gallis in different cities provide a crash course in the locale’s traditional food and delicacies. While some of them have interesting histories, others just popped up with time.
Here’s a list of the top-notch gastronomic destinations around the country:
1. Thindi Beedi, Bengaluru
This stellar place located in VV Puram is a paradise for foodies. It comes alive and busy post sunset when the major shops are opened and pushcarts arrive at their respective spots. The crowd lasts till midnight enjoying their favourite items.
But only a few know that it was around 55 years ago that Thindi Beedi started to emerge as a food street.
It began with two or three shops and now has more than 30 stalls excluding the pushcarts. Today, you can find anything here – from authentic podi dosa to quirky chocolate pani puri.
Get down at the National College metro station and take a 10-minute walk to the street, ideal for setting your appetite. Begin with a freshly baked sweet bun from VB Bakery, enjoy the Chinese delicacies or maybe a South Indian dosa with a cheesy twist from a live counter and end the party with a nitrogen ice cream or matka kulfi from a pushcart.
2. Carter Road Khau Galli, Mumbai
Packed with a plethora of food joints from shawarmas to dosas, desserts and more, it is one of the popular destinations for Mumbai foodies. The cool breeze from the sea and the aromas wafting from the shops are more than enticing to its visitors.
This sought-after destination is famous for an assortment of fries and shahi desserts too. While here, do try the Paratha and lassi from Lassi Te Parrontthe and whole meat shawarma from Carter’s Blue.
3. Piplod Night Bazaar, Surat
This late-night food street in Surat, Gujarat, is rife with a wide range of restaurants and is a common spot for bikers. Fill your tummies with delicious sizzlers, burgers, parathas, pancakes and many more from around 50 restaurants in the area.
While one side of Piplod is covered with expensive malls and multiplexes, the night bazaar welcomes you with wide food options for a lower budget.
If you’re an adventurous foodie, try the SMC Night Bazaar Food Court which serves ‘Godfather’ pizza or Mann-Harr serving special pav bhaji and Singh Saab Di Rasoi’s lassi, which are among the top picks.
4. Sowcarpet, Chennai
Sowcarpet is one of the oldest and busiest areas in Chennai, mostly known for food and shopping.
Marwari traders from Rajasthan were the first to arrive on the business front. Today, it is a mix of locals and migrants from all parts of the country.
Sowcarpet serves everything – from authentic kachoris to perfect sandwiches. There is seemingly no cuisine left out on this street. Do not miss the murukku sandwich at S Chinnappa Sandwich Centre, coin-sized idlis and crisp onion uthapams from Seena Bhai Tiffin Centre. The mint chutney served by the former is exceptional and an absolute favourite of spice-lovers.
5. Sarafa Bazar, Indore
The bustling night market of Sarafa Bazar is a well-engineered seven-course meal of lip-smacking vegetarian food. A playground of North Indian and South Indian food, after you’ve visited Sarafa you realise that vegetarian food never tasted better.
For the uninitiated, you have to walk to the end of the bazar serving poha jalebi, sabudana khichdi, bhutte ki kees, egg benjo and dal batla and make your way forward for the sweeter matka santra and wide variety of pan flavours.
This jewellery street by day, located behind the Rajwada Palace, shuts shops to make way for the food stalls by 8 pm every day.
What started 100 years ago, the idea of a food street was initiated by the jewellery owners themselves so that the noise and crowd would safeguard their valuables.
6. DLG Night Food Street, Hyderabad
The food map of Hyderabad is influenced by several dynasties like the Qutb Shahis, the Mughals and the Nizams. Not surprising then that its food reflects several cultural identities of various communities across the country. This is why the city has been selected as UNESCO’s Creative City of Gastronomy in 2021.
At the DLG night food street you will find sheekh kebabs, keema khatta, tandoori chicken, paya, rumali roti, warqi parathas, phirni and more. Open till 5 am, it is also the popular hangout of techies and residents of Hitech City. Enjoy authentic Hyderabadi biryani and barbeque chicken – a crowd favourite at this market.
7. Chandni Chowk, Delhi
The one-stop destination of Dilli walas for clothes, jewellery, antiques, spices and food – Chandni Chowk. The street is crowded with hundreds of tiny shops and stalls selling a number of things.
Designed by Princess Jahanara Begum, daughter of Shah Jahan in 1650 CE, Chandni Chowk has around 1,560 shops. This shopping destination located in central Delhi serves delicious cuisines and street food from across the country too.
While walking through the narrow roads of the street filled with eateries on both sides, you get to smell multiple flavours in one go. Kela paratha of Babu Ram Devi Dayal Paranthe Wale, chole bhature of Lotan Chole Wala and khurchan mava of Hazari Lal Khurchan Wale are some of the many must-try items.
8. SM Street, Kozhikode
Expanded to Sweet Meat Street or Mittayi Theruvu, it is located in the heart of Kozhikode in Kerala. A beach day out in the city is incomplete without taking home a kilogram of black halwa.
The history of the place dates back to the ruling period of the Zamorins. It is said that the ruler invited the halwa makers of Gujarat to the place and gave them land to set up stalls outside the palace walls. The star item Halwa was made in different flavours and the Englishmen called it sweet meat because of its similarity in texture to meat. Today, there are 50 or more stalls selling multiple flavours and colours of ghee halwas on the street.
Apart from halwa, the street is known for authentic Kerala snacks like banana chips, jackfruit chips, achappam, kuzhalappam, murukku, madakku and more. SM Street is also a commercial destination in Kozhikode.
9. Mahim Khau Galli, Mumbai
This ‘treat lane’, earlier known as Balamia road, comes alive every Ramzan and Eid with its spicy and flavourful food items for a fair price. Open to all visitors, Mahim khau galli is especially known for its meat dishes like seekh kebabs, chicken vada pav, shawarma, falafel and much more.
Located close to Mahim railway station, one must try the delectable and rich treats at Baba Falooda. Serving a mix of flavoured ice creams and faloodas, dry kulfi and more, Baba Falooda is the place to be after devouring the spicy treats on this street.
Other eateries like Hussain Khichdawala, Makhdoom Masahab and Garib Nawaz are only a few of the best-rated spots in this lane.
10. Tiretta Bazaar, Kolkata
Bonding over a cup of cha and muri is part of the culture of Kolkata. Here, every Bengali will agree that food is the common denominator that unites us all.
Apart from the Bengali cuisine, which also includes some savoury desserts, there are several interesting food stories in the city.
Tiretta Bazaar, otherwise known as ‘Old Chinatown’, is said to be the place where Chinese cuisine was introduced to the country.
At this restaurant street, you will find Fung Mei Mian or sweet soya noodles, Prawn Tausi–which is cooked in black and fermented bean–Lohan Cai or a vegetable casserole, among other delectables. Explore the street to try out some unfiltered Chinese dishes that are not widely available in other food streets of the country.
At Bengaluru’s VV Puram Eat Street, everyday is a food festival, published by The Hindu on 23 April 2019.
Food Secrets: Eat Your Way Through Thindi Beedi, Bengaluru’s Favourite Eat Street, published by The Better India on 1 July 2016.
Khau Galli : The Biggest And The Best of Mumbai’s Street Food Scene, published by Caleidoscope.
Food Secrets: These 10 Khau Gallis Are the Best Street Food Destinations in Mumbai, published by The Better India on 17 September 2016.
Piplod Night Food Bazaar In Surat Is A Paradise For Foodies And Here’s Why!, published by Curlytales on 28 June 2022.
A Food Trail In Chennais Sowcarpet, published by NDTV Food on 1 July 2018.
Street Eats : A Foodie’s Guide to Sarafa Market, Where Indore Comes Alive Every Night, published by The Better India on 16 July 2016.
Flavours from the Streets of Hyderabad | INDIAN CULTURE
10 Must-Visit Street Food Joints In Chandni Chowk That Echo The Historic Food Legacy Of Delhi, published by ScoopWhoop on 2 September 2018.
Memories of a sweet street: Kozhikode ‘Mittai Theruvu’ has been around for centuries, published by The News MInute on 13 February 2021.
Have You Ever Eaten At Mahim Khau Galli? | LBB, Mumbai.
A Food Journey Around Tiretta Bazaar – Kolkatas Old Chinatown, published by NDTV Food on 7 February 2020.
Eat Like A Local: 5 Best Street Food Joints In North Kolkata, published by Outlook on 11 May 2022.
Edited by Yoshita Rao