The Jama Masjid in Delhi, built hundreds of years ago by Shah Jahan, still remains as bustling as it would have been in those days, and is a street foodie paradise! Because of its immense popularity, here’s a list of the dishes that you absolutely should not miss.
A few pointers to ensure a super experience
- Where you’re about to go is the ‘India’ that they show in Hollywood movies. It is every bit as old and crowded, and there’s hardly any place to walk on the street. Wear comfortable, walking footwear.
- Park your car in Rajiv Chowk and take the metro from there to Chawri Bazaar, because you will find no parking here.
- All these eateries are located near Gate No.1 of the Jama Masjid. You can take cycle rickshaws from the metro station.
- It’s best to go in the evening when all the stalls can be experienced at their best.
- Mutton Burra Kebab
- Seekh Kebab
- Gulab Jamun
- Gajar Ka Halwa
- Shammi Kebab
- Fried Chicken
- Boti Kebab
- Meat Curries
Top eateries in the area
1) Just opposite Gate No. 1, are a series of small kebabchees. The aroma hits passersby from 200m away and the five minute walk only helps build a deeper appetite as you head to this first stop on the food trail. For an appetizer, head to Qureshi’s Kebab Corner, which will be on your right if the Gate is to your left.
Great For: Boti Kebab, Also try: Seekh Kebab
2) A few shops back down the line of kebabs is a small shack that has delicious looking sweets on offer, with large boards proclaiming Shahi Tukda, and no discernible name. I asked the owner what his shop was called, and he said, “Sweets Corner.”
Great For: Gulab jamun (which comes directly from a pan full of beautiful hot syrup), Also try: Firni
3) Keep walking straight ahead until, exactly opposite Gate No. 1, you come to a road on your left. Now for main course. Head into Al Jawahar Restaurant for their delectably soft shammi kebab served with creamy green pudina chutney. You can try any of their kebabs actually, because this establishment has legendary status. Their biryani is also wonderfully flavourful, though somewhat spicy.
Great For: Any kebabs, Also Try: Biryani, Dal, Meat Curries
4) Next up, is another legend: Karim’s, which was opened in 1913. Personally, from their selection, I like their Mutton burra kebabs best. It is excellently charred, and great to eat with a side of dal and any form of roti. Their seekh kebabs are also very well known, and quite honestly, I will not tell you how great they are because they speak for themselves. Preferably go early because they are usually very crowded, and sometimes you may have to share a table.
Great For: Mutton Burra Kebab, Also Try: Seekh Kebab, Keema Curry
5) Once you leave Karim’s, to your left, further down the street, is Haji Mohd. Hussain, specializing in fried chicken! You absolutely cannot miss this delectable dish. The chicken is shredded and marinated in a spice mixture, and deep fried with a crispy batter, giving you tender, flavoursome chicken with a crunchy coating.
Great For: Fried Chicken
6) Still further down the line is Aslam Chicken Corner and they have reinvented butter chicken! The chicken in the butter chicken is first cooked on a grill, with a light spice mix. It gets charred and is made perfectly delicious all by itself. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, it’s put in a thick buttery gravy. They also serve tandoori chicken¸ but by now, it’s getting difficult to eat more.
Great For: Butter Chicken
7) If you go back up to Karim’s, just opposite, you will find Haji Tea Point. You can begin dessert here by sampling their shahi halwa. It’s soft, buttery and creamy, and all the comforting things that a dessert should be.
Great For: Shahi Halwa Also Try: Chai
8) Finally, at the beginning of the street, there is Kallan Sweets, and their various halwas. Kallan’s has been around since 1939, and is one of the most famous sweet shops in the area.
Great For: Gajar ka halwa, Also try: Moong dal halwa, Shahi tukda.
9) And now the perfect way to end your scrumptious evening, the royal way: paan. Next to Kallan, at the turn of the street, is a small panwari who had this beautiful fare on display.