How To Eat The Right Street Food In India
Knowing how to eat the right street food in India can make the difference between finding some great cheap food or getting seriously ill. For most travelers, no visit to the heart of India is complete without enjoying some of the classic street foods that are available in the nation's urban centers. By learning a little bit about Indian street food and using some common sense, you will find it easy to eat the right street food in India without encountering any problems. Here is what you need to know.
Get to know major Indian street food dishes. While the street food that is available in India varies from one region to the next, the most popular street food in India is chaat. There are roadside chaat stalls offering this tangy, spicy mix throughout the urban areas of the country. Chaat recipes vary from one region to the next, but the classic version of the dish is a mix of fried bread and potatoes that are flavored with chickpeas, spices, ginger sauce and slathered in yogurt and sour chilly. Most street vendors offer the refreshing beverage lassi, which is a yogurt based beverage that can be sweet, salty or fruit flavored.
- Familiarize yourself with regional street foods. India is a huge country, and knowing the local variations on roadside dining is a key part of finding the right street food in India. Calcutta prides itself on offering a wide variety of fritters made of different vegetables fried in chickpea batter, as well as street food eateries called rice hotels that have various meals featuring rice. Street food is often sold in South India from covered carts or vans that are known as thattukadas offering stir fried pork, egg dishes, bread and crepes covered in coconut chutney, The city of Tamil Nadu has street food sold from similar vehicles that offer deep fried lentil dough, potatoes and vegetables.
- Ask locals for advice. If you are unfamiliar with buying street food in India, it is a good idea to ask local residents where they prefer to purchase a cheap lunch when they are on the go. Vendors who sell substandard street food quickly gain a bad reputation within a community, and locals are more than willing to tell travelers which vendors to visit and which ones to avoid.
- Go with your gut. When you are purchasing street food in India, it is important to bear in mind that not all street vendors are required to meet government mandated food safety regulations. The vast majority of the street food available in India is perfectly safe, but there are still some vendors that do not follow healthy food handling practices and sell expired products. If a vendor's stall or cart does not appear sanitary or the food appears not to be fresh, it is best to err on the side of caution and find another place to eat.