Paranthe Wali Gali in Old Delhi
Paranthe is a famous food of India made from bread and is found in all over the country. It is made from wheat and is staple food in most of the states of India. Wheat (ata or mayda) is mixed with water and dough is made from it. Then it is made flat and the shape is made round or triangle. It is available in various tastes. Simple bread paranthe can be ordered or else you can have stuffed paranthes with different masalas of different tastes. Paranthe Wali Gali is a place in Chandi Chowk, Delhi and has become a popular tourist spot due to its unique way of preparation and serving paranthes. People from far and near go there to experience the taste of Delhi. If you are in Delhi, then you must go there at least once otherwise you may miss this exciting street food stuffed with extraordinary flavor. The aroma of spices of the gali is mouth watering and is a great retreat for the foodies. Not so much luxurious, you could not like it, if you want lavish environment like deluxe restaurants. It is very simple and food is prepared in front of customers by simple desi kind of cooks.
Description of Paranthe Wali Gali
As you enter the gali, you could hear the shop owners shouting and see crowds in front of every stall. Customers are drawn towards the stalls due to its aroma and the sight of paranthe preparation. The chaos of the crowded street describes its popularity. As you pass by the road, you cannot avoid the temptation of tasting a paranthe. The sight if fried golden paranthes dipped in desi ghee is a delight to the tongue. The ghee fried paranthes are served with various lip-smacking sabjis like aloo-methi, dal, varieties of chutneys and achhar (pickles).
You can see shop-owners frying paranthes in tawa, steams rising spreading aroma, helpers serving paranthas to the customers. They use heavy tawas that prevent paranthes to soak extra ghee. Not only recently built shops, there are also many old shops, the oldest being 120 years. This gali is popular since a century and have been serving thousands of local people as well as tourists coming from all over the world. It is not that easy to maintain a paranthe shop for generations. Some of them have moved into other business to make much profit. Few determined old shop owners are there who love to make paranthe and they run the shops not for business, but for serving people with paranthes and to keep the flow in spite of so many challenges.
Description of the shops
There are more than hundred paranthe shops in the Paranthe Wali Gali. Among those, the famous ones are Babu Ram Paranthe Wala, Kanaiya Lal Durga Prasad, Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan and Babu Ram Devi Dayal. Paranthes they make are of many varieties and also not unhealthy as these are less oily due to the thick tawa they use. Types of paranthes are Govi Paranthe (cabbage stuffing), pudina parantha( pudina leaves), kheer paranthe, dal aloo special paranthe (potato and cereal), hari mirch parantha( green chilly stuffing), nimbu paranthe( lemon flavored stuffing), paneer paranthe, aloo paranthe, besan paranthe, mix paranthe (sweet and sour) and many more varieties of paranthes.
The price is very reasonable and you can have as much you can. Not only paranthes, they also sell self-made dahi and lassi. You can get hundreds of varieties in paranthes which is hardly found anywhere else. Some of the shops have been started by their fathers and grandfathers and still they are running. Previously parents were served in dried leaves and lassi in mud pots, but now plastic cutleries and steel plates are used instead of those containers. In fact, the previous containers were more environmentally friendly as plastic now has become the greatest enemy of nature.
You may go from New Delhi railway station. The spot is located just 4 to 5 km from the nearest station New Delhi. Taxis are available from Paharganj (opposite to NDLS) to the gali that takes minimum half an hour and maximum two hours depending upon the traffic. But if you manage to go after 8 or 9 pm then it will take just 20 minutes to reach there as the roads remain less crowded at that time.
Alternatively you could also go there by metro trains. Basically the metro line is divided into six numbers of lines, i.e. green, red, blue, purple, orange and green. So you need to know through which line you would get to your destination. The metro trains run every 5 minutes. So do not be in a hurry, relax and have your journey. You have to catch the train that runs towards Jahangirpuri. After boarding the train, get down at Chandni Chowk station. There are cycle rickshaws available to the spot. Staying there is not any problem, as you could find hotels ranging from 300 INR to 5000 INR in Paharganj.
The Paranthe Wali Gali is a very affordable place to have your meal. One or two paranthas is enough for an adult. You must try the Cheese Chicken kima Paranthe, spicy aloo parantha, khajoor honey paranthe and the panner mewadar parantha as it is the favorite item of all. Recently a new parantha recipe has been in the market, which is called the chocolate parantha. It is recommended to try this one covered with hot chocolate fudge and also nuts. The shops are very busy and it will take some time to place your order. For this quirkiness, your payment bill is clipped with a metal teapot and is given to you with a complimentary toffee that makes it appealing. The décor of the shops is ethnic and creates a traditional mood. The gali is a wonderful place for street photography. This place is one of the top and must-visit place in Delhi and therefore it is highly recommended for every tourist who visit there.