What: Delhiites are particularly fond of their curried chickpeas (chole), especially as seen in this popular street food and its sister, chole bhature. While in the latter the chole is paired with puffy fried bread (bhature), kulche refers to the fluffy, usually oval-shaped baked bread, made from maida flour, that acts as chole vehicle for this traditional Punjabi dish. To further confuse matters, the chole in this case are often not chickpeas but yellow or green peas. But all you really need to know? The soft, thick, slightly sour kulcha plus tangy, spicy chole is a match made in street-food heaven. 

Where: In Bengali Market in central Delhi, we scored our chole kulche at Nathu’s Sweets (multiple branches including 23, 24, 25, Bengali Market, map).

When: Daily, 8:30am-11pm

Order: Nathu’s lists this dish as chana kulche (71 rupees), so it’s safe to say these were, indeed, chickpeas. And they were quite good, dark and spicy. The kulche, however, tasted a wee bit rubbery—like it’d been microwaved, instead of heated on a tawa, though we can’t say that for sure. Could have been the day, but next time we’ll seek out one of the following:

Alternatively: The best kulche-wallas seem to be the ones you have to search around for, those elusive street chefs who keep limited hours and ask you what spice level you prefer—like the long-whispered-about Lotan (somewhere near Chawri Bazaar, Old Delhi, area map), who allegedly runs out by 11am, and these guys near Karol Bagh in Old Rajinder Nagar (area map). We’re also intrigued by the amritsari kulche we read about in Rohini (northwest Delhi) on the Eating Out in Delhi blog—a different style of the bread that’s multilayered, crispy, and made with ghee. Sounds good to us!