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What: Sort of the unofficial dish of New Delhi, though it’s popular elsewhere in North India, chole bhature is a Punjabi concoction of spicy curried chickpeas (chole) and puffy fried white-flour bread (bhature), most often eaten together for breakfast (it’s also known as chana bhatura). Come mornings, popular chole bhature spots are crowded with everyone from local rickshaw drivers and shopkeepers to university students, all looking for a delicious cheap meal. Tell a local you ate this for breakfast and you’ll get the widest grin imaginable.
Where: Based on several recommendations, including the helpful Eating Out in Delhi blog, we scarfed down some excellent chole bhature at Baba Nagpal’s Corner (2642-8755; 7/25 Gupta Market, Lajpat Nagar-IV, Amar Colony, New Delhi, map). Many tuktuk drivers will know it, or else will have no trouble getting someone in that area to direct him.
When: Daily, 7:30am-7pm (but come in the morning for this dish)
Order: The chole bhature (50 rupees), which usually comprises one piece of bhatura, though we were kindly given two—a good thing, as the bread is delicious on its own: crisp yet soft, showing some shreds of paneer inside. (The dish is also accompanied by raw onions and whole green chilies, which foreign stomachs should probably avoid.) To eat it, rip off a piece and scoop up the well-spiced chole, which is studded with potato. It’s a hearty, addictively tasty meal that’s nicely balanced by a lassi (remember: no ice!). Also great here is the rajma chawal, or kidney beans with rice.
Alternatively: North of Old Delhi, near Delhi University’s north campus, Chache di Hatti (D-33, Kamla Nagar, map), is another terrific spot for chole bhature (till 3pm only), and the city’s foodies tend to wax poetic about the dish offered at Sita Ram Diwan Chand (2358-6128; 2243, Chuna Mandi, map), in Paharganj, north of Connaught Place. If you’re looking for it later in the day, try Roshan Di Kulfi (2872-4230; 2816, Ajmal Khan Rd., map) in Karol Bagh, west of Old Delhi (follow it up with a kulfi faluda there), or Bengali Sweet House (26-37, Bengali Market, map), also near CP.
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