Eating street food in India is an incredible experience but it can also be a daunting one. Amritsar was our first stop on our three week long India itinerary. It was an entirely chaotic, overwhelming and immersive way to begin to get to the know the vast country. In amongst the heat and hassle of the Punjabi city is a wealth of delicious street food. Follow this guide for a DIY street food tour of Amritsar!
Some tips for eating street food in India
- Go where the locals go; if it’s busy then that’s a good sign
- Take and regularly use anti-bacterial hand sanitiser
- Drink your own bottled or filtered water everywhere. A Life Straw is a good eco approach.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Locals love to chat and they generally love tourists. Ask them what their favourite is or to show you how to eat it.
- Eat with your hands (so have a cloth or some tissues in your bag!)
- Follow the ‘peel it or cook it’ rule
Amritsar Street Food: 6 Must Try Dishes
Note: portions are often large so I’d recommend just ordering one of everything and sharing between a few people! Leaving food can often be seen as rude in India (but don’t finish it all too heartily or they’ll try and bring you more; it’s a catch 22!)
Kulcha at Bhai Kulwant Singh Kulcha Wala
Kulcha is a popular Punjabi breakfast and the best in the world is said to be found amongst Amritsar street food vendors. It’s a type of leavened bread often served with different curds or Amritsari chole. This particular shop is decades old and is only a short walk from the Golden Temple; visit for breakfast.
75 Rs (76p) per dish
Jalebi at Gurdasram Jalebi Wala
Jalebi is my favourite Indian sweet treat. It’s sort of like thin, crispy fried doughnut dough coated in sugar syrup. Yum! It’s incredibly sugary and sticky to eat. I absolutely loved this little hole in the wall style shop where you could watch the man make it in front of you.
Paneer Bhurji at Tara Chand
Paneer bhurji is essentially scrambled paneer cheese mixed with spices and served with slices of white bread and fried onions. It’s incredibly filling and will satisfy all your carb-hungry desires! Portions are huge so visit this Amritsar street food vendor with an empty stomach.
Drink Lassi at Gian Di Lassi
Lassi is a much renowned Indian drink. It’s made from yogurt and butter and comes in salty and sweet flavours. Gian Di Lassi has been operating since 1921. You can watch them churning and filtering the lassi out the back which is really impressive! I’d recommend just going for a small until you know you like it. The real deal is quite different from that served in bottles in supermarkets in Europe or at Indian restaurants in the UK, so bare that in mind!
25Rs (25p) for a half, 40Rs (40p) for a full cup
Golgappe (Pani Puri) from one of the carts
It’s hard to pin point an exact vendor because they all move around however if you’re doing an Amritsar street food tour you won’t miss them! Golgappe is a thin wafer like cracker filled with spicy, herbaceous water. Gosh, it’s hard to describe. You eat it in one bite and will probably dribble it down your chin, which is fine. Go to any of the vendors, they’ll show you what to do!
Chai at Sharma Tea Chai Stall
Drink real Indian chai at this heritage chai stall. One of the last remaining (supposedly!) that uses real coal to cook this cardamom spiced hot milk drink. Chai is an absolute staple in Indian culture. It’s a lot more bitter than you might have experienced if you’ve tried it in the west. Pull up a little seat and enjoy a mug or grab a to go in a terracotta cup. You smash it when you’re done for sanitation purposes: so nobody uses the same cup!
If you manage it all in one morning like us then you definitely need to reward yourself with a long nap and a very stretchy waistband!
Although you could DIY your way round, we used Incredible Amritsar. Our guide, Sajan, was brilliant at explaining the heritage as well as leading us through the busy streets! It cost 300Rs (£3.07) per person on top of the above prices paid to the vendors. Don’t forget to tip your guide too!
Pin my guide to Amritsar street food for later