Nutritionally speaking, I know we always talk about how ghar ka khaana being the healthiest food ever. It’s fresh & filled with dollops of maa ka pyaar 😊
But sometimes we crave for something fun and tantalizing that has different flavors from the food we eat at home.
Bon happetee, encourages you to pamper the foodie in you and presents you with this street food guide, so you can better understand the nutritional value of some of your beloved foods.
As a nutritionist, I’m more comfortable eating at a street food joint than eating at chain restaurants. That’s because I can see what the street food vendor’s cooking. Fast food restaurants sell pre-cooked foods loaded with preservatives.
Always opt for street vendors/ stalls where they serve fresh, steaming hot food which retains the lip-smacking flavour as well as keeps the risk of bacterial infections away.
Craving something fried? Just ensure that you are eating the piping hot, fresh batch. Don’t forget to ask the vendor if they’re cooking in fresh oil. If not the food tends to absorb more oil which will make you feel heavy and bloated.
Most street foods are served with coriander/mint chutney and spices which aid in the secretion of digestive juices for proper digestion. They’re beneficial for constipation, piles, abdominal cramps and balancing blood sugar levels.
Let’s talk about some of the most famous street foods and they’re benefits.
- Pani puri/ puchka/ gol gappe – The pudina, jeera and kala namak pani is an excellent source of sodium and potassium, which maintains the electrolyte balance and works as a great digestive tonic. The sweet chutney made of tamarind, jaggery and dates meets your iron needs. All you need to worry about with street food is that the water theyre using is clean and safe, if you trust the vendor then go ahead relish these balls of fun.
- Pav bhaji – The combination of veggies, pav and butter with the goodness of fibre and fat keeps the tummy full and prevents sugar spikes. A Mumbai speciality, Amar Juice Centre at Vile Parle and Sardar Pav Bhaji at Tardeo offer the most lip-smacking, wholesome pav bhaji.
- Idli/dosa with coconut chutney – These easy to digest, fermented foods brim with the beneficial bacteria which keep your immunity & digestive system strong whereas the Coconut chutney boosts your metabolism as it contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s), provides fuel to the brain and slows down the ageing process. Sri Krishna Café at Koramangala and India Coffee House in Bangalore offer delicious dosas. Murugan Idli Shop, Mr and Mrs Idly and Idly Xpress in Chennai are a must-visit for their idlis.
- Chilla chaat – Moong dal takes care of your protein requirements whereas the sweet and spicy chutney has a laxative effect offering perhaps the most delicious cure for constipation.😉 Vardhan and Satyanarayan AC Market in Kolkata and Prakash Chaat Corner at Safara Bazar in Indore are well-known for their chillas.
- Vada pav – Another Mumbai speciality, vada pav is a complete meal with carbs, proteins and fat that make tummy and taste buds happy. The garlic chutney offered along with vada pav has cholesterol-lowering properties. Ashok Vada pav near Kirti College, Gajanan Vada Pav at Thane and Shivaji Vada Pav at Vile Parle are the must-try joints.
- Kathi roll – The paneer or chicken kathi roll is one of the most delicious street foods which you can eat on-the-go as well if you’re pressed for time. A perfect amino-acid profile, it packs in a super-awesome protein punch with the goodness of energy-giving carbs. Ayub’s and Bademiya at Mumbai; The Kathi’s and Nizam’s Kathi Kabab at Delhi offer lip-smacking kathi rolls.
- Jhal muri – The Bengali version of bhel, jhal muri brims with the tastiness of healthy fats courtesy peanuts, coconut and mustard oil which not only keep your heart healthy but ensure slow, steady release of energy-providing glucose. The jhal muri vendor, opposite Jawaharlal Nehru Road and at Triangular Park, South Kolkata are famous for their jhal-muri.
- Chura matar – This street food from Banaras works as an excellent breakfast or evening snack. It is loaded with the iron & carb-rich poha plus protein-rich green peas which makes it a nutritionally balanced meal.
- Dabeli – A Kutch speciality, dabeli consists of sweet and spicy potato mixture, buttered pav, pomegranate and masala peanuts. It’s tasty and nutritional. Khau Galli at Ghatkopar, Kapil’s Dabeli Corner at Andheri East, Mumbai and Karnawati Dabeli Centre at Mani Nagar, Ahmedabad boast of the best dabelis.
- Dal pakwaan– The most popular Sindhi breakfast, dal pakwaan is a wholesome meal of protein-rich dal, carb-rich whole-wheat and chutney topped with onion which satisfies the taste buds and keeps your hunger pangs away. The dal pakwans at Kailash Parbat, Colaba and Satu’s, Chembur in Mumbai are a must-have.
- Missal pav – Quintessentially from Pune, this spicy dish is a mix of curried lentils, topped with potato bhaaji, chivada, chopped onions and tomato served with pav; it packs in all the five-pillars of nutrition in one meal. Mamledar Misal at Thane and Jai Hind at Lower Parel, Mumbai are the most-sought-after joints for missal pav.
- Grilled sandwich – The combination of vegetable and bread doesn’t get better than in a grilled sandwich. The vegetables and dollops of butter prevent the sugar spikes caused by the high GI bread. Adding cheese makes it a balanced meal. Right Place at Breach Candy, Sandwizza at Lokhandwala and Jay Sandwich outside National College in Mumbai offer the yummiest sandwiches.
- Litti chokha – Hailing from Bihar, litthi chokha offers a wholesome meal which is brimming with a carb-protein packed combo of whole wheat and sattu and dollops of ghee, and which helps in mobilizing fat from stubborn fat areas and keeps your skin free from wrinkles and ageing.
- Khichiya – Roasted khichiya (rice papad), veggies, chutneys and crisp sev. This is a popular snack which provides instant energy-giving carbs and fibre. It’s a must-try at Khau galli, Mumbai.
Street food, let’s bring it on. What say?
Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.