The 9 Best Street Foods in India

India and street food truly go hand in hand with streets in every city lined with vendors looking to fill your belly with delicious eats. These street vendors have been operating for generations and although each city has its own specialties, the following are street foods that must be tried on any trip here. From rolls to puff pastries to spicy green chutney; these mouthwatering delights will have you booking your trip to India in no time.

9. Pani Puri

You will find this street food pretty much anywhere in India and you certainly cannot go wrong when you stop to grab some Pani Puri. What exactly is this dish though? A crisp fried sphere which is hollow is filled with a delicious combination of potato, chickpeas, onion and sprouted lentils. The sphere is then dunked into a mix of tamarind and jaggery and then into a liquid blend of coriander, mint and masala. The end result is an incredible ball of flavor that pops in your mouth as you eat it. One thing to watch out for with this dish is ensuring that the vendor is using mineral water, unless you have a stomach of steel. Find it everywhere, order and pull up a stool with the locals as you chow down on one of India’s most favorite street foods.

Pani Puri

8. Chole Bhature

This dish is famous all over India but most eaten in Delhi where there seem to be vendors on every corner. This heavy breakfast food consists of a combination of spicy and creamy chick peas and puffy hot fried bread called Bhatura. This bread is achieved after the dough is fermented for almost an hour then sprinkled with Indian masalas and stuffed with fresh crumbled paneer. It is generally accompanied by a yogurt-type drink and onion, pickle and green chutney. If you happen to be in Delhi eating this dish, most locals recommend going to Sita Ram Diwan Chand. Here the filling is both sweet and spicy; the bread puffy but not overbearing and it is served with incredible sweet and sour chutney.

Photo by: Little Black Book
Photo by: Little Black Book

7. Vada Pav

It is truly the Indian version of the American hamburger, and everyone’s grab and go snack in India. It is one of the most loved street foods across the country and is not only cheap but incredibly delicious as well. What this “burger” consists of are potato patties that have been mashed with garlic, chilies and coriander that are then dipped in chickpea flour, fried golden, then laid in the bun or as they call it the “pav”. The pav is a springy white bun that’s well buttered, spread with coriander chutney and sprinkled with garlic and chili powder. It is often accompanied by red or green chutneys and fried green chilies. Most famous in Mumbai, it seems anywhere you get this treat, it’s amazing.

Vada Pav

6. Chaat

It is a North Indian staple that is now offered across every city and state in a variety of different options. Over the course of time this dish has evolved and every town and every vendor serves up something a little different. Legend has it that Chaat was born out of the royal kitchen of emperor Shah Jahan who was ordered to consume foods that were light in his stomach but high on spice. What Chaat actually consists of will vary from vendor to vendor but they will all have something in common; they are crispy, sweet, spicy and sour all rolled into one. Some of the more famous chaats are bhel puri, dahi puri, paani puri and papdi chaat.

Chaat india

5. Litti-Chokha

This street food is mostly found in India’s Bihar state and although one often confuses it with Baati, it is actually prepared completely different and has its own unique textures and taste. Litti consists of wheat and powdered gram or lentil that is formed into balls and covered with spices. They are then injected with clarified butter by a hole and cooked in a wok of boiling oil. Ingredients used in this dish include sattu, chana, and chokha. Most people tuck this treat into breakfast, lunch or dinner, as there is no bad time to indulge in this awesome street food.

Photo by: Rachnas Kitchen
Photo by: Rachnas Kitchen

4. Aloo Tikki

This North Indian snack means potato croquette when translated and can be found in almost every shop and stall in Delhi and throughout the country. This piping hot snack is prepared from boiled potatoes, onions and various spices. Along with the potatoes and onion you can expect red and green chutney, coriander-mint sauce or sometimes even yogurt and chick peas.

Aloo Tiki

3. Kachori

This spicy street snack is found all over India although rumor has it the best place to have it is in Bikaner, a former princely state in Rajasthan. Kachori are small, crisp, golden fried puri, stuffed with a dry, spiced filling and sometimes served with curried potato. There are different variations of the Kachori including the Pyaaj Kachori (onion kachori and the Mawa Kachori which is a sweet dish dipped in sugar syrup. Crispy, tasty and readily available, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Kachori

2. Bhelpuri

Often associated with the beaches of Mumbai, Bhelpuri is a mixture of Muri (puffed rice), crushed papri, chopped onions, potato and coriander, sev or bhujiya and mix of sweet chili chutney and tamarind sauce. It is most often served in a cone of newspaper and it comes with a wooden ice cream spoon, making it not only delicious but a lot of fun to eat.

Bhelpuri

1. Kati Roll

Originating from Kolkata, India, this skewer-roasted kebab (chicken, lamb or sometimes meat) wrapped in paratha bread is perfect for the meat eater. It is layered with onion, sauces including ketchup and chili, and normally a spicy green chutney. Some people like to add on a layer of egg to add even more taste and protein. The whole thing is wrapped in newspaper and although countries around the world are trying to replicate this dish, there is nothing better than an authentic Kati Roll in India.

Photo by: The Worldly Vegetarian
Photo by: The Worldly Vegetarian

The 6 Worst Luxury Hotel Openings

Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI), a members-only luxury travel organization aimed at high rollers and those with deep pockets has released their annual list of the Worst Luxury Hotel Openings of 2015. While most of us would probably give our right arm for a chance to stay in these high end establishments, the company described many of the properties to make this years list as underwhelming and disenchanting. Maybe they’re being a little harsh or perhaps you just come to expect certain things when paying these kind of nightly rates… either way, here are the six worst luxury hotel openings of 2015:

6. Lanesborough, London

The 5 star, 93-room Lanesborough Hotel was re-opened this year in central London after being closed for renovations since December 2013. The renovations cost a reported £80 million, but bucking the trend for simplistic, pared-down style hasn’t won them any praise.

Photo by: Luxury Hotel Experts
Photo by: Luxury Hotel Experts

5. EDITION, Miami Beach

The Mariott/Ian Schrager owned EDITION Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida was closed for renovations for nearly four years and officially re-opened at the beginning of 2015. After that kind of time, you expect it to have been worth the wait, but according to reports, it lands on this year’s luxury worst list as a result of terrible service.

Photo by: Edition Hotels
Photo by: Edition Hotels

4. Zaya Nurai, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s Zaya Nurai Island resort touts itself as “the most sought-after luxury beach resort” according to the resort website, but finds itself in the number four spot on this years worst luxury hotel opening list. Reports say the hotel just isn’t on par with the amazing beauty of it’s island location.

Photo by: Expedia
Photo by: Expedia

3. St. Regis, Mumbai

Coming in third is the St. Regis Hotel in Mumbai, India. Normally a very highly regarded hotel brand, this St. Regis property seems to have landed itself on this years worst luxury hotel list as a result of “a rushed and badly executed takeover of an existing (and troubled) property – The Palladium” reports LTI.

Photo by: CNN Traveler
Photo by: CNN Traveler

2. Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok, Mauritius

The Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort on the East African island of Mauritius re-opened in November of this year after an extensive 6 month renovation. Despite these efforts to upgrade, LTI named the property as #2 on this years list due to customer reports of “poor service and inadequate staff training plus a distinct impression that management is not present.”

Photo by: CPP Luxury
Photo by: CPP Luxury

1. Nobu, Manilla

Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro won’t be please to see his Manila, Philippines property ranked as this years number one worst luxury hotel opening of 2015. The American Actor co-owns the Nobu Hotel with chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood producer Meir Teper. While the 312-room City of Dreams property only opened in May of this year, reports say the 5-star hotel underwhelms at every turn and LTI reports “some questionable developments and over expansion.”

Philippines New Casino

The 10 Most Popular Destination Cities in Asia/Pacific

Tourism to the Asia/Pacific region has been on the rise for a while now, as travel becomes increasingly affordable to more people, businesses expand into new countries and cities and as young people become increasingly infatuated with exploring. And why not? With a host of colorful cities, storied history and amazing sightseeing, Asia/Pacific destinations deserve to be on your travel itinerary. Not sure which city to visit first (or next)? Take a look at 2015’s most popular destination cities in the region to help get you started on your next trip.

10. Osaka, Japan

Although less frequented than Tokyo on the travel circuit, Osaka is Japan’s second-largest city, with nearly 19 million inhabitants, and has long been an important center in the country. In fact, Osaka was even declared the capital city during the 8th and 9th centuries. In the Edo years, Osaka maintained its economic importance as a major center of the rice trade. A booming economy led to a burgeoning cultural scene, something that continued to develop during the 19th century as Osaka modernized. Today, Osaka has many attractions that can give Tokyo a run for its money—from amusement parks to kabuki theater, from cuisine to historical monuments, Osaka is a destination that offers a little something for everyone, so it’s little wonder more than 4.5 million people will have visited in 2015. Stop by Shitenno-ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan, or the landmark Osaka Castle.

Osaka, Japan

9. Mumbai, India

Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is the most populous city in India. It’s also the most popular city for travelers to visit—nearly five million of them in 2015—which is little surprise as Mumbai is the economic and entertainment capital of India. Mumbai’s cityscape is also impressive, with an eclectic mix of architectural styles documenting the city’s long history. Mumbai has the second-largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world, and skyscrapers now form a major portion of the city’s panorama. Mumbai is the birthplace of Indian cinema and hosts a large number of film festivals; Bollywood and Marathi films can be seen at many cinemas. Mumbai is also home to a well-funded contemporary art movement and has several art museums and galleries. The city functions as a major cultural center and hosts plenty of festivals throughout the year, with Christian, Hindu and Muslim traditions all represented.

Mumbai India

8. Shanghai, China

Perhaps more iconic than even the capital city of Beijing, Shanghai is, for many people, the representative city of China, which is how it attracts nearly six million visitors every year. The largest Chinese city and, in fact, the largest city in the world by some counts, Shanghai originally developed as a major center thanks to its strategic position at the mouth of the Yangtze River. It became an important hub during the colonial period, which helped bolster its international reputation. Today, Shanghai is the economic center of China, with major industrial, commercial and financial sectors operating there. Shanghai has long been multicultural, which is demonstrated by its mix of architectural styles, its religious heritage and even in the history of its most famous garment, the cheongsam. Shanghai is also an important hub for sports, being home to several professional soccer teams and the annual Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.

Top Cities 2013 - Shanghai

7. Taipei, Taiwan

As the center of Taiwan, Taipei is an important hub for economic, political and cultural activity, which is probably why more than 6.5 million people will visit the city in 2015. Taipei boasts many architectural and cultural landmarks, including museums, temples and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Taipei is also remarked for its geography, as it lies on an ancient lakebed between 2 small rivers; the nearby natural hot springs are world-renowned. Taipei also hosts many major festivals, such as the New Year’s Lantern Festival, a Dragon Boat Festival and the mid-autumn Moon Festival. The city is home to Taipei 101, a supertall skyscraper that was the tallest building in the world until 2010. Ximending has become famous for its shopping and entertainment. The city is also famed for its many night markets, street markets that operate during the evening, which are popular with citizens and tourists alike.

Taipei 101, Taiwan

6. Tokyo, Japan

Japan’s capital city is one of those destinations that “has it all”. Whether you’re looking for new and exciting fashion, interested in taking in traditional kabuki and noh plays, want to go shopping or just want to eat the freshest sushi in the world, Tokyo is your one-stop shopping destination. Tokyo is a sprawling city with many museums, temples, historic buildings and, yes, districts dedicated to nightlife, fashion subcultures and electronics. Climb Tokyo Skytree to get a new perspective on the urban sprawl or head out of town to climb Mount Fuji. Visit the castle, where the emperor and his family reside, or take a trip to Akihabara to check out the latest in electronics. After a long day, hit up Shibuya and Roppongi for a taste of trendy Tokyo nightlife. No wonder more than eight million people will stop off in this city in 2015.

Tokyo

5. Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong’s deep natural harbor and turbulent history saw it remain a British colony until near the end of the 20th century. In 1997, the city became an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Before that, however, Hong Kong had developed into a global metropolis, functioning as a center for trade and finance from the 1970s on. Today, more than 8.5 million people visit the city each year. Hong Kong has been described as the point where East meets West, with modernization and Western influences blending easily with traditions like feng shui and dim sum. The city is also a hub for the entertainment industry, producing many popular kung-fu action films. It’s renowned for beaches along its rugged coastline and with Mount Kowloon nearby with its extensive network of trails and steep terrain, which is popular among hikers. The city’s skyline contains the most skyscrapers in the world.

Top Cities 2013 - Hong Kong

4. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul will have received more than 10 million visitors in 2015, which make the city the world’s 10th most visited destination. As South Korea’s most populous and capital city, Seoul is the financial, cultural and political heart of the country. Seoul has been a capital city since the 14th century, and so it has a lengthy roster of historically important buildings and UNESCO World Heritages sites, including palaces and temples, as well as the remains of neolithic settlements. Seoul also has many museums and parks which form an important part of the cityscape. Two old residential districts are now preserved as museums to showcase traditional Korean culture and lifeways, including hanok houses. The Kimchi Field Museum is dedicated to traditional Korean cuisine. Seoul is also renowned for its modern architecture and was named World Design Capital in 2010.

Top Cities 2013 - Seoul

3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The capital of Malaysia will attract more than 11 million international visitors in 2015; in fact, the city has received at least that many visitors since 2012 and tourism growth shows no signs of slowing down. Tourism and shopping are major drivers of the Malaysian economy and nowhere is that more evident than Kuala Lumpur. Major attractions include the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world, the National Palace and the Jamek Mosque. Petaling Street and Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is another notable destination for tourists, as well as the annual Thaipusam procession to Batu Caves, a major cultural festival that attracts many visitors each year. The city is a hub for entertainment, art and events, including sports and music festivals. Greenspace is also important in the city, with many parks offering recreational opportunities. The Cultural Crafts Complex demonstrates the traditional processes for textile, ceramic and metal crafting.

Top Cities 2013 - Kuala Lumpur

2. Singapore, Malaysia

With nearly 12 million international visitors set to touch down in 2015, there’s definitely more to Singapore than the infamous Singapore Sling. Singapore is not only a city, it’s a city-state—meaning it’s also its own sovereign nation. Singapore is a global city, with an important financial sector and a busy shipping port. Cuisine is one of the country’s major attractions, with dining said to be a national pastime. Singapore’s multiethnic mix has led to a unique fusion of Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisines—like the Peranakan style of cooking, which blends Chinese and Malay gourmets. Of course, the multicultural tendencies of the country have also led to mixed styles of architecture and religious celebrations in the city-state. Singapore has also earned a reputation for luxury, with gambling and casinos becoming an increasing part of the tourist economy in the last decade.

Singapore city

1. Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s capital city is on-track to receive over 18 million foreign tourists in 2015, and it’s not hard to see what makes Bangkok so popular. With a mix of historical sites and buildings, shopping and dining and a dynamic nightlife, Bangkok offers something for everyone to see and do. Another major driver of Bangkok tourism is sex tourism—so much so that Bangkok has been nicknamed the “Sin City of Asia”. Among the notable sites in the city are Wat Phra Kaew, a Buddhist temple in the Grand Palace, and Jim Thompson House, an exemplar of Thai architecture. The city’s National Gallery showcases the development of Thai art. As the seat of the Thai government and the royal family, Bangkok is also a hub for the celebration of major festivals and holidays, such as the annual Songkran celebrations every April.

Top Cities 2013 - Bangkok

The 10 Coolest Train Rides in the World

In the 21st century, train travel has been displaced by other modes of transport, like air travel and automobiles. But many travelers laud the experience of train travel; it’s often faster than a car and, unlike air travel, it allows you to see the landscape as you roll along toward your destination. Reflecting this, many train operations now offer luxury tours for travelers who want to ride in style without missing an opportunity for exploration. Combining amazing scenery, national treasures and elegance, here are 10 of the coolest train rides around the world.

10. Maharajas Express -India

Travel through India on this amazing train journey. Five different routes are offered, departing from either Mumbai or Delhi. Choose from a four day journey or an eight day grand tour of some of the most famous and majestic places on the Indian subcontinent. Partake in Hindu rituals at the ghats of the Ganges or witness a polo match played not on horses, but on the backs of elephants. From ancient civilizations to the Taj Mahal, you’ll see palaces and museums, national parks and beaches on the Heritage of India tour. On the Indian Splendor tour, you’ll have a chance to explore an abandoned kingdom and a dinosaur fossil park. Departures are limited, usually once per month between October and April, so if you want to travel on the Maharajas Express, you’ll want to plan in advance.

Photo by: Maharajas' Express
Photo by: Maharajas’ Express

9. Grand Canyon -USA

Train travel is almost synonymous with the American West; train service was the glue that held the nation together until the mid-20th century. The Grand Canyon Railway captures the Old West feel with its stops at historic train depots and the El Tovar hotel, which was built in 1905. The railway has a number of unique passenger cars, including the dome cars that are peculiar to American railways. Two of the luxury parlor cars feature open-air platforms for observation. Trains depart the Williams depot daily and arrive at the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park two hours and 15 minutes later. The trains return to Williams around 3:30 in the afternoon. Along the 65-mile journey, the train passes through diverse terrain of the high Sonoran desert and mountainous areas, and passengers might sight any number of animals, including pronghorns, and a variety of plants.

Grand Canyon Railway

8. The Ghan -Australia

Connecting Darwin at the northern tip of the Australian continent and Adelaide on the southern coast, The Ghan makes one of the most fascinating trips in the world. The Great Southern Rail-operated train travels almost 3,000 kilometers over the span of 54 hours, with a four hour stop over in Alice Springs. The train originally ran between Adelaide and Alice Springs, beginning operations in the late 1890s; it wasn’t until 2004 that Darwin was connected. The reasons are obvious: the route runs through vast swaths of the rugged Australian Outback. With the new train in operation, getting to Darwin and seeing the Outback has never been easier, although delays and track trouble still plague the line. Stops at Katherine and Alice Springs allow time for optional tours. The Ghan generally runs once a week, although two services operate weekly between June and September.

The Ghan, Australia

7. Blue Train -South Africa

The South African Blue Train is world-renowned for its luxury service, boasting butlers, two lounge cars, an observation car and private carriages with gold-tinted picture windows. The train takes passengers nearly 1,000 miles between Pretoria and Cape Town. Originally, the service was meant to connect passengers from Johannesburg to England-bound ships in Cape Town. There was a time when four routes were offered, but all have been discontinued except the route between Pretoria and Cape Town. The train makes at least one stop in either direction, allowing guests to explore the Open Mine Museum at Kimberley Station or enjoy a glass of sherry at Matjiesfontein. The journey takes passengers between inland and coastal areas, showcasing the spectacular scenery of the South African landscape. Passengers will journey across scrubland, through mountain foothills and across rivers in the height of luxury. Bring formal wear for your dinner engagement.

Blue Train, South Africa

6. Trans-Siberian -Russia

Not just a single line, the Trans-Siberian Railway is rather a collection of lines that traverse the huge expanse of the Siberian hinterland, connecting European Russia with the Russian Far East, the Sea of Japan and branching into Mongolia, China and North Korea. It is the longest railway in the world, spanning 5,772 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok, and is still being expanded. Even before its completion in 1916, it had become a hotspot for travelers, who then wrote about their experiences. The journey from Moscow takes about six days and crosses seven time zones before dropping passengers on the Pacific Coast. The line is still incredibly important for the transportation of goods and people between Moscow and the Russian Far East, and its historical importance cannot be underscored enough. The journey might not be the most luxurious, but it is certainly a fascinating view of Russia.

TransSiberian Railway

5. Royal Scotsman -UK

If you look at many top-10 lists for rail travel, you’re almost bound to run into the Royal Scotsman, a luxury liner that offers charter tours of the Scottish Highlands in the UK. With a variety of tour options, ranging from two nights in the Highlands to the seven night Grand Tour of Britain, the journey makes plenty of time for stops at local attractions, such as castle ruins, whisky distilleries and iconic natural wonders. Some journeys even include outdoor pursuits like shooting clay pigeons. As you travel, the observation car provides spectacular views of the glens, lochs and villages that make up the Highland vistas. Dining makes use of the best local ingredients and experiences are mixed between formal and informal. Combining luxury with an amazing tour of the Scottish landscape like you’ve never seen before, it’s little wonder the Royal Scotsman ranks highly on so many travelers’ bucket lists!

Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr
Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr

4. Glacier Express -Switzerland

While the Glacier Express isn’t a very quick trip—in fact, it has a reputation for being the slowest express train in the world—you probably won’t mind as you pass through the Alps between St. Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland. The 7.5-hour journey takes passengers across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the Oberalp Pass. Large portions of the railway use a rack-and-pinion system for ascending through the steep Alpine inclines—up to 6, 670 feet at its zenith! Running east-west almost across the length of the country, the train travels through a number of important sites: the Albula/Bernina section of the trip are part of a World Heritage Site and the train journeys through the Rhine Gorge and up to the Matterhorn in Zermatt. Since the 1980s, the trains have run year-round, which means this spectacular trip can be enjoyed by travelers no matter the season.

Glacier Express, Switzerland

3. Eastern & Oriental Express -Thailand to Singapore

The Oriental Express is an actual train service, journeying through the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and, since 2007, Laos. The tour starts in Singapore and stops in Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth and Kanchanaburi before arriving in Bangkok. A guided tour of the River Kwai and a tour of Georgetown, near Penang, are included on the most popular route, although there are nine routes to choose from. The Singapore-Bangkok route takes three days to complete. The journey has been awarded a place on the Society of International Railway Travelers’ “Top 25 Trains” list, earning points for service, dining, beauty and off-train experiences. The service is operated by Belmond, a renowned name in luxury train travel, and is considered one of the best ways to explore Southeast Asia. In 2015, two new “signature journeys” were introduced.

Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr
Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr

2. Hiram Bingham -Peru

Hop aboard this luxury liner and ride the rails between the city of Cusco and the ancient Inca capital of Machu Picchu. This ride consistently makes the top-10 lists for travelers visiting Peru, and not only because it heads up to the sacred Inca city. Part of the Orient Express, the train operates in both directions and is named after the discoverer of Machu Picchu. Combine slithering through the soaring Andes in the Incan outback with fine dining and a relaxing four hour trip. Guests have brunch on the trip to Aguas Caliente, and dinner if they catch the late train back to Cusco. A local band provides live entertainment during the trip and guests can sample the Peruvian drink pisco as the train rumbles alongside the Urubamba River, which flows from the Sacred Valley. The observation car features an open deck for passengers to better enjoy the view!

Hiram Bingham, Peru

1. Rocky Mountaineer -Canada

The Rocky Mountaineer isn’t one route, but four routes running between Alberta and British Columbia in Western Canada. Formed in 1990, the company operates the busiest privately owned passenger rail service in North America, with more than one million passengers having boarded the train since its inception. The Rocky Mountaineer is a perennial favorite among train travel enthusiasts, having been named the “World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train” seven times and the Society of American Travel Writers’ top train ride in 2009. All four routes run through the rugged Canadian Rockies, some of them following historic routes such as the Canadian Pacific. In 2013, it was announced that a three day trip from Seattle would be offered. All trains operate during the day, with some overnight stops, between May and September. The “Journey through the Clouds” takes passengers over the Canadian National railway through the Rockies, between Vancouver and Jasper.

Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com