Best food to eat at India’s railway stations

Sharanya Kumar

Train journeys have long been intimately connected with food, taking us through India’s diverse cultures and cuisines even as we head towards our destination. If you’ve stocked up on theplas packed in foil, and are planning to make do with the samosas and little cups of tomato soup sold on-board, allow us to take you on a gastronomic journey. Here are 20 of the best Indian foods that railway stations across the country have to offer, according to the IRCTC.

Fair warning: reading this article will make you feel very hungry, maybe just enough to go ahead and book tickets for your next train journey?

Best food to eat at India’s railway stations

Lal Chah at Guwahati Railway Station, Assam

What’s a trip to Assam without sampling the state’s finest tea? Lal Chah gets its name because of its typical reddish-brown hue. It is a simple Assam black tea, brewed with no milk, and flavoured with liberal helpings of sugar, spices and lemon juice. Lal Chah is easily available at local tea shops at and near Guwahati Railway Station, a must-try beverage for weary passengers.

Aloo Dum at Kharagpur Junction, West Bengal

Slow-cooked baby potatoes in a rich, spicy gravy, aloo dum is a traditional favourite across many parts of India. Kharagpur Junction in West Bengal  is famous for its aloo dum, with passengers making it a point to savour the dish even in the middle of busy journeys. It is reasonably-priced, and is extra delicious when paired with aloo puris, also available at the station. Don’t hesitate to request more masala for an extra kick of flavour!

Sandesh at Howrah Junction, West Bengal

Sandesh a traditional Bengali dessertSandesh, a traditional Bengali dessert
When your train halts at Howrah Junction, you can sample this sweet treat for yourself or, in Bengali tradition, gift it to your loved ones. With curdled milk as the base, sandesh is garnished with powdered sugar, cardamom, almonds or tutti frutti.

Litti-Chokha at Patna Junction, Bihar

This Bihari classic comprises ghee-soaked wheat flour balls stuffed with roasted gram and a variety of spices, accompanied by a preparation of tomatoes and brinjals. Littis are typically baked in a tandoor, giving them a deliciously smoky flavour. The dish is a well-balanced, filling meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Despite its rather involved preparation process, litti-chokha is a popular street food, and where better to try it than in the capital city?

Fish Curry at Tatanagar Junction, Jharkhand

If you’re craving fresh, succulent fish prepared in a mouth-watering curry, look no further than Tatanagar Junction in Jamshedpur. The railway station’s take on fish curry is reminiscent of simple  home cooking, and is served with rice, onions, tomatoes and coriander salads.

Aloo Chaat at New Delhi Railway Station

Indian street food is synonymous with all manner of chaat. And you don’t even have to step out of the railway station for a taste of authentic, Dilli-style chaat. Crispy-fried potatoes mixed in with spices, sweet and sour chutneys, lemon juice, topped with sev and coriander — this is the complete flavour package that will make your journey all the more enjoyable.

Aloo Tikki at Tundla Junction, Uttar Pradesh

Freshly prepared Aloo Tikki on a griddleFreshly prepared Aloo Tikki on a griddle
As you ride along the Howrah-Delhi line, this regional savoury snack is sure to make you very happy indeed. Treat yourself to Tundla Junction’s renowned aloo tikki or spiced potato patties. You won’t be able to stop at just one!

Moong Dal Pakoda at Bareilly Junction, Uttar Pradesh

While we’re on the subject of scrumptious fried street food, you can’t go wrong with the moong dal pakoda at Bareilly Junction. If it’s raining cats and dogs outside and your train journey’s beginning to feel a little too dreary, shake things up with these golden orbs of fried yellow lentils seasoned with just the right herbs and spices, and served with your chutney of choice.

Lassi at Amritsar Junction, Punjab

No trip to (or through) Punjab is complete without guzzling the state’s iconic lassi (buttermilk). While there are numerous variations, the drink is traditionally made from yoghurt and water, blended with spices and topped with dry fruits. Served chilled, lassi makes for a refreshing accompaniment to kulchas or parathas.

Chole Bhature at Jalandhar City Junction, Punjab

Chole Bhature accompanied by sliced onions
Chole Bhature, accompanied by sliced onions
Deep-fried puris and a spicy chole, what’s not to love about chole bhature? While this classic North Indian dish is a go-to breakfast option for many, it can really be eaten whenever you feel like it. The hearty Chole Bhature at Jalandhar City Junction is sure to warm you right up on those cold winter mornings.

Kadhi Kachori at Ajmer Junction, Rajasthan

This tangy Rajasthani dish is a staple in Ajmer, available at every street corner and of course, the railway station. The crispy kachoris are served with the city’s distinct kadhi, richly flavoured with a range of spices, such as fennel seeds, coriander seeds and fenugreek leaves.

Camel Milk Tea at Surendranagar Junction, Gujarat

While camel milk has not fully hit the mainstream, its tea is a much-loved delicacy in many parts of India, and the camel milk tea at Surendranagar station in Gujarat is particularly famous. Camel milk is known for its distinctly sweet-salty taste, rich and creamy texture, and high nutritional value. Step away from your traditional teas and give this drink a shot!

Kanda Poha at Ratlam Junction, Madhya Pradesh

Ratlam is more than just “that station from Jab We Met”; the kanda poha served here is a local favourite. Start your day off right with a hot cup of tea and this classic breakfast food that’s light, delicious and topped with crunchy sev and pomegranate seeds. Or you can snack on kanda poha after your late evening nap, we don’t make the rules!

Batata Vada and Pav Bhaji at Mumbai Central, Maharashtra

Pav Bhaji a musttry dish at Mumbai Central as per the IRCTCPav Bhaji, a must-try dish at Mumbai Central, as per the IRCTC
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella asked ChatGPT to recommend the best street food in Mumbai, vada pav came out on top, with pav bhaji not far behind. But do we really need AI to tell us why these dishes are so universally celebrated? These classic potato fritters (batata vada) and rich vegetable curry (bhaji) are best enjoyed with buttery pav — light and airy bread rolls unique to Mumbai. If your train happens to be passing through the city, do not miss out!

Dal Vada and Idli at Vijayawada Junction, Andhra Pradesh

As we begin to wind down south in our railway food journey, let us make a stop at Vijayawada, and tuck into the station’s dal vada and idli. These two popular South Indian breakfast foods are served alongside (or soaked in) piping hot sambhar and fragrant chutneys.

Ven Pongal and Utappam at Guntakal Junction, Andhra Pradesh

Ven Pongal is a South Indian porridge that is traditionally prepared during the Tamil harvest festival. Softer and fluffier than dosas, utappams are served with vegetable toppings, flying off the tavas just in time to serve hungry passengers. Guntakal, a melting pot of many faiths and cultures, is home to both these delicious dishes.

Rava Dosa at Chennai Central, Tamil Nadu

Vendors on the platforms of Chennai Central Station, and indeed all across the region, serve their rava dosas with a spicy, potato filling, paired with coconut chutney or vegetable kurma. It’s hot, fresh and dare we say, it’s worth missing your train for?

Pazham Pori at Ernakulam Junction, Kerala

Sweet banana fritters a classic snack from KeralaSweet banana fritters, a classic snack from Kerala
Pazham (remember: the ‘zh’ is pronounced with a soft ‘r’ sound) means ‘banana’; Pazham Pori is made from Nendram Pazham, a ripened plantain that is indigenous to Kerala. To make this dish, the banana is coated in flour batter and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Make sure to grab a few (dozen) helpings of this sweet snack for the road if you’re in the area.

Appam-Stew at Thiruvananthapuram Central, Kerala

Kerala’s capital city is famous for its peppery coconut milk stew. The stew is usually paired with soft, delicate appams, made with fermented rice and coconut batter. This flavourful local delicacy at Thiruvananthapuram Central makes for a wholesome meal indeed.

Kozhikode Halwa at Kozhikode Railway Station, Kerala

This quintessential Calicut Halwa gets its unique taste from coconut oil and is garnished with dried fruits and nuts. The jelly-like dessert is well-known throughout the state, and absolutely melts in the mouth. Try it for yourself when you’re passing through the station!

Courtesy: cntraveller