Old Famous Jalebi Wala – Crunchy donuts dripping with sweet syrup!

By Mark Wiens 9 Comments
Old Famous Jalebi Wala in Delhi, India
Old Famous Jalebi Wala in Delhi, India

Does crispy fried dough dunked in sweet syrup sound good to you?

I had seen them many times walking around Indian influenced cities like Kuala Lumpur, but before traveling to India, I had never sunk my teeth into a jalebi.

Located right in the midst of chaotic Chandni Chowk market in Delhi, India, is Old Famous Jalebi Wala, a street stall that serves one of India’s most beloved desserts.

It’s been featured in just about every Delhi travel guide (including mine), and for good reason, because it’s such a legendary establishment.

A fresh platter of jalebis
A fresh platter of jalebis

What is a jalebi?

There are a number of different stories of how the jalebi came to India, but most believe that it was originally a Persian treat known as zulubiya, that was served at special feasts.

During the spread of the Islamic Mughal Empire, jalebis likely came too, filtering into all parts of India and adapting to the Indian taste buds.

There are a few different variations, but it all begins with a flour based batter that’s whipped up into a paste. The batter is loaded into a funnel and swirled into unique coil shapes within hot oil. When the jalebis have cooked and are crunchy all the way through, they are drained, and then immediately bathed in the sweet fragrant syrup for a precise amount of time.

Hot and dripping with both oil and sweet syrup, the jalebis are ready for consumption.

Ready for my first bite
Ready for my first bite

Standing on the side of the crazy street in front of Old Famous Jalebi Wala, you can see the process of the cooking as your mouth begins to water.

Even with long lines it doesn’t take long before you’re handed a silver lined paper plate with your little coil of glory upon it.

Taking a bite you’ll get the crunch of dough complemented with an oozing of sweet saffron infused syrup that tastes like honey. The combination, especially if you have a sweet tooth, is sensational.

Old Famous Jalebi Wala
Old Famous Jalebi Wala – can you taste it?

Some locals will travel long distances to get a taste of Old Famous, others say that it’s overrated and there are better places.

Since I have only had a few jalebis in my lifetime, I’m no expert on the subject and nor do I have many to compare it to, but I can say with certainty that for anyone who loves sweets, these jalebis are to die for.

Here’s a video sampling the jalebi at Old Famous Jalebi Wala:

Old Famous Jalebi Wala

Prices: The hot fresh jalebis cost 300 INR ($5.45) per kilo, but if you just want a good individual portion, it costs 50 INR ($0.91). That was more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. And just so you know, they are much more expensive here than other street stalls – due to their fame.
How to get there: Old Famous is located in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, and you can take the Metro to Chandni Chowk station, walk east past the Sheeshganj Gurudwara Sikh Temple and it will be on your right hand side (south side) on the corner of Dariba Kalan lane.
Address: At the intersection of Dariba Kalan and Chandni Chowk, New Delhi
Open Hours: Around 8 am – 10 pm daily


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9 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Christian Kjeldsen

    2 years ago

    These look delicious!

  • bill adams

    7 years ago

    I love it. But if you buy from the sweetsellers in the street they always have loads of wasps buzzing around it. And sometimes you might even get some with a wasp stuck to it. Mind, the wasps know something because they are sickly sweetie lovely! Just be careful of the drips

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing Bill, haha good point too.

  • Arti

    8 years ago

    Wow! Looks quite delicious, Jalebi certainly makes my mouth water now!! I am glad you finally had it in India 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Yes Arti, it was amazing, and I know it’s one of your favorites – since it’s a food to travel the world just to eat!

  • Deepika Kalra

    8 years ago

    It’s most amazing how you referred to Jalebi as fried donuts!
    Haha!

    I hope you’re having an amazing time in India.
    Till when do you plan to stay?

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thank you Deepika, they were delicious! I’m no longer in India, but I was there for 2 months and had an amazing visit.

  • Pravallika

    8 years ago

    The video is great. I always thought there must be a connection between Zulabia and Jalebi and you confirmed it. In my hometown in South India,syrup is made from ‘jaggery’ rather than sugar. I like that version better than the white sugar syrup. Nonetheless, it is simply an amazing evening snack on my way home. Cheers!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Pravallika, I’m sure the jaggery version is amazing!