What to Eat in Delhi
Masala chai is the milky spiced black tea thats found all over India thanks to the teacrazy British who set up plantations for export back in the 1830s and later worked to popularize tea drinking in India via the Indian Tea Association. Like much of north India and beyond tea stalls or chaiwallas (tea makers) are common sights on the streets of Delhi where they serve tea to passersby and local vendors. Its an integral part of life here especially in business matters: While shopping in the north you might be asked to sit and have tea which will be fetched from the nearest stall by a shop employee (or relative) and brought to you at no cost. Although chai generically means tea in much of India what you get will likely be a tiny glass of the milky spiced sweet drink thats more accurately called masala chai in which water black tea leaves (often Assam or Darjeeling) milk sugar and masala or spices are boiled together before straining. The pungency of the masala will vary by place but usually the mix counts cardamom cinnamon and black pepper among its ingredients. Chai is generally pretty safe to drink as the water is thoroughly boiled although its not a bad idea to request a plastic cup in case of suspect glasswashing.