For centuries Delhi has been a thoroughfare for traders, and the city's status as an intersection between different cultures has strongly influenced the cuisine. North Indian cuisine is the most popular and has a strong Persian and Turkish influence, especially in Mughlai and Punjabi dishes. Traditional North Indian delicacies include various korma dishes, tandoori chicken, seekh kebabs, kofta (meatballs) and biryani. However, there are also a number of good international restaurants based in New Delhi. Some of the most common international cuisines on offer in Delhi are Chinese, Thai, Italian and American.
For those travelling to Delhi on a budget, or anyone who needs a comfortingly familiar meal on their exotic travels, international chain restaurants such as McDonalds, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Pizza Express can be found all over Delhi. Those on a budget who want to sample authentic local food can brave the road side dhabas, which sell things such as kababs, rotis and biryani to be eaten on the hoof; although some of the street vendors' food should be avoided for health reasons, there are also some wonderful dhabasand. Some of the best can be found around Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin. Trawling the food markets is also a good way for visitors to sample local delicacies and work out what they like. Vegetarian food is available in abundance.
Delhi is a fantastic shopping destination, with shopping centres, malls and markets offering a variety of well-priced holiday buys. Sought-after Delhi souvenirs include local hand-woven oriental carpets and rugs, beautiful silk fabrics, and jewellery with precious gems and stones.
Authentic Indian handicrafts can be found in shops along Baba Kharak Singh Marg, available at affordable prices. Goods such as shawls, pottery, and paintings are available from the Crafts Museum on Mathura Road, while there are handicrafts and handloom items to be found at Dilli Haat, also a food bazaar. There are also a few antique shops to explore in Sunder Nagar, and a visit to the bustling Chandni Chowk shopping area is a must.
Dariba Kalan has some excellent jewellery stores, but be wary of gem scams: if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Fashion accessories and upmarket products can be found at the Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar and Janpath shopping centres, among others. Ansal Plaza shopping complex is a very modern and trendy shopping destination, as is Hauz Khas, which is an unlikely mix of medieval ruins and posh shopping. Delhi's range of shopping centres and bazaars are sure to send bargain hunters home with mountains of excess baggage. Travellers should bargain hard in the markets and remember to shop around before committing to a sale.
Over the past few years Delhi's nightlife scene has undergone a major transformation, and there are now hundreds of trendy bars, nightclubs and lounges ready to roll out a good time to revellers in the nation's capital. Delhi has typically been known as a city that goes to sleep early because stand-alone bars, clubs and restaurants in the city proper must legally close by midnight. However, these days it is easy to sniff out a good time in Delhi and many places manage to stay open late. Hotel bars and clubs, for instance, are not subject to this rule and tend to close much later than midnight. Late-night revellers can also move the party to the suburbs of Noida and Gurgaon, which are technically in different states and not subject to the midnight law. Having said that, many of the best places are located centrally, in the areas surrounding Nehru Park (close to Niti Marg).