Samosa, Pakora, Paani Puri, Vada Pav, Misl Pao, Bhel, Pao Bhaji, Bombay Sandwich-the list goes on. My mouth is watering as I am writing this post, but having some delicious chaat (indian fast food snack) is all I can think about after my 3 mile run this morning. In the US, I would miss Indian chaat even more so than an actual Indian meal. I mean the taste of having street chaat is unbeatable, and I felt the Indian restaurant in U.S. never really did justice to it.
In India, you can find multiple stalls on the road serving these items. Each neighbourhood usually has their favorite chaat walla, the person who has the best and probably most hygienic food. In Pune, I LOVE the vada pav from JJ Gardens. Even though vada pav is a Mumbai speciality, I think the vada pav in Pune is hands down the best I have ever had. The amount of chutney is just perfect and it’s not too spicy either. The vada (potato filling) is always hot and super crispy. I like that the masala in the vada isn’t over powering either. There is always a huge crowd in front of this guy’s stall, even at 7 AM, but service is impeccably quick.
I am also a HUGE fan of the bhel served at ELCO market in Mumbai. Last time I went to Elco, I tried their basket bhel and wasn’t disappointed at all. My mom had the traditional bhel, and just as a warning it is a bit on spicier side for those who are not accustomed to Indian spice levels.
So is this food really healthy? Nope. I am usually very conscious of what I eat, but I think Indian chaat is definitely one of my weaknesses. It serves as the perfect snack item at any time of the day for me. Also, you just have to use your judgement on what stalls you really want to eat the food from-not all of them have good levels of hygiene. My advice is to ask around for recommendations if possible, or use your own judgement before picking up a snack.
I am going to cut this post slightly short as I am going go downstairs and see if any chaat walla is open 🙂 Happy Munching!