When the food is right- the right proportion of ingredients, the right look, the right aroma, the right feel, foodies’ hearts jump with joy and they can’t stop drooling. If you’re one of those who believe that rarely any food falls into this category nowadays, it’s time to go back to street food. Why? Because it takes very little to get it right! And the right food can cheer up any day, bring a smile to any loss and is the perfect snack! Also, India is brimming with delicious street-food with many states having their own specialities. What’s even better is that your wallet will hardly mind your indulgence! Following are 5 must try street foods:
1. PaaniPuri/ Gol Gappe
Photo by ApoorvaJinka, CC BY 2.0
PaaniPuri is basically a cup-shaped crunchy ball filled with the softest potatoes, onions, different pulses and the crunchy sev and then dipped in flavored water- sweet, spicy, tangy- take your pick! You’ll find two types- the extremely spicy and tangy ones in and around Madhya Pradesh and the tangy and relatively sweeter ones in Mumbai. Let your taste buds guide you to your destination! PaaniPuri is always served to a bunch of people standing around the vendor who serves you in a circular order- forcing you to eat the one in your plate before the next one arrives. That totally adds to the exhilarating food experience!
Photo by DeepBluC, CC BY 2.0
Bhel is basically a mixture- of whatever you fancy! The most common base ingredient is Churmura or Rice puffs. Rice flakes and Matki are the new variants now available. This base ingredient is mixed with onions, potatoes, chillies, coriander, sev etc. If you stop here, it’s called Sukha (Dry) Bhel. To take it to next level, people add tamarind chutney, mint chutney, coriander and chilly chutney and a million other variants! This Bhel gives you the best feeling in your mouth with the right crunch of the murmura and the sev and the right softness created by the potatoes and chutneys! The cone shaped paper that bhel is usually served in is also one of its kind!
3. Aloo TikkiChaat
Photo by arvindgrover, CC BY-SA 2.0
Thought Aloo Tikki tastes just right inside your burger? Try the Chaat and you’ll change your mind. The tikki is basically mashed potatoes mixed with spices and onions shallow fried. This is covered with any flavored chutney you can imagine- tamarind, mint, tomato and the list is endless. Sometimes curd is also added in for a unique blended taste. Some vendors put syrup made out of a gram and call it ragdapattice. Then it’s garnished with raw onions, tomatoes, coriander and sev. Not much of crunchy here but the tikki melting in your mouth and the chutneys and curd adding the spices tastes heavenly.
Photo by a.a.sabnis, CC BY 2.0
Traditionally a Tibetan food, Momos first made their way to Delhi and now to most of other parts of India as well. Momos are basically dumplings which are filled with the tastiest fillings. Non-vegetarians have a huge variety- Chicken and Mutton being the most common but almost all other kinds of meat are available too. The vegetarian variants are usually made with Paneer or a vegetable mixture. Momos are famously eaten steamed but fried ones are also available. The Momos experience is taken to the next level by the extremely spicy, tangy salsa that they are served with. Your eyes might burn and water but there will be a smile on your face!
5. Kathi Roll
Photo by sstrieu, CC BY-ND 2.0
This one is from Kolkata! But thanks to Bengalis loving to feed people, all of us get to eat this little piece of heaven! So, a Kathi Roll is a chapati roll filled with interesting and delicious fillings! Non-vegetarians, this is another great way to get your mouths on Street-meat- Chicken, Mutton, Fish whatever you want. Vegetarians you’ll have a little better luck here with not just paneer and vegetables but babycorn, mushroom etc also being available. The roll if not made right, is very difficult to eat as the stuffing keeps falling out but you’ll rarely find a Kathi Roll vendor who hasn’t mastered the art. The roll feels just right in your mouth- an extremely filling and healthy food- but served with a twist!
So, drop whatever you are doing, gather your gang and have an evening of tasty street-food! While you’re at it, try some street-shopping too. Because Cheap and Good is a heavenly combination! And the streets are just waiting there with their mind-boggling variety; waiting for you to go out and explore!
Rohit is a food critic whose purpose in life is to find a food item which beats Mumbai Chaat on the price+taste+variety benchmark and well he hasn’t found one yet. Besides that, he also loves to take food holidays all over the country, photograph the delicacies and write about them at http://www.transindiatravels.com.