When we say that something belongs on the streets, we don’t necessarily mean it as a complement but when you come to the city of Pune, the streets are where the good food is so if anyone here told me that I belong on the streets, I’d just walk out and have a gourmet fantasy….
That joke belongs to the streets….
The city of Pune is no novice to fine dining. We’ve got some of the best restaurants serving food from all over the world but if one really wants to get a feel of the city, I suggest hitting the streets and exploring the Oxford of the East through its wide range of street food. In this post, Imma take you on a scrumptious tour of some of my street food favs in the city and unleash the vibrant culinary side of my home city:)
Our first stop on this food tour is a place called FC Road. Now when I say FC, I don’t mean Football Club, FC Road is short for Fergusson College Road as it’s close to one of the most famous colleges in Pune. The area is one of the most trendiest ones in Pune and it’s also where you get some of the best street food….
The first street snack on the list is what’s called ‘Kacchi Dabeli’. The best stall selling this is the pictured Natraj Dabeli stall where you can get yourself a freshly made Dabeli. The snack is basically a light toasted bun or a dinner roll stuffed with potato which has a tangy edging to sweet flavour. The taste is brought about by ketchup and coriander and mint chutney but the main thing that brings the sweet taste is pomegranate seeds. The mashed potato filling is stuffed with pomegranate before filling and that makes the whole snack simply *chef’s kiss*. The yellow sprinkles on top are what’s called ‘Sev’ which is a savoury garnishing made out of fried chickpea flour. It’s used in a lot of snacks and it will be quite a constant company in this culinary journey:)
The name ‘Kacchi Dabeli’ is given to the snack because it originates in the Kutch region of the Indian state of Gujarat. “Dabeli” is simply a word for bread.
Nothing eases the week’s workload better than a cup of coffee. Right beside the Dabeli stall, there’s a very happening standing cafe called ‘Rudra Cafe’ which makes the best frothed coffee in Pune. I absolutely love how the vendor makes so many cups of coffee in such a small place and each of the cups has a lovely garnishing of coffee powder on the top which hits the comforting essence of coffee right at home:) Besides, I like my coffee to have a strong and clear taste with the right mix of sweet and bitter and the Rudra coffee has it all. Some coffees tend to leave a bad taste in the mouth afterwards because they are slightly bland but that problem doesn’t happen here which is why I can’t recommend this place enough!
Also, it has cute cups in which the coffee is served so what’s not to love:)
Besides, the stall has an amazing customer magnet….
Meet Sandy, the culinary dog.
He was asleep when I went there but the appeal this fellow has is amazing. Not just for the cafe but for every stall on the street:)
Plot twist: He’s actually there for the meals.
Here’s a picture of me posing with coffee and the Dabeli. This picture also gives a view of the street and it shows how trendy and jolly the place is!
Ahhh, Momos!!!!The essence of culinary pleasure!
This here is India’s favourite snack apart from Maggi noodles and I can fully vouch for the fact. Momos are basically steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables or chicken and are eaten with a spicy sauce. Now in India, Momos originate from the north-east of the country where the weather is cold and a warm, steamed, healthy snack is always welcome. That is why the stall says ‘Darjeeling Momos’ because Darjeeling is a north-eastern town in the state of West Bengal where Momos are very popular.
Pune has a massive Momo culture. This is a snack you get everywhere and there are huge restaurant chains which specifically make Momos, no matter the weather. However the Momos you get in street stalls like this one here are more authentic because usually the vendors here come from the north-eastern states to set up business here. Lately, mayonnaise has become the new dip for Momos as can be seen in the second picture. I still prefer my Momos plain or with the spicy sauce but certain people love it with mayo so you do you, bub!
Before ye lot start questioning my eating habits, Imma make it clear that I do not eat dreamcatchers and my crazy dreams are simply dreamt by sleeping at night.
When I was busy stuffing my face with the dabeli, I saw a lady selling dreamcatchers and the wave of colour was just so pretty that it was hard not to visit her stall. Besides, the colourful feathers are a treat for my cat so I not only got a super aesthetic picture but also got my cat a present that will keep him active and happy:)
Moving on, our next stop is an area called Wanowarie where Imma show you some supreme culinary delights. Let’s head to the Gori Chaat Stall and see the very essence of street food.
Chaat isn’t simply street food, it’s a fusion of human emotion. Before I explain that, Imma tell you that a chaat is essentially a savoury snack consisting of a lot of Indian munchies like puffed rice, crackers, sev(the yellow sprinkles that I mentioned before), tangy cornflakes etc. combined with potato and doused or filled with tamarind sauce and occasionally paired with mint chutney or curd. Now with the amount of things that go into it, a chaat is a fresh burst of sweet, salty, tangy, spicy all combined in one and a spoonful of such delicacy is bound to bring in all happy emotions while making for a light evening snack.
Light? Yeah, despite the ingredients, chaats are very light unless you are competing in a culinary contest in which case, you might not enter the kitchen for three days:)
So, without further ado, lemme show you some of my favourite chaats from the Gori Chaat Stall and make your serotonin run wild!
The first chaat on the list is Sev Puri. This is a chaat where the Sev(yellow sprinkles) are the essence. The ‘Puri’ is basically a kind of cracker that serves as the base for the chaat and the snack has a sweet, sour and spicy taste owing to the tamarind sauce(extra in mine) and the green mint chutney. The Sev Puri here also has tiny bits of raw mango that really enhances the taste. This is my favourite chaat and I am not kidding when I say that I can have this seven days a week, hehe. I love the juicy tamarind and the spicy crispies! Besides, it’s very convenient to eat because the Puris(crackers) are bite sized and that prevents the mess which makes this the best chaat ever.
The second chaat is Dahi Bhel, my mum’s favourite chaat. A bhel is basically a mixture of sev with puffed rice flakes, chillies and peanuts, bound together in tamarind sauce. Now in ‘Dahi Bhel’, there’s additional curd added on top(Dahi is the Hindi word for curd) to give it a more cooling taste. Personally, I don’t like curd so I’ve never had this chaat but my mum loves it so much so I think it’s worth a try, just not for me. Besides, as I always say, try it all and then pick the favourites. That way everything’s fair:)
Now, the grand finale….Pani Puri. I cannot explain how much I love this chaat because it is the best thing in the world. It is basically a puffed cracker stuffed with mashed potato, chickpea and sev and filled with tamarind sauce and a spicy water mixture made of a little tamarind, coriander and a salty condiment called chaat masala which is basically salt, pepper and rock salt. Hence the name, Pani Puri(Pani means water, Puri is the cracker)
The snack is known by different names all over the country and it is so light that one can easily devour 20 of these in a sitting and still be hungry for more. I’ve competed in quite a pani-puri eating challenges amongst my friends(not official:)) and my record is 30 in a sitting.
I had seven this time because I had to eat a lot more stuff to bring up this blog but here’s the Pani Puri photodump.
I simply do not have the patience to pose for pictures when I’m eating Pani Puri but my mum managed to get this beauty, hehe….Just look at that cracker filled with love, just waiting to be devoured….Food of the Gods…..
That’s me eating a Pani Puri….Caught in action hehe….
After the adventurous chaat encounters, it’s time for some dessert….
The Forbidden Fruit, ‘Barf ka Gola’ or simply, Ice candy. No Indian child is ever allowed to have this little gem because parents are concerned about the water used and also because it’s made in a completely open stall like this….The coloured bottles are flavouring syrups.
Obviously, that rule applies to me too but like all Indian kids, I do what my heart desires hence I simply grabbed a friend and had a delicious dessert of the Forbidden Fruit. Guess what? We’re both still in one piece.
The orange ice candy is obviously orange flavoured but the purple one is called Kala Khatta. I don’t know what exactly the flavour involves but it’s something out of grape and it’s sour. I absolutely love the flavour but the one here had a bit of rose essence mixed in it so I had the orange one. I’m not a fan of rose flavoured stuff and I don’t know why the Kala Khatta candy had it but it usually doesn’t. Yet, my friend loved it so I guess it worked:)
Desserts are bae but forbidden desserts have their own sweet charm, hehe….
If my mum sees this, I want ye lovelies to know that I went down having a good time….
Who am I kidding? I’m pretty sure she’s had it sneakily too, back when she was a kid, hehe….
It’s an Indian Child’s secret:))
And that is a wrap!
Be back next week with part 2:)
Until Next Time,