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No trip to Bombay is ever complete without gorging on the yummy chaats. The sweet, tangy and spicy pani-puris that melt into the mouth, and the perfect mix of ingredients that make the bhel, sev and ragada explode into a delectable and myriad mix of spices within the mouth, transporting you to a different world of gourmet, is simply an out-of-the world experience.

Eating chaat was a matter-of-fact affair and never taken so seriously while I lived in Bombay. Only after I moved cities, did I realize how much we take smaller pleasures for granted and how special an experience this was to become. Only a few cities offer the perfect chaat experience and only people like me who have moved out of these cities to reside in certain other parts of the country that simply cannot match up to the standard, can feel the void in the gourmet world.

Initially, I'd filled with enthusiasm upon citing a chaat shop in these cities and would help myself to the similarly worded dishes. Alas! none has so far matched my expectations, not even coming close to bearing a faint resemblance to the masterpieces. Especially, the pani-puris. The puris of the gogappas or pani-puris cut a sorry figure, with neither the shine, size, crispness or the texture that is its essence. The pani too is a sad concoction without the distinct flavour that tingles the nostrils with its spice. The sweet and tangy chutney made of jaggery, dates/tamarind is never added unless specified and even then it's not the same.

In short, after a few disastrous and disappointing chaat escapades, I've now become wiser. My heart no longer beats faster at the sight of the chaat-corners. I completely avoid eating pani-puris and for the rest of the chaat-variants, I have reset the expectation bar to a much lower level.

Thus, when I am vacationing at the parents' house, visits to the chaatwallahs are mandatory and I make it a point to schedule more than one visit to stuff myself with all the flavours and carry back the memories that can be relished and cherished until the next visit.



  1. Oh I remember the failed experiences too. I stick to the place where I find the chaat to be reasonably okay-ish. My chaat dream starts and ends with Dilli <3

  2. So true uma!!! I have never tasted the panipuri as divine as the one in churchgate B road.
    Similarly, delhi’s aloo tikkis, chole-kulche, chole bhatura, parathas are super duperlicious! I still feel bombay’s panipuri is miles better than dilli’s golgappes!
    this post has made me salivate!

  3. he he he i remember i had visited india and the first day i reached home.. I went ot the local market to eat the Gol Gappe :) yummm yumm yummm


  4. so very true..somehow i too enjoy Mumbai chats only...when i visit other cities, i m not sure if i like the taste or maybe i need help in ordering just the right stuff in strange place...trying something new in a new place is always disaster...

  5. Oh Now I want to get to Mumbai soon :(

  6. Oooo! Pani Puri...I have not been to Mumbai much except once when I did taste the chat on Juhu beach and it was a little too spicy for me then...Chat is something I gorge whenever an opportunity presents itself...and yes, the others can never match the authentic taste but something is always better than nothing I guess :D

  7. Sorry if this comment appears all smudged .. i blame you for the mouth watering post... :D

  8. ummm..never been to Mumbai but I too love chats..from hyd. Now, you made my mouth water..I want chaattttttt...sorry Uma, was not able to catch up on all your posts as I started back work.

  9. You said it Uma! I don't think pani-pauri from B'bay can be compared, though I've seen people from Delhi and Cal who swear by their respective cities quietly succumbing to it:) Have such a crazy time finding a decent pani-puri chaat place in B'lore, and there are so many of them!! One place which comes half-way close to B'bay chaat is Swati Snacks, 4th block Jainagar.

  10. I am a crazy chaat fan and speaking for the taste buds, I must say your dismay is well justified. I have found some chaat corners in Hyderabad that were awesome but that was the extent of it. After coming to Bangalore, I found it very tiresome to find a decent enough chaat corner :(


  11. I have heard similar stories from my friends in Bangalore... :D Even Delhi is a great place for chaat lovers... you won't be disappointed here.. :-)

  12. I keep seeing people on the Foodies group complaining about this too Uma, but as I have no experience of Bombay chaat, guess I'm better off not knowing what I'm missing ;) !

  13. i refuse to look at such post of yours, Uma! It is so not fair to tempt us underprivileged people living away from home with such posts or pictures. :( you made me sad! i will probably cry buckets today!


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