I will miss thee, chaat-wallah

Snack wallah

Granted, I rarely partake of streetside chaat (snacks), but when I leave India I will miss the ubiquitous chaat vendor nonetheless. He’s always ready to offer me peanuts, chips, chickpeas and other roasted or fried bits of unhealthy tastiness.

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Chaat wallah wallah wallah wallah

Mmmmm... savory snacks

I’ve tried to come up with a way to define, explain, demarcate chaat. I give up with any translation that goes beyond the English word “snack.” Indeed the online dictionaries seem to have my back on this one.

Chaat often combines small fried things — chips, crisps, discs, balls, puris, etc. — with various vegetables and the like: tomatoes, onions, mirch, chickpeas, beans, whathaveyou. And, of course, there’s spice and usually lime juice.

The photos and chaat boy above come from outside the shrine to Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri. See below for more.

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