Panipuri, Golgappa, Phuchka: The Popular Stalls Across India
Priyadarshini Nandy | Updated: July 18, 2017 11:33 IST
Our love for chaats this season continues as we send our tasting scouts to find some of the best panipuri, golgappa, phuchka or pani ke bataashe they’ve ever had. That’s the beauty behind the innocuous deep fried snack – fill it up with goodies, and flavoured water, and it’s almost like a good addiction. Then again, a bad panipuri can ruin an entire experience. And as you go from state to state, these delicious treats change in taste and flavour, and yet conjure the same kind of charm.
Did you know that the panipuri has almost a dozen different names that changes from region to region? In fact the recipe for the puri isn’t always the same. While semolina and refined flour are the standard ingredients, the ratio of these two ingredients results in slightly different tastes as well.
Here are a few of our favourite panipuri joints from different parts of the country -
The Mumbai panipuri can be found almost everywhere – from restaurants to the streets. And while most people have their favourite haunt that they will rarely budge from, there are some that are uniformly popular.
Elco Market on Hill Road in Bandra is one such spot. They use filtered water to make the pani, so you can heave a sigh of relief for your stomach. The crowd is what you need to worry about here though. The Chowpatty at the Northern end of Marine Drive is filled with panipuri stalls that you can’t miss. The food stalls that dot Juhu beach are equally busy on weekends and holidays. Here is where you get to taste the famous Mumbai panipuri.Shivkripa Panipuri Stall near the John Baptist School in Thane west has quite a fan following among the locals. The tamarind chutney that’s added to the panipuri is full of flavour and takes it to another level. There’s a place called Appointment in Seven Bungalows in Andheri west that serves crisp puris with deliciously balanced pani.Jai Bajrang Chaat Centre near Greenfields Society on Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road is also famous for its panipuris, especially since you can choose between a filling of chickpeas or potatoes. Mumbaidevi Commercial Centre in Zaveri Bazaar is home to Bhagatchand Tarachand that you might like to check out if in the area. Their chaat counter is quite a hit. If you’re around Warden Road near Breach Candy, there’s an easily-missed stall near the Breach Candy Hospital. The panipuri there too is quite delicious, and spicy too. And finally there’s the Vithal Bhewala near CST station. It’s known to be quite legendary because it dates back to pre-independence days. Don’t miss this one out.
New Delhi's Golgappas
Delhi golgappas aren’t identical to the panipuri of Mumbai. The puris are often slightly elongated when compared to what’s available in the rest of the country. The golgappas at Chote Lal Chaat Bhandar at Chawri Bazaar comes with a spicy filling and the water is tangy for sure. Ashok Chaat Bhandar at Sitaram Bazaar in Chandni Chowk is also known for this treat. You can also try it out with the sweetened water if you don’t want the spicy one. Chandi Chowk is also home to Lala Babu Chaat Bhandar where the water is flavoured with jaljeera, a welcome change from the tamarind water, which works as a digestive too.
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The golgappas at Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar in Chandni Chowk can be described as ‘perfect’- crisp spheres, just the right amount of spiciness in the filling, and the cool tang of tamarind pervades your mouth once you put the golgappa in. If you’ve not tried golgappas here, then you’re missing out on a legendary experience in Delhi. Jai Mata Di Chaatwala near the UPSC Building at Man Singh Road is worth checking out too.
Delhi is also home to the famous Kolkata phuchka that you can find at Bengali Sweet House in Connaught Place. Grover Sweets at Rajouri Market is a good stop too. The water has mint in it, adding a twist to the usual tanginess. And if you’re near Pitampura, drop by Bittu Tikki Wala for their special versions.
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In Kolkata, your immunity system is tested by how much phuchka you can eat at one stretch. The best ones are often found on the roads, and people have their favourite destinations. Behind New Market, there are quite a few sellers who have been selling phuchka for decades. Lacing one side of Vivekananda Park at Southern Avenue, a queue of chaat vendors have been dishing out the treats for years together. They tweak the spicy potato mix according to your taste buds and you can also have it by combining the khatta-meetha water.
In Salt Lake City there is a stall near Tower number 4, and is quite popular in the area. The vendor has managed to get the water mix just right, along with the potato stuffing. If you’re lucky to catch the guy near PC Chandra Jewellers at Ultadanga, you will be treated to some delicious phuchka as well. Vardan Market is known for the chaat sellers outside, and the phuchka here is a must have. Located outside Victoria Memorial, the phuchka stall of the 70s is legendary. Try it out.
In New Alipore, outside Nandan Market, is a phuchka seller who’s famous for his different versions of the tamarind water. He makes one with jal jeera, and one even with raw mango pulp! A good place to find phuchka wallahs are outside college campuses, and Jadavpur University has one sweet spot outside gate number 4, where you can indulge in the spicy phuchka. And yes, try out the aloo dum phuchka at the entrance of Dakshinapan Shopping Complex in Dhakuria. The husband-wife duo that runs the stall is famous for their spicy mixes. But the aloo dum phuckha where a whole spicy potato is stuffed inside the puri is truly unique.
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In Bengaluru, the traditional panipuri and the Bengali version of the same has been tweaked to suit a more local palate. Therefore onions are a common feature. The potato mix is often not spiced, but then again it does vary from area to area. Koramangala is one place where one can find the traditional Kolkata phuchka, such as outside Juke Box. Places like Anand Sweet sells sanitised versions of the panipuri and are fairly okay if you’re a stickler for hygiene.
In Rajajinagar, Thengu Mane makes panipuris where the pani contains coconut water. Of course it lacks the bite of the tamarind water, but is surely an unusual concoction. Calcutta Victoria Chat House, located in Jeeva Bhima Nagar, RT Nagar, and Basavanagudi, serve fairly decent phuchkas along with their other chaats.
Chaat Wala on Jyoti Nivas College Road is a small eatery that serves the panipuri in a rather hygienic way, and isn’t too bad either. In Brookefield, Kesar Sweet Shopand Fast Food lets you choose puris made only with semolina, apart from the standard atta version.
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Hyderabad: Maharaja Chaat in Jubilee Hills.
Ahmedabad: Shantaben Panipuriwala, opposite Victoria Garden, Ellisbridge Corner
Nagpur: Gurukrupa Chaat Centre, Pratap Nagar
Pune: Jaishanker Panipuri wala, Janmohammad Street, Babajan Chowk, Camp Area
Chennai: Gangotree, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram
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