Another trait of Bombay is its street eats. Small and unhygenic as they may seem, the satiability and a sense of “disco” it offers to your tastebuds is unmatchable. A plethora of options are always available irrespective of the time of the day. If you are late from work, bored to cook or simply get a craving for these, a trip to the “pani-puri waala” is well worth it.
I have been a follower of my pani-puri waala for the past 10 years. He goes by the name of Gupta pani puri stall. Crowds throng outside his place every evening and a glimpse of him in action is fascinating. Takes some tremendous sense of eye, ear and hand co-ordination to listen to what someone wants, and make the delicacy.
But the end product is what always matters, and my 10 years of “service” is not without a reason. Absolutely lip-smackingly delicious. Be it Pani-puri, Dahi Batata puri, Ragda Pattice or the simple yet effective Bhel (thoda teekha extra bhaiyya).
Believe it or not, his bare hands add to that taste. Very proudly, his name banner says ” In service since 1986″. Prices have skyrocketed from Rs. 6 a plate in 1998 to Rs. 15 a plate in 2008. But that doesnt deter the faithful “devotees” like myself to visit every once in a while.
One of my friends promised me he would treat me to a much better paani puri guy, and to his credit, he did. Biased as it may sound, my paani-puri waala beat his paani-puri waala hands down. He will definitely differ in opinion though.
Every time anyone goes to Bombay, this is one thing definitely on thier minds on that flight back home. Here in the US, there are ready-to-eat boxes of chat but come on, lets be honest, nothing beats “ghar ka banaaya” khaana…..