Foodie adventures street food

Bangalore Street Food / Thindi Beedi - VV Puram

Thursday, May 09, 2013Me! In words

The blog has been quiet for a while now. Once we stepped into the month of May, it was time to take the summer holidays to Mangalore. We were there for a short while, just 5 days to drop Anoushka off with my mother. This is the first time she is staying with them on her own and away from us for a whole two weeks. All my trepidation was put to rest when she literally booted us out of the house on the day we were leaving and from then finds time to speak to us only once a day... whattay blaasst she is having. 

So that leaves us husband and wife to catch up - this is the first time she has been away from us for so long (two weeks) and we are making the most of being without our baby now. One of things on the cards was to head out and try as much street food as we can. Mosque Road at Ramzan is as far as I will go with Anoushka. So now it is the turn of all the other places that have been beckoning. Starting with what is in our backyward - VVPuram. Called Food street, Thindi Beedi, Chaat road/street, this is by far the largest of street food stretches in the city. I was lucky enough to be working a stone's throw away from this street eons ago and the one thing we looked forward to post 7PM was the hot aloo bondas and chutney that our office boy would religiously bring for us each evening. We even took turns to sponsor the snacks for the evening. Now years later, we were back to troll the place. 

Though tradition demands that you start at VB Bakery with their sweet buns, congress bun etc, we arrived a little later than our pigging out partners and they were done with their round at VB Bakery. So we went a step ahead, and right opposite it stopped to start on a sweet note - jalebis. Hot, really crisp, not sickeningly sweet and served on a newspaper. We each broke off pieces trying to outdo the other in size and our sweet start was done. 

Despite all my protests, Sudhakar decided to stop at the Chinese Fast Food corner right after jalebis. On hindsight, I am so glad he did. We ordered a Gobi 'Manchuri' Roll and while that was being prepared, we walked up the street to check out the wares and earmarked where we wanted to stop. Gobi Manchuri roll turned out to be really yummy. Steaming hot inside a roomali roti, the 'manchuri' was not a mash of cauliflower as most street side vendors tend to give you. Nor was it Chinesey - it was an Indianized version with a final smack of tomato ketchup. My description may not do it justice, but it was a fantastic first stop. 

Hot crispy jalebis to start the evening with

Roomalis in the making with wonderfully seasoned woks to make the gobi manchuri

The scrumptiously delicious gobi manchuri rolls 

Since there were four of us that evening, we stuck to ordering just one or two portions of everything so that we could taste more. Next stop was at a dosa store that had a board promising that everything will be doused in butter. I have never had a bath masala dosa though I figured it must be a close relative of the MLA pesarattu - upma in green gram dosa and in this case it was chitranna or lemon rice in a crisp dosa. I didn't really think they would add some potato palya to it, but they did, making this dosa a meal in itself. While three of us munched on away on this, we ordered a single plain dosa to keep one of us happy. The lemon rice could have been more lemony (but then I am the type who loves the flavor of lime to be at enamel-removing levels). The potato palya was generous unlike all the Shanti Sagars around who pretend that potatoes are laced with gold.

I was on the lookout for anyone making those love aloo bondas I remember from so many years ago. And so we stopped at the bhajji center that seemed the most crowded (rule of thumb eh! most crowded place is generally the one with the best stuff). And in my quest for aloo bonda, ended up eating everything but that. Bhajjis here are deep fried, slit, filled with chopped onions, coriander carrots and then sandwiched together. We had chilli, capsicum and banana bhajjis with one helping of masala vada, one of which was made with dill. There is just nothing like a hot bhajji, off a newspaper plate while standing on the road looking at the hungry crowds.

Regular dosas in the making. Hunger clouded my judgement and some photos may be a little blur

The lemon bath dosa - lemon rice in a dosa with a generous helping of potato palya

The tray of bhajjis constantly being replenished

Chilli bhajjis... not your thing if spice has you squealing

Capsicum bhajji

Banana Bhajji

Masala Vada

I just had to photograph this board. The spelling are hilarious and made for good reading when we were waiting. 'Polio'gare, Plane Dosa, Coconet Holige, Bele Obbtu... hoo haa haa

Now it was time for chaats. I did see a lovely tava with pav bhaji going on it but did not want to fill up. What caught my eye was the rasgulla chaat. I checked with them to make sure that it was not a sweet dish and was assured that it was not. While I was getting myself that, the rest of the gang headed next door for some watermelon juice. The rasgulla chaat uses two rasgullas, which have not been dipped in sugar syrup (in case you were wondering) and is placed in a puddle of sweet curds which has a thick lassi like texture to it. To that is added chaat powder, chilli powder, boondi, shredded coriander, coriander and some pomegranate seeds plus cashews thrown in. A really yummy cold chaat and in my opinion better than the watermelon juice next door.

And just as we were devouring the chaat, Sudhakar spotted some malpua and when he was told that it comes with rabdi, there was no thinking twice. The malpua was soft, sugary and a perfect match to the grainy and sweet rabdi...

The Pav bhaji I gave up to have the Rasgulla Chaat below

Rasgulla Chaat

Malpua and Rabdi

Somewhere online I read about this place called Ganesh Chaats on a parallel road somewhere that serves what is called the floating pani puri. Curiosity got the better of me and I made the entire group walk up and down the stretch searching for it. Even asked the beat cops around and some of the few folks we saw on the roads parallel to food street. Finally, we landed right opposite a paan waala and asked him, only to be told he sits slam opposite Ganesh Chaats. 

Ganesh chaats has a whole lot of interesting things on the menu, like Gold finger chaat, floating pani puri, a host of other chaats and drinks. I had my mind set on the floating pani puri and so it was that. A slightly deep plastic dish, with the puris, filled with a peas mix, topped off with boondi and sev, with some peanuts and a whole lot of tangy pani. It was definitely worth the trek around the place. 

Once done with that, it was time for dessert, and gulkhand with ice and fruits was on the cards. There is only one shop offering this and there we headed. The fruits are cut in front of you and the bowl created is very pleasing to the eye. The combination... pure heaven... not enough spoons going around and they were not big enough either. The gulkhand is all the way to the bottom, so make sure you dig in.

I am one of those who prefers to end on a spicy note where possible and standing near the roasted corn stands did not help. So one final dish for the evening. I requested for the mango masala and specifically told him I want the corn-less version since we were full. But no, he handed us a corn one. One spoon into the mouth and I wanted to spit the whole thing out. The amount of salt in it would have kept supernatural spirits bay. It was terrible and not edible even if we wanted to gulp it down just for having paid for it. 

Trust me to run behind something that sounds different - the jalebi with milk and the chiroti with milk. I have had the last one, but jalebi and milk sounded interesting. For some reason I thought it would be a blend, but when he said that it was hot jalebi in cold milk, I hesitated. Enough experimenting for one day. 

Floating Pani Puri

Jeera drink at Ganesh Chaats - cold and yum

Gulkhand with ice cream and fruits

The corn stall

Bhutta in the making

Improvised condiment holders

Never go by the looks, this was the mango corn masala

We had a great time at food street. At the end of eating to our hearts content, we had hardly spent Rs 125 per head. Most of the dishes here come in the Rs 30 to Rs 45 bracket, most of which is a meal in itself. Weekdays give you ample elbow space but if you are adventurous and like the feeling of being in a war zone, then weekends is when you should try it. Carry your own water, though there are shops that sell it. Oh yes and beware of cows, they love to butt in and butt you, if you are in the way and chomp away from the dustbins around. I have always found it strange how people, despite having life size dustbins still manage to miss aim. Civic sense is still something people need to learn about.

Address: Begins at VB Bakery, Sajjan Rao Circle, VV Puram, Bangalore 
Phone: NA
Cuisine: Street food
Cards Accepted: Not at all
Parking: All around the temple and circle, bikes will be luckier

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