Table talk: Everybody loves chaat

Here’s a list of our top picks of chaat houses in Karachi.


Al Rehman Chaat: 3.5 out of 5 stars. PHOTO: SHAFIA AGHA

KARACHI:


It’s not just that it’s dime a dozen — though I admit that’s the best part about it — but how all the ingredients mellow together in a splendid way. I know very few people who do not like this chick-pea concoction (baffles me honestly!), but as pilgrims of spicy food, majority of us yearn for the sharpness of the tamarind chutney, the heat of the chili flakes and the pungency of the onions that makes it a quintessential street fare.


A truly rapturous chaat experience is defined differently depending on whom you ask and generally starts with great chutneys, squishy chick-peas with plenty of spices. Some people prefer onions. Some prefer their chaat without dahi baras; others, no meethi chutney. Some like their chaat to be tomato-free, and some enjoy a little tarka. My last week was spent around town, tucking into favourite picks and suggestions and finding what made them so special. Read on to see which chaat made the list:

Mirchi

Mirchi is an upscale joint where chaat becomes chic! They serve plates of spicy heaven. The chaat is not just aesthetic to look at, but the consistency is mind-blowing. Try their samosa chaat — a medley of the regular ingredients with two potato samosa’s hidden under a mound of titillating condiments. The samosa soaks up the tangy sauces, so set your mind not to expect a crunchy Nimco samosa underneath, but rather sopping triangles, retaining crisp at the corners. This has real texture, is deliciously spicy and the smell of the curry leaves wafts ever so gently — enough to entice even the most discerning of palates. Apart from chaat, Mirchi offers exquisite eats, such as idli, dosa and bhel puri. If you are looking for finely detailed and hygienic chaat, I would steer you towards this family restaurant at Badar Commercial.

Cool Inn

Located at Hashoo Terrace, Block 5, Cool Inn has made it to the list for being one of the most-talked about chaat houses this side of the town. The chaat is balanced with a yummy depth of flavour associated with a homely taste. The menu is extensive and it’s impossible to find a disappointment on this one. Order the double papri chaat and enjoy the boisterous activity on the road. It’s the perfect place for a cheap eat that has earned accolades from chaat aficionados.

Al Rehman Chaat

Al Rehman Chaat (same lane as Flamingo Juice and Chaat) is gaining popularity with all and sundry. You would be bowled over with the freshness of vegetables and the explosion of flavours with their expert blend of spices. They also sell an array of other snacks such as bun kebabs and rolls. It is a must visit joint for a cheap and satisfying meal on the go.

Dandee

Of late, Badar Commercial has bloomed into a radiating back alley for food! Dandee is smack in the middle of Sabah Avenue and Badar intersection. Stuffed to the gills with chick-peas and papri, chaat at Dandee is a winner. This little eatery is a hot spot for residents of Defence and is bustling with activity every evening. Here the chaat is doused with spices and will make your nose run. Prices are standard compared to other chaat houses dotting the city but the taste is unforgettable.

Bombay Chaat House — Bohri Bazar

Few people would expect the city’s best chaat to be found in Bohri Bazar. Prepare yourself for the tang of perfection, only if you can brave the heat, the traffic, nasty stares and filth. Fresh onions, delectable chutneys and mushy peas come together in perfect harmony at the Bombay Chaat House located in Bohri Bazar — this was where my love affair with chaat began. My must-have is the mix chaat — a combination of sweet and sour, lots of crushed papri and a sprinkling of spices. The look of this on the plate is so inviting — the greens and the reds — but not the most salutiferous. But if you really want to experience the juxtaposition of gratifying ingredients and cleanliness is the last thing on your mind, then this is the place for you.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2013.               

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COMMENTS (9)

rebel | 8 years ago | Reply

ummm..... wheres Shams Chaat House near Golimar? it NEEDS to be on this list!

Syed P. | 8 years ago | Reply She seems to have written without eating them. The are invariably bland and tasteless. Bakwas.
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