Ramazan radar: Throw the dart on the best chaat

We give you a taste of what the capital has to offer


Café Behbud.

ISLAMABAD:


Chaat is a Pakistani street food classic. Be it samosa chaat, paapri chaat, bhelpuri or mix chaat, Pakistanis savour the delightful combination of squishy chickpeas, tangy yogurt, spicy chilli-flakes, crunchy onions and fruity-sweet apricot and tamarind chutneys. Chaat joints start getting swamped with customers as Ramazan approaches every year, as it’s one of the essential Iftar items on every table. The Express Tribune goes on a quest to give you a taste of the best chaats the capital has to offer.


Café Behbud

The paapri chaat at Café Behbud packs a punch. Sweet yogurt combined with spices, chopped onions and tomatoes makes it mild enough to suit everyone’s palette. Garnished with fresh coriander, paapri and tamarind chutney, the chaat at Behbud is not only aesthetically pleasing but also tastes great. If you’re in the mood to have this street-food favourite in an air-conditioned café with free Wi-Fi, Café Behbud is your go-to place

Taste: 5 | Hygiene: 5 | Value for money: 3 | Service: 4.5

Rating: 

 



DESI DELIGHT: A great balance of sweet and spicy, the chaat at Hyderabadi Chatkhara leaves a lasting tingling taste in one’s mouth.



Hyderabadi Chatkhara

This small chaat joint, located in F-10 Markaz, has a diverse variety of chaats on their menu, each delicious yet unique. Puffed rice, chopped potatoes, lots of masala and sweet, flavourful date chutney make the bhelpuri at Hyderabadi Chatkhara hard to resist. A great balance of sweet and spicy, the puffed rice and Nimko soaked in nicely-textured chutneys leave a lasting tingling taste in one’s mouth. Definitely merits a visit by all foodies.

Taste: 5 | Hygiene: 4.5 | Value for money: 5 | Service: 4.5

Rating: 

Mashallah Snack Bar

Tucked between book shops and shoe stores in Super Market, Mashallah Snack Bar is a hidden gem with a loyal clientele. One of the pioneers of street-food in the city, the snack bar is known for providing quality munchies at affordable prices. Warm cumin-seasoned chickpeas served with chilled yogurt and apricot chutney makes Mashallah Snack Bar’s appetising samosa chaat both balanced in flavour and temperature.

Taste: 4 | Hygiene: 4 | Value for money: 5 | Service: 4.5

Rating:  

Crunchies

After operating a small set-up in the bustling Gol market Jinnah Super for many years, the chaat joint has recently expanded and opened up a branch in F-10 Markaz. The generous serving of the paapri chaat at Crunchies is a treat for every spice-lover’s taste buds. Thinly cut green chillies, mint chutney, shredded cabbage and some extra paapri take the offering to a whole new level.

Taste: 4 | Hygiene: 3 | Value for money: 5 | Service: 4

Rating:  

Jamil Sweets

For those with a sweet tooth, Jamil Sweets is no less than a haven. But their variety of savoury snacks, including potato samosas and chickpea flour-coated fries, are just as popular. Not many people are aware about the eatery’s recent foray into some of the best chaat in town. Other than softened chickpeas and flavourful chutneys, the chaat surprises you with additional toppings, such as red beans, chopped cucumbers and shredded carrots that add just the right crunch to it.

Taste: 4.5 | Hygiene: 4.5 | Value for money: 5 | Service: 4.5

Rating:


Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th,  2015.

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COMMENTS (1)

Raghav | 6 years ago | Reply I never knew that Chaats, which are predominantly vegetarian, are so popular in Pakistan. In India, Chaats, very popular in North India, spread to West & East, and now even South India has become a big consumer of Chaats typical of North India such as; Samosa Chat, Aloo Tikki+Chhole, Papri Chaat, GolGappe, Dahi Bhalla, etc. Western India; Bombay added Bhelpuri, Sevpuri, PaoBhaji, Ragda Pattice, etc to the collection, Gujrat added, Khaman Dhokla, Fafda, & other Farsaan to the Menu. South India has added: Mirchi Bhajji, Kanda(Onion) Bhajji, Tomato chat, Churmuri, Veg.Manchurian to the collection, while East India; Calcutta adds; Jhol muri & Puchka. All in all, Chaat, a popular street food, is a passion all over India. I am pleased ,same is the case in Pakistan too ! After all we are two brothers of same Mother!
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