Sweet yogurt mixed with tangy imlee chutney, chilli flakes and chaat masala as a topping to only the softest chickpeas and chopped potatoes is stuff dreams are made of. The best chaat experience would vary based on personal taste, but there’s a certain art to plating chaat and striking the right balance in flavour that possibly everyone would agree on. The Express Tribune goes on a quest to give you a taste of the best chaats Pakistan’s food capital has to offer.
If you’re in the mood to devour chaat in a relatively upscale place, we’d steer you towards this restaurant. Located off MM Alam and in Z Block, Defence, Chowpatti has a diverse range of chaats, puris and other such delectable delicacies. Although the yogurt is on the sweeter side, there’s consistency in flavour every time one visits. Apart from their samosa chaat and papri chaat, a must-try on the menu is their gujrati puri, which comprises gol gappas filled with imlee chutney, yogurt and channas. It is, however, slightly pricier than its competitors.
If the sign of a good place to eat is its popularity with the locals, then this place has to top the list. Lahore Chatkhara has been around for so long that its branch in Mini Market is a landmark to most. Some say Chatkhara has not been able to maintain its standards but our recent trip to find the best chaat in town suggests otherwise. The chaat is doused with imlee, chaat masala and chilli flakes and may make your nose run, but in the most gratifying way possible. The prices are slightly higher than those of other chaat vendors around the city but the taste is memorable.
Hafiz Chaat Corner
Few people would expect to find one of the best chaats in the city at the extension of Liberty’s Hafiz Juice Corner – a small stall called Hafiz Chaat Corner. Located in a radiating back alley lined with restaurants and food stalls, the spot boasts the essence of street food. A cold serving of their chaat is a perfect post-shopping refresher in the sweltering heat. The staff was more than eager to alter it any way we liked, giving them extra points. Crisp papri and flavourful chutni at Hafiz Chaat Corner are definitely worth a visit by chaat fans.
Located in Model Town, this joint is known for its juices but residents of the area would be aware of the hidden gems on its menu. With an array of other snacks available, this is a must-visit joint for a cheap and satisfying meal for days you’re on the go. Their papri chaat was good, albeit not mixed properly. There was a layer of additional toppings, such as carrots and cabbage, which is not a personal preference but provided an interesting crunch to the chaat.
Bano Bazaar, Anarkali
A review of food in Lahore is incomplete without the mention of the old city and this quaint, old street of Anarkali is dotted with fruit and chickpea chaat walas. If indulging in the true Lahori chaat experience is what you’re looking for, a trip down to Bano Bazaar is mandatory. The entire street smells like fruit because of the chaat shops, which is a real treat for a person looking to satiate their chaat cravings. They also have a well-known fruit chaat with chickpeas in it.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.
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