When somebody mentions ‘street food’ in an Indian context, you immediately think chaat. And yes, chaat is India’s most-famous street food; it is the symbol of the soul of our cities and in many of our metros and towns, it is the signature food.
What is Bombay without bhelpuri? I’m happy enough to go to Lucknow and give the biryani/pulao a miss. But I will never ever leave the city without sampling its famous chaat. So it is with Calcutta. If I don’t have a chingri malai curry, a luchi made from deep fried maida, or the inside-out porcupine that is the hilsa I don’t really care. But I must eat the puchkas.
The problem with this perception is that not all street food is chaat. Some of it is real food, solid hearty stuff that keeps labourers going through tough days. The reason we regard it as street food is because it is usually sold (though not necessarily made) on the streets by people who can’t afford restaurant rents to people who can’t pay restaurant prices. And most north Indian chaat is hard to find in the south, anyway.
Full report here Hindustan Times