First of all what exactly is Indian chaat? Well it’s normally a snack or can also be a small meal. Usually chaat is savoury rather than sweet overall, but in reality it’s normally such a mixture of different flavors that combine salty, sweet, sour, and everything else in one little dish. Chaat is often an Indian street food, but at the same time you’ll find a variety of chaats from high end restaurants to street side stalls, such as the Kashi Chaat Bhandar in Varanasi.
So after hearing great things about the Kashi Chaat Bhandar in Varanasi, India, there was no way that I could pass up the opportunity to visit it when I was there. They only begin to open up in the late afternoon at around 4 pm, so it’s a very popular local spot for an afternoon Indian street food snack. When I showed up, I honestly had no clue what to order, I had previously eaten quite a few different chaats in Kolkata and in other parts of India, but I wanted to eat the specialty – and each chaat stall has its own recipe – and each region of India has its famous version of Indian street food chaat.
So not knowing what to order, I just asked the owner to give me whatever he thought was the best. The first Indian chaat he handed me was known just as the Kashi speciality chaat. It was a mixture of mostly chickpeas, lots of masala spices, probably a generous portion of clarified butter known as ghee, lime juice, and many other secret ingredients. It tasted like refried beans on steroids – the flavor was insanely good – but it was really rich. I would have enjoyed it even more had it been accompanied by a plate of rice or a chapati to cut the richness. Nevertheless it was stunning. The next Indian street food snack I was handed was dahi puri. I had eaten pani puri, which are little hollow chips filled with tamarind water before, but had never eaten the puris filled with yoghurt. This North Indian street food snack consisted of the little hollow chips filled with all sorts of marvelous spices and then stuffed with thick creamy yoghurt, herbs, and more spices. It was basically a shot of flavorful yoghurt and I really loved it. Finally, to complete my afternoon chaat adventure in Varanasi, he handed me palak chaat. Palak mean spinach, but there was only a little bit of spinach in this dish, and mainly it consisted of crunchy chips that were smothered in thick yoghurt, lots of spices, and garnished with cilantro. Each of these Indian street food chaat provided an explosion of flavor and there were so many different diverse ingredients included in each to make them all give you a unique mouthful of excitement.
Finally, because the vendor was so nice, he handed me a gulab jamun, which is a very famous Indian dessert, and he gave it to me free of charge! Gulap jamun is a curd milk ball that’s been soaked in sweet syrup. It’s intensely sweet, but wow is it fantastic.
If you’re ever in Varanasi, India, and searching for some delicious Indian street food chaat, got to the Kashi Chaat (Chat) Bhandar.
Hours: About 4 pm – 11 pm daily
How to get there: Kashi Chat Bhandar is located across the Gondawar intersection in Varanasi India. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the Main Ghat (along the Ganges River).
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