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Published: August 14th 2008
Every city has a 'flavor' of its own ... literally. In Delhi there's the celebrated 'Paranthe Waali Gali' (I admit, I still have to make my way there) and just recently, to my gastronomic delight, I discovered the 'Khaane Waali Gali' here in Bangalore.
I was on a hunt, a car hunt. The kind where your specifications are many and the options few. I need a car before the end of the month. I'm a new driver, so it can't be a new car. I have a propensity for yellow with green spots, or pink with orange spots, but will settle for white. I have a limited budget and the car must be clean.
Being friendly and socialable has its advantages. My roommate's (twice-removed) cousin's mechanic's friend (who was a car dealer himself) had a friend who knew someone who wanted to sell their car. The car fit into the budget. But when I laid my eyes on it, I knew this car was not for me. For one, it was a dirty grey, and to add to that the dents and scratches all along the sides. This was not 'my' car, I needed something ... cleaner. Dejected I heaved a sigh and thought I'd head straight to bed.
But since were so close to VV Puram, my roommate's cousin (twice-removed) decided to introduce us to the joy known as 'Khaane Waali Gali'.
The 'Khaane Waali Gali' consists of food stalls distributed on either side of a road. Shopkeepers keep their cooking wares, stoves and ingredients inside the shops and most generally keep the tawa
outside so that you can actually watch as your order is cooked in front of you. The menu is generally painted on the wall or tacked to a door or window. Most shopkeepers will take your orders and tell the cooks what to make. You can be very specific with your orders as well, for instance, you can specify 'no spice' or 'no onions' etc. We ordered a Plain Dosa at the first shop we encountered and it was being cooked, we walked down to check what the next vendor had to offer. Most menus are pretty much the same, and here we ordered a plate of idlys. While the first shopkeeper served us in a steel plate with spoons, the lady of the second store handed the idlys in a paper plate with what looked like a plantain leaf on top of it. Eating with your hands does take a bit of practice, and a lot of people claim that food tastes better when eaten in this manner. I think the idlys I had would be the most delicious idlys I've ever had regardless of how I ate them, but I think it's a worthwhile experience. Meanwhile, our Plain Dosa was ready and we walked back to the first vendor. We decided that the dosa was so good that we would try other things on the menu as well. So we ordered a Set Dosa, an Onion Dosa and a Chutney Roast. The Chutney Roast was new to all of us and we discovered that this is a Dosa smeared with chutney while it cooks on the tawa
. The chutney gives it a distinct flavor which can best be described as tangy. Like I've mentioned before, you can have your order customized. We ended up ordering two Onion Dosas, one from each vendor and both tasted different from each other. Whereas one was crispy, the other was soft and fluffy.
While eating the dosas we decided that a plate of idly might be the perfect end for this sumptuous meal. We decided to do a comparative study of the two vendors and ordered a plate of idly from each of them. Idlys differ because of the consistency in the batter. The idlys from the first vendor were called Dry Idlys because they were less soft than the idlys from the second vendor. Once our idly and dosa appetite was satiated we ambled further down the street. Unexpectedly we came across a pani-puri stand. People who don't like Pani-puri are few and far between. I'm not a huge fan of spice, but I can't resist pani-puri. However, this pani-puri was unusual in that the pani
was warm. This intensified the spice and by the time we were done with the last one, we needed either water of something sweet to calm our tongues down.
And as luck would have it, the next stall was the one that sells the 'Special IceCream'. It's icecream served to you on that paper plate with the plantain leaf and consists of two scoops of butterscotch ice cream, bananas, gooseberries, apples and gulukand
. This mix is unusual but works! 😊
If you want to experience this place, make your way towards Minerva Circle and VV Puram and ask anyone where the 'Khaane Wali Gali' is. Everyone knows it and will point it out to you.
My strict diet was conveniently forgotten as I indulged myself, but this opportunity was one that I could simply not miss. You will rarely come across a place where you can find such a variety of good food and all at very reasonable prices! 😊
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