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Monday, Nov 18, 2002

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Chatpata chaats

At Dilli Haat, Alwarpet, the highlight is the lip-smacking chaat items. Also available are snacks, beverages, a mini meal and desserts.


WHERE IS the popular culture most alive? On the streets, of course! In Chennai, the huge posters and cut-outs make sure that visitors get a taste of the political and film scene.

The steaming idlis, parottas and noodles made and eaten on the road also have very important things to say, the kind more interesting than anything else.

What was once the domain of the mobile eateries and hawkers has now turned into a genre of cuisine itself.

Dilli Haat on the Luz Church Road, Alwarpet (ph: 7107890) is a manifestation of this.

The menu is short and sweet. There are chaats, snacks, beverages, a mini meal and desserts.

It goes without saying that the chaat section is the best of the lot.

At one corner of the pleasantly appointed room is the counter where one can go get pani puri (Rs.20 for 6 puris) and sev puri (Rs.25) and other items: assembled to personal liking. The only hitch in this kind of arrangement is sometimes what goes on behind the counter can be unappetising.

The USP of exclusive outlets is the hygiene element.

Of course, chaats are traditionally made by hand but wither have all the plastic gloves gone?

Among the chaats, sev puri and anarkali chat (Rs. 30) made with fresh fruits and fried bread pieces are highly recommended.

The stuffed bread pakora (Rs.25) is also good, provided you don't mind the oil.

But then most of the street food is one kind of fry or the other.

The beverages, both the milk shakes and the juices can be improved.

As with desserts, in spite of the surprise effect of the slivered dates, shahi tukra (Rs. 30) is not up to the mark while rasmalai (Rs.20) is tasty.

MARIEN MATHEW

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