'Chaat' in the cart

'Chaat' in the cart

'Chaat' in the cart

Bangaloreans definitely have a soft corner for chaats, especially during the rains.

Just a small shower and people can be seen heading straight to the nearest chaatwala.
For some, chaats have become more of an evening snack, eaten just before heading home from work.
Whether it is sold in a cart or in a fancy sweet shop, there are those for whom the day is incomplete without masala puri or paani puri. Catering to such people, Babu’s cart on Castle Street churns out delicious chaats every evening.

He has been selling chaats at the same spot for the last 20 years. Babu, as he is fondly called by the regulars, began making chaats as a small venture.

But over the years, the shop has become a part of him. “I used to work for others before and always wanted to start something of my own. That’s when I started making chaat in this cart and now, I am happy that I have managed to last this long,” he adds. Ask anyone about Babu’s chaats and their first choice is the masala puri. Devraj, a student, who goes there regularly, says, “The peas used to make the masala puri are cooked well and the dish itself is always served hot and fresh.”

Babu says, “I don’t put any special ingredient in the masala puri to makes it different but I do ensure that the food is served clean and fresh.” The must-haves here are bhel puri, dahi puri, samosa masala and sev puri.

Though there is no place to sit and eat, there is always a group of people standing around the cart. When it rains in the evening, Babu has a temporary waterproof sheet to protect the cart and the food. “Since I open only in the evenings, there’s no escaping the rain but I have tried my best to protect the cart. The business also suffers when it rains,” adds Babu.   

The food is easy on the wallet with most of the items ranging from Rs 15 to Rs 20. “Not only is the food tasty but it’s also very affordable, which is a very rare combination these days,” says Nandish, a customer.

As for the difference, the eatery has seen in the last 20 years, Babu says, “There hasn’t been much of a difference. But when I first started. I used to charge my customers Re 1 a plate and now, it’s Rs 15 minimum.” The cart is open from 5 pm to 10 pm, everyday.