When it comes to street food, India is the land of variety. Street food varies from region to region related to the culture of the State. Astoundingly each state has exclusive street food serving. As we all know Delhi is acknowledged for its huge variety of street food and the tempting dishes they serve by the roads. But if we have to decide on the best street food of all times, I think Golgappa wins the race. Like Bengalis have a series of nick names, Golgappa also takes the pride of having an assortment of names and at the same time enjoyed with the same excitement and love all over India. Be it Panipuri, Pani ke patashe, Gup Chup, Paani Poori, Puchka, Gopcha, Pakodi, Gol Gappa: admirers drool for it consistently.
To the land of ‘Puchka’:
Bengalis love their khatta (tangy) and jhal (spicy), Puchka recipe and undoubtedly the aloo (potato) filling. They never mind to stand in long queue at the Puchka counter and not even to wait for half an hour until their turn comes to taste this delicacy. Ask any Bengali and they will know the best puchka vendor in their locality. When they visit areas they taste each and every Puckha vendor in that region and then sit for a prolonged analysis of ; ‘who is the best Phucka chef’. After that they love to play role, of Puchka reviewer and ‘Best Puchka’ availability guide. They will always be over excited to guide you to the besh ‘Puchka’ vendor. You will find them emotionally connected to this particular street food.
They find an undefined joy in critisizing the ‘mitha phucka’ or the ‘non aloo’ stuffed ‘Phucka’ available in other parts of India. They strongly believe Bengal serves the best ‘Puchka’ and no one else can come close to it. They love their delicacy so much so that if they settle in some parts of India they manage to find out ‘that Puchka wala’ who will serve them their ‘Kolkata Phucka’. Such is the obsession for this street food ‘Puchka’. ‘Puchka’ aficionados can make any ‘Puchka’ vendor filthy rich by being their regular loyal customer, strongly recommending others to try their vendor and provoking others for a puchka eating competition. ‘Word of Mouth’ marketing is very prominent in Bengal, in this business. Above all, marriages without a ‘phucka’ stall is almost unimaginable. This dominant craze of ‘Puchka’ among Bengalis makes it the Numero Uno street food in Bengal. Now, if you want to try this delicacy you need to follow certain rules or you can end up hurting the sentiment of Bengalis very badly.
- You need to have it in ‘one Go’, do not break and have it. Biting a ‘puchka’ into half is strictly prohibited.
- Make it as spicy as possible. Sweet ‘phucka’ ? Is it ‘Phucka’ at all?
- You need to have min 15-20 ‘Phucka’ at once, less than that it is not allowed. But if you want to have more than that definitely : ‘you are most welcome’.
- After having you ‘phucka’, have some ‘khatta’ water for sure and also one ‘sukha phucka’
Now to the land of Spicy Gol Gappe :
The North Indians loves their small spicy water-filled ‘Gol Gappes’. They find ‘Gol Gappes’ to be the best among all the varieties available. Whenever a fight is witnessed on the ground that which is the best Pani Puri, Gol Gappa or Puchka? They leap in passionately to defend their ‘Gol Gappa’ as the best of the three and undoubtedly the ‘best street food’. Gol Gappa stalls and long queue at the stalls are a very common sight all over the North. Here people love to have Gol Gappa as evening snack almost every day and never get bored. The Gol Gappa here creates its unique identity by having a dash of mint in the water with lot of spices,the water has a tangy taste. They also serve chutney along with it and the Gol Gappe is stuffed with potato and chickpea. Without fail Gol Gappa develops an emotional connect with its admirers even here.
The most popular Pani Puri :
The most common name of this well known street food : Pani Poori. Not only in western India but also in Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu it is known by this name. But still it manages to have slight variations in taste in different regions. The difference in regional culture, brings in the uniqueness in the taste. In Mumbai the stuffing is predominately of Ragda along with meetha (sweet) Chutney they also add boondi in water. While in MP they add mashed potato and there is no boondi in water. In Gujarat but obviously sweet chutney is compulsory and they add mashed potato and boiled moong as filling while in Bangalore they add onion too in the filing. Hence, the name remains the same with slight variation in the preparation. Undoubtedly it remains the hot favorite in each place. In some places they also get served with five different water and people relish that too.
So even though the basic ingredients and shape remains the same they are that savory item to which the people connect emotionally and can fight for it. The fight of which is the best among the three is a never ending one and no one has come to any conclusion yet. No one other than this street food stands as the winner among the Street food across India and can be termed as the ‘Best Street Food’. It continues to use its magic wand to mesmerize people.